What is a Business card?

What is a Business card?

Business cards are small sized cards consisting business information about a particular company or individual, which are shared during formal introduces as a memory aid. Generally, business card includes giver’s name, company or business affiliation along with the logo, and contact information. Modern day cards may also include social media addresses such as Face book and LinkedIn.

Benefits

  • They are memorable. A well designed business card sticks to the memory better than text ever can.
  • They make your brand tangible with their weight, dimensions, texture and shape. Hence, business cards leave a lasting first impression on the potential customers and help in brand building.
  • They are handy and convenient. Owing to their size, they can easily be put in one’s pocket, purse or wallet and hence be accessed any time with ease.

Good business card designing practices

  • Don’t miss out on the key information – name, logo, phone number and email address.
  • Utilize both the sides up to their full potential.
  • Keep a minimum of 3 mm to 5 mm space from the trim edges.
  • Use textures and special finishes to give it a professional and more impactful feel and look.
  • Avoid excessive information to ensure the text is legible.

Choosing a good business card designer

  • Check for the company’s portfolio and what kind of designs have they worked on.
  • Check for customer reviews and satisfaction.
  • Check if the company provides options like matte finished, glossy and embossed business cards to cater to the best of your interests.
  • Look for companies promising long term technical and printing support.

Choose your shape

If you’ve already decided on a traditional rectangular business card, you can skip ahead to the second step. If, however, you want to learn about all your options, even outside-the-box strategies, keep reading.

As printing techniques grow more advanced and affordable, professionals have more room to explore alternative shapes. The printing technique of die-cutting allows you cut out any shape you want and still print in bulk.

Choose your size

Your next decision is the size of the card. This mostly depends on the standard of the country, so that’s a good place to start. Even if you plan to stand out, you have to know what everyone else is doing to go against it.

  • North American Standard: 3.5 × 2 in. (88.9 × 50.8 mm)
  • European Standard: 3.346 × 2.165 in. (85 × 55 mm)
  • Oceania Standard: 3.54 × 2.165 in. (90 × 55 mm)

No matter the size, you always want to consider three factors when designing:

  • Bleed area: the outermost part of the card likely to be removed.
  • Trim line: the target line for cutting cards.
  • Safety line: outside this line is subject to cutting mistakes. Don’t let essential element like text or logos fall outside this line.

Add logo and other graphics

Now we begin plotting the visual elements of your business card design, first and foremost the logo. Your logo should take center stage on your business card, although other flourishes and secondary graphics can sometimes be useful as well.

Don’t forget you have two sides at your disposal. One strategy is to dedicate one side of the business card exclusively to the logo, while the other side showcases the contact information of the person. However, it’s also good to have the logo on both sides, so often you’ll see a smaller, out-of-the-way logo on the side with contact information, as with Omni above.

This is just one strategy of many, though, so feel free to experiment with logo placement until you find one for your tastes.

Add necessary text

What your business card actually says depends on you. Work-from-home freelancers may have no need for a postal address, while professions that consult face-to-face require it. Or maybe its a strategic choice, such as drawing attention to your impressive social media following. The point is, different people benefit from different text on their business cards.

So the next step is for you to decide what to put on your business card. Below is a list of some common choices, so you can decide which to include and exclude.

  • Name – A given. Every card needs a name.
  • Company name – Another given, except for personal brands, in which case your personal name is your company name.
  • Job title – For traditional cards, include your job title. This also helps remind the holder of who you are, what you do, and even how your met.
  • Phone number – Even if phone is not your preferred method of communication, it is to some people.
  • Job title – For traditional cards, include your job title. This also helps remind the holder of who you are, what you do, and even how your met.
  • Email – A business card staple; email is the new norm for non-urgent business communications, partially because it allows sending documents as attachments.
  • Website URL – Including your site URL is a non-aggressive invitation for visits.
  • Social media – If social media is relevant to your field, or you just want to show a bit of your personality, include social media links.
  • Address – Necessary for drawing customers into your office or store location.
  • QR code – While not as popular as years past, a QR code is still a viable shortcut to transferring whatever data you desire.
  • Slogan – Completely optional, a slogan helps with brand identity and adds a little personality.

Consider special finishes

Now that you’re reaching the final stretch, it’s time to start considering printers—especially what they can offer. Certain printers offer special finishes that can go a long way in making a lasting impression. See if any of these “special effects” can benefit your business card design strategy.

Embossing. This technique creates three-dimensional reliefs, making certain areas “pop out.” Like spot UV coating, you can use it to draw attention to specific aspects of your card, even words.

Finalize your design

With all the elements in place and an accurate prediction of your final color choices and special finishes, you can reevaluate your design to make sure everything works.

First, examine the visual flow: how does your eye move when looking at the card. What do you notice first? Last? A good visual flow should start with the logo, then the name, and then the secondary information, finishing on any secondary images if they’re there. You can always change and optimize the visual flows by changing an element’s size and location.

You also want to clear out as much clutter as you can. Is all the information necessary? The fewer the remaining elements, the more impact each makes.

Advanced techniques

The eight steps are all you need to create a fully functional business card, but if you want to go the extra mile, consider these more advanced tips:

Stand out with a clever idea. If your industry allows some whimsy, you can employ more experimental strategies for separating yourself.

Card Design Requirements

Text and Graphics

When you design your card, make sure that artwork and text are positioned at least 1/8 inch away from the edges of the card. Otherwise a part of your text or logo may get trimmed when cards are cut.

Bleeds

Most printing companies require the original artwork file to include bleeds. Bleed is a border surrounding the card which will be trimmed off during the cutting process. So, when you export your design to PDF in Business Card Composer, set the 1/8″ (0.125 in) bleed around the edges of the card — click the Options button in the Export dialog. Note, that bleed size requirements may be different in each specific print shop.

Backgrounds and Borders

If you use a custom background or border in your card, it must go over the edges of the card slightly; otherwise clear area might result on the edges of the printed card. It’s not necessary if you’re using one of the backgrounds that come with Business Card Composer, as the program will add the necessary bleed when the file is saved to PDF.

Resolution

You may want to use photos and images obtained from a digital camera, scanner or from the Internet. For images, resolution is crucial for good quality of the printed picture. A picture that looks all right on the screen, may have jagged edges and appear fuzzy when printed. So your image must be at a resolution of at least 300 dpi. To check whether your image has enough resolution, zoom in on your document until 600%. If the image looks acceptable, it will look fine when printed.

If you still decided to use a low-resolution image, resize it in Business Card Composer to make it smaller — the print output quality will increase.

Colors

When you design your card, the colors you see on the screen are made up of the following three color components: red, green and blue (such color scheme is known as RGB). The monitor mixes these three colors to produce other colors. However, printers and other polygraphic equipment use another set of color components: Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black (this scheme is called “CMYK”). Consider this when designing your card — avoid using too bright colors, because the colors on paper may not always match those you see on the screen.

File Formats Supported by Printing Companies

Before you carry / upload your business card design to a printing company, find out their file format preference. Almost all print shops accept materials in the PDF and TIFF formats. Business Card Composer allows you to save your card in both these formats, with the required quality (the standard for high quality printing is 600 dpi resolutions). Use the File / Export menu command for this.

PDF and Fonts

When you export your business card to PDF, all fonts are embedded automatically. Nevertheless, they may sometimes display incorrectly in the print shop (depending on the software and equipment they use). If you wish to insure yourself against such problem, save your card to the TIFF format. The quality will remain the same, and the text will look exactly as you want it to. Even better if you bring the material in both PDF and TIFF formats, and let the printing company choose which one works best for them.