Small Business Brief

Business Advice

10 Must-Know Business Card Design Tips

Business cards are a simple yet effective way to promote and market any business. Check out this article to discover 10 must-know business card design tips.

Struggling with your business card design?

Did you know more than 27 million business cards are printed in the U.S. daily? That translates to over 10 billion cards annually.

Of those, 88% are thrown out within in a week. That’s right. Only one of every ten cards is kept.

Do you want your card to be that one? If so, you need to make it stand out. You need to make it worth holding on to. We can help you out with that.

In the article below, we outline ten fantastic business card design tips that are sure to make yours stand out in this overcrowded world.

Special Finishes

Unique finishes make your cards get noticed. Print services have taken notice too. They now offer finishes such as spot-UV. Anything written on your card with this ink looks like it has different colors, depending on which way the light reflects off its surface.

Foil blocking is another special finish. It gives your designs a sort of gold embossing. It lends a sense of elegance and exclusiveness to your cards.

Metallic ink is another prime option. Give your images the color of real silver and gold!

Striking Patterns

Consider presses, folded cards, embosses, debosses, and cutouts. Online print services, such as those offered by neps, give you the power to change the shape of your cards. No longer is your creativity limited to graphic design elements.

Choose laser cuts, die cuts, or presses to leave an eye-catching void in your business card. Shape this negative space into something meaningful: a number, an image, your logo. Make your card memorable, one of a kind.

Throw out the rectangular model. Most business owners begin designing business cards using the same 100-year-old template.

With today’s technology, you can design your cards to any shape you like: rectangular, ovoid, square, hexagonal. Heck, you can cut them to look like octopi.

Round some edges. Fold part of your card back upon itself. Cut out holes, so it looks like a mini cheese-grater.


Effective business cards no longer rely on cardstock alone. Print services now offer other materials, such as cardboard, slate, wood, metal, and plastic. If you can dream it up, they can produce it.

If you choose to stay with tradition, use uncommon card stock. Those printed on paper thinner than 300gsm feel flimsy. They scream cheap and tacky.

Instead, go for a stock that feels thick and sturdy between your fingers. Choose those with a soft and creamy texture. Remember, we’re tactile creatures.

Touch is a huge part of our experience. What kind of a first impression does a limp handshake leave? What about a solid handshake?

Your business card is your handshake. What kind of impression do you wish to leave?

Bleeds and Borders

Avoid borders when designing a business card. This isn’t a design strategy per say. It’s for purely practical reasons.

No matter how much attention your printer pays, cutting your cards is never 100% precise. What starts as a perfectly symmetrical border on your screen may come out tilted, skewed, or lopsided.

Minute shifts in the printing machine leave imperfections in the final product. Printers recommend you leave a 3mm bleed (an area the same color as the background) on the edges of your card.

Remember the Back

Business cards were originally created with one side blank. This wasn’t a design choice. It was a matter of cost.

Printer capabilities were severely limited when printing presses were new. It cost twice as much (or more) to have cards printed on both sides.

When you learn how to design a business card nowadays, you can’t forget the flip side. Think of your business card as its own little micro marketing campaign. The space on the back of your card is one-half of your campaign.

Give It Additional Uses

Use the back side of your card for a handy calendar, loyalty stamps, and appointment reminders. Think creatively.

If your business sells paint, use the flip side as a color wheel. If you teach coding lessons, print a cheat-sheet on the back. If you coach a baseball, note the dates and times of your team’s games.

And don’t limit your imagination to printed material. Design your card to double as origami. Make it a refrigerator magnet. Endow it with the ability to double as a compass.

The more often someone uses your business card, the higher the chance they’ll remember you.

And that means more business.

Don’t Forget the Basics

Start with Design 101. Keep in mind that your card is just a piece of printed material like any other. Basic design principles for printed martial holds true.

  • Limit your key copy to at least 5mm away from the edge.
  • Keep fonts between 8pt-14pt.
  • Use three colors or less.
  • Place artwork and photos well away from edges.
  • Work at 300dpi for the best reproduction quality.
  • Design in CMYK (rather than RGB).

Also, use a grid layout when designing your cards. It’ll help you produce an informational hierarchy. This helps people quickly digest your text.

Time-Tested Layout

We’re firm believers in moving against the grain. That is, of course, unless it makes sense to go with the grain. This is one of those times.

There’s a reason that information on traditional cards is laid out the way it is. It has to do with information processing (aka how humans digest content). People are primed to consume your card’s text in a particular order.

  • Your company name
  • Your first and last name
  • Your job title
  • Your contact info (phone #, email address, social media handles, etc.)

When you break this mold, you increase the chances people will misunderstand you.

Consistent Branding

Does your design match your website, logo, business postcards, and other marketing materials? If it doesn’t, it’s time to change it.

If it’s different, you risk reducing your brand awareness. This term refers to the extent to which your customers can recall or recognize your brand.

High brand awareness leads to more sales. Make certain your brand consistently.

Value Minimalism

With so many options available, it’s a challenge not to create a gaudy product. Before you hand out thousands of your newly printed cards, test them out.

Hand them out to a handful of people you trust. Ask opinions. Do they scream elegant or garish? It’s the latter, head back to the drawing board.

Simplify first.

After You Finish Business Card Design Tips

Yay, you made it. Have you already created the perfect design? No? Well, when you finish get it to the printers as soon as possible so that you can increase your sales.

You didn’t know passing out business cards has a direct effect on your sales? Well, it does. For every 2000 cards you pass out, your sales increase by 2.5%

For serious business owners, mastering business card design tips is only the first step in their print marketing campaign.

Are you serious? Or are you still on the fence about it? Either way, take a few minutes right now to check out our article on print marketing ideas for small businesses.

If you’re serious, it’ll give you new strategies to include in your campaign. If you’re on the fence, you’ll gain a greater insight into why it’s essential.