Tips for Printing Awesome Business Cards

Your business card says a lot about you. To make the best possible impression, you need to spend some serious thought on the design and quality of your business card. Grabbing a cheap black and white name card from a bulk printer won't cut it.

Step One: Gather Information

Before you even begin designing your business card, you need to gather all of the information you're going to have printed on it. Forgetting a crucial piece of contact information until halfway through the design process is a surefire way to waste your work. Consider adding all of this information:

  • Your name and the name of your company
  • Your cell number, work number and fax number
  • Your email address and your mailing address
  • Your company logo and colour scheme
  • A QR code linking to your company site or a personal resume
  • Your summary -- essentially an elevator pitch for your services

Fitting all of this information on a single business card can be challenging. One trick to consider is to use the back of the card, particularly for a QR code.

Examine your Public Image

What kind of image are you trying to portray with your business card? Are you a classy corporate business with window offices, cubicles and millions of dollars in revenue? You probably don't want a business card with bright colours and comic fonts. Are you a graphic designer with an eye for art and composition? You probably don't need advice on how to compose a quality design for your business card. Remember your public image when it's time to pick graphics and colours.

Consider Templates

Anyone can benefit from some pre-made template ideas, particularly those who aren't graphic designers themselves. There are a number of great resources for free business card templates, I recommend checking the one provided by Digital Print Australia. You might not want to go with a pure template design, but you can always use templates for ideas and inspiration.

Design in CMYK

Colour issues are a huge deal with graphic design, digital composition and physical printing. The two competing colour modes are RGB and CMYK. RGB, in short, is the additive colour selection that merges into white for digital displays, such as a computer screen. CMYK is the subtractive colour selection that merges into black and works for print. Most people, by default, use computers to design in RGB. When an RGB composition is printed, the colours can blend in odd ways and make the piece look muddy. Design in CMYK to avoid this issue.

Make Text Legible

The most important part of a business card is the text printed on it. The most high quality printer in the world won't print crisp text if the source file you give them is blurry. Make sure your image is set up for the best possible print job.

  • Use at minimum an 8 point font. Go larger if you can fit all of your information without looking crowded or tacky. Small fonts don't leave much room for crisp letters, so an entire line -- email address, perhaps -- will blend into a smudge
  • Choose the proper colours. Light colour text on a dark background is generally a bad idea. Darker colours tend to bleed over lighter colours. A dark background will leave fuzzy edges or smudges over light coloured text
  • Choose fonts that are legible with a minimum effort. Curly, cursive fonts and other decorative fonts may look nice in design, but on paper they can be hard to parse

Prepare for Cutting

Business cards are printed and the edges are trimmed for a neat, crisp, sharp card. Avoid borders that may be trimmed off-center, which would make your card look less professional.

Only once you've thought your design through can you send it to the printers. A good design will last you for years, so it's well worth the investment.

Image credit: Strong Newbie/deviantART


About Smithy

Marketing specialist with several years of experience in the industry. He has watched as the world of online business has grown and adapted to new technologies.


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