10 golden rules for designing your business card

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

A business card represents the next step in making your small business dream a reality. For many potential customers, it’s also the first interaction they’ll have with your brand, so make sure it’s a positive one.

A thoughtfully designed business card does more than just carry your contact information. It’ll make you look professional, build trust for customers and set your small business apart from others. But before you start giving out business cards to everyone you meet, stop and ask yourself: What makes a good business card? How can you make it stand out, and ultimately bring in more business?

The answer: By carefully considering the information you include, and how you present it. Here, we’ve put together 10 essential tips on how to design a business card that best represents you, and your business.

How to make a great business card

1. Remember, first impressions count

Your business card says a lot about you and your company. Your design should communicate your values, distinguish your business from the competition and encourage people to get back in touch. If your style of working is straightforward and formal, your business card should reflect those qualities. Or, if your products or services are playful and creative, try to capture those traits by using bold colours and a catchy tagline.

2. Choose the most appropriate size and shape for your needs

Before you sit down to design your business card, it’s important to know what size and orientation your card will take. This not only influences the text size and amount of information you can include but also communicates things like whether you’re conventional or a bold non-conformist. Horizontal rectangular cards are the format most people are familiar with. Vertical cards are less common and can be used to differentiate you from your competitors. If standing out is your goal, then you might also want to consider a specialty plastic business card or triple layer extra thick card with an eye-catching layer between the front and reverse sides. Decide where your business lies between understated and bold.

3. Choose a design that fits you

Select colours and design elements that are associated with your business area to make your card easy to recognise and representative of the products or services you provide. If you sell luxury products like jewellery or evening wear, you might represent this with a foil detail. Or if you specialise in a style of stone masonry or carpentry, you may include a photo of your work to showcase your area of expertise. The choice of finish and paper stock can let your customers know whether your company is the most affordable solution around – or that you offer upscale services. Your choice of paper stock can also suggest whether you’re a fresh and fun new venture or a well-established business that’s been around for decades.

4. Be consistent with your website and other promotional materials

This way, it will be easier for your customers to remember and recognise you. If you don’t have a website or other marketing materials, but your business has an established logo or is well known for something in particular (be it your sign, the building, the uniforms of your staff etc.), try to integrate that into your business card design.

5. Add a special touch

Use special finishes such as spot uv, raised print or even a folded card. Your customers will notice the difference.

6. Give your business card additional uses

Use the reverse side on your card for appointment reminders, loyalty stamps or even a handy calendar. Think creatively, don’t just use a basic calendar template, try to mark important dates for your customers, depending on what your business is offering them.

For a landscaping company, it might be useful to mark the best moments of the year to trim or fertilise plants on your calendar – while a beautician might mark the days when their business offers a cheaper rate or free samples. If you run a food-related business, write short recipes on the back of your card; or use your card as a tag if you sell art or handmade gifts like jewellery.

7. Make your business card sticky

Forget marmalade fingers, by ‘sticky’ we mean how long your card will be in a place where your customer can see it. We’ve seen magnetic cards work very well for businesses offering recurring services like plumbing, house painting, gardening, pet sitting, hairdressing, car services etc. People put them on the fridge to refer back to on a regular basis.

8. Ensure your contact details are easy to follow

The way your information is laid out is an important consideration. If in doubt about how to organise your contact details, the classic arrangement of text fields follows this order:

  • Company name
  • First name and surname
  • Job title

Contact info (email, phone number, social media handles etc.)

9. Make sure your contact details are correct

Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. Clear contact details, correct spelling and choosing a legible font in a readable size are all things that need to be triple checked. Apart from your name and job title, make sure to mention your business, telephone number, website, email address and social media handles if relevant to your marketing activities. Make it easy for your customers to contact you the way they feel most comfortable.

10. If in doubt, talk to a designer

If you’re lucky enough to know somebody who has experience creating graphics for print, a quick 30-minute chat could help ensure everything is ready to be added to your design. They will be able to make sure that the design elements like your logo will appear crisp and clear on your physical card. It’s important to make sure that your images are the right resolution and your text fields are an optimal size for readability. The last thing you want is to open a fresh box of business cards to find that the logo you uploaded appears pixelated or your phone number is hard to read. But don’t worry if you don’t know anyone with these skills, our design experts are just a phone call away. They can help you with queries, edits and even recreate your whole design if necessary.