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The Basics of Business Card Design – Smashing Magazine


A business card in some cases is the most important marketing piece that a company will have. It has the potential to make or break business deals, and is just as important as the way you present yourself during a first impression. In this post, we will cover some of the basics such as typography, layout, object placement and printing standards when designing a business card.

Printing Standards Link

Before you move too far into a fresh design, printing standards should always be considered. Most printing companies now require files to have appropriate bleeds and margins or your might get an email to upload new files and in some cases, incur extra fees. To correctly set up your design, you need to download or create a template. There are two ways to establish what type of template you are going to use, and that is whether you are going to have image bleed or not. Bleed is the area in which an image runs off the edge of your design. If your image doesn’t bleed then your job just got a little easier. Use a 3.5×2 document. If you are using bleeds, then make sure your template is set up with a 1/8″ margin outside the printable area. You can download a sample template here1.

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Typography Link

Using typography in business card design is critical to having a great looking business card. Limit the number of fonts that you use. Too many type styles can

really get confusing. On top of that, it could just be downright ugly. Use a font that compliments the logo or other elements on the card.

Layout and Object Placement Link

Don’t clutter your business card design. Always remember that there is a back side available to print. If your client gives you a laundry list of information that they want on their card, then create a couple of different areas of text on the front, usually the contact info, and keep the extraneous text to the back side. Logo placement can be a critical point in the overall design. As a designer, use your judgment as to how much space you want the logo to take. Maybe it’s an awesome logo and it needs an entire side of the card. When I start with a business card design, I usually start with 5-10 different layouts and narrow them down as the design moves forward.

Don’t forget that a business card is a point of contact, not a brochure. It could be single-handedly be the most important marketing piece for some companies. The object is to leave a lasting impression and create a feeling of class and trust. Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and I hope that it will benefit you on your next business card design. If you’re looking for some great business card inspiration, then check out Creattica5 for some awesome business card examples.

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Category: Business card

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