Business Card Design: Tips and Tricks

Business Card

Even though we’re in a progressively more technology-based environment each day with the advantages of digital marketing, SEO optimised websites, and cloud computing — don’t ever underestimate the power of a well-designed business card. Even though so much of the business world has gone paperless, the business card is still fundamental in any business.

If you don’t have a business card that you can hand out to potential clients, you’re regularly missing out on a critical marketing opportunity for your company and your personal brand. 

As with most things, the design and layout of your business cards matter. In today’s world, any business owner can design their card and order prints from an online print service for a small cost. Sadly, these cards are often of low weight stock, and often business owners often opt for the free clip art options, which usually do not relate to the business they are trying to advertise. 

Don’t cheap out on the one remaining physical representation of your brand. We’ve put together some of the best tips and tricks to help you design that business card that will leave a lasting impression, so this doesn’t have to be you.

Want help? Let Total Design Works help you with your branding design and print management tailored to your business.

Become Familiar With Basic Design Principles

While this tip may seem obvious, business cards are still printed marketing and advertising material. They should follow many of the same principles as other paper-based mediums.

  1. Copy and key elements of the design should be within the trim margins specified by the printer.
  2. Images included in the design and the design file itself should be 300dpi.
  3. Fonts should be large enough to be easily read.
  4. Unless your printer is working in spot colours, your design should be in CMYK.

Get Creative with Constraints

Business cards come in standard sizes depending on where you are in and which print company you are using. A typical business card size is 55mm X 85mm, although you may see various size quotes elsewhere.

This canvas size may seem small, but you can get creative in how you use the tiny space. Consider the critical information you need to include, like your name, business name, your title, phone number, email address, and social handles. If there is room, you can also include the business address.

Utilise Special Finishes

Spot finishes are an easy way to boost the impact on your business card. You can choose special finishes such as:

  • Foil blocking
  • Metallic inks
  • Spot-UV

While these increase the price of standard business cards, it is often well worth the extra money for a more visually appealing design. Business cards are often a business’s first impression, and you want to make it a lasting one.

Printers may offer different options for finishes, so do your homework and check them out to find out who can do what for you. If the print company you wanted to use doesn’t offer you the options you are looking for, then you can consult with a specialist.

Cut Your Card

Don’t be afraid to cut your card! And by that we mean, die-cut. 

These unique shapes are an excellent way to help your cards stand out. Die-cut is a process that removes pieces from the card stock, leaving an empty space. You can use this process to change your card’s shape, or you can cut shapes into the card itself.

The cost of a first-time die-cut is expensive due to the creation for the first run, but more and more printers offer laser-cut shapes, making it a bit more affordable to create a die-cut for smaller print-runs.  

Try Unusual Materials

Just because card stock is the go-to medium and readily available doesn’t mean it has to be your first choice. While card stock is a cost-effective choice for printing business cards, if you want to go the extra mile and get really creative, you can also choose to print on all different types of materials including wood, slate, metals, and transparent plastics.

Getting creative with stock materials can instantly make you stand out against your competitors. Just remember that your card still needs to remain portable and be easy to carry in a wallet, briefcase, or card case. 

Make it Useful

Paper is everywhere. This creates a pro and con for using it in the production of business cards. Some people keep every scrap of paper, creating a small hoard. Other people are the first to throw away or recycle. 

To avoid your business card being recycled or tossed into a wastebasket, make your card into something useful outside of the traditional calling card.

The most notable designs incorporate fun and function, which ensures a longer life. Some examples include a card that is a packet of garden seeds or a business card that turns into a small holder for your phone.

Recycle Old Cards

Believe it or not, you can use old business cards, postcards, packing material, and other mediums to give life and create new business cards. Recycling is good for the environment and allows for freedom of creative expression. This is especially good for art and creative based businesses.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. Ensure you provide a bleed as specified to by your printer. It’s commonly 3mm, but can be 5mm, so be sure to check.
  2. Avoid using a straightforward border around the entire card. It will show up as a misalignment in the trim if the card isn’t cut perfectly straight.

Always Triple-Check Your Artwork

It should go without saying, but before you submit or hit that print button, always double-check your work. Look at every detail. The art -Do you have the rights to use it in printed material, or is it free to use? Is everything spelled correctly? Are the colors just what you want? Does it all paint the picture of what type of business you run?


There is nothing worse than receiving your business cards from the printer only to realize that black looks navy or there is a mistake in the name or email address. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start with branding and business card development, you’ve come to the right place. At Total Design Works, we’re here for you, whether it’s brand development, website design, or print management  – we can get the job done, and we’re here for you every step of the way. 

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