Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Table of Contents
After reading this article, you’ll understand:
- What information you should add to your card
- How to arrange your contact details on a standard business card
When designed correctly, your business card reminds people of the first time you met and encourages those who are interested in your products or services to get back in touch or visit your website for more information.
Knowing what to add and what to leave out helps create a card that’s both eye-catching and well-balanced. Try not to only focus on the graphic elements and text you want to add, but consider the space around them too. This is often referred to as ‘negative space.’ By also thinking about the space around your text and logo, you achieve balance and give each element room to breathe. Good, clean design communicates that you’re organised and professional.
The example below shows a two-sided card, with the front focused on the logo, company name and tagline, while the back contains the necessary contact details. This example is just one of many ways to design a business card. It’s simple but effectively displays your contact information.
What to include
Your logo is a visual representation of what your company does and what you stand for. It should epitomise your business and is a keepsake for your customers to remember you by. When you have a logo, it makes your company feel like it’s credible, professional and trustworthy.
Three common types of logo include:
Written name: Often referred to as a wordmark, this is a written representation of your brand. Many iconic brands use wordmarks, like Google and Visa.
Monogram or letter mark: These logos are composed of the initial letters of your business organised in creatively. Abbreviating is a good idea if you have a long name, like International Business Machines (IBM).
Symbol: This is a pictorial representation of your business. It may be a shape related to your area of expertise or an abstract form that represents your brand. It can stand alone and support your written business name. The swoosh and the apple are two of the most widely recognised.
Use a high-quality image at 300dpi (dots per inch) to make sure the edges appear crisp when printed. Your logo should ideally work in black and white (for basic applications) and be scalable (from stamp sized reproductions all the way up to posters or banners). Try not to add text too close to the logo or scale it too big. And remember to let it breathe. That’s what makes it stand out. If it looks cramped, scale the logo down a bit and increase the amount of space around it.
2. Company Name
Give this plenty of space and make it prominent. It’s arguably the most important piece of information on your card, as it’s what people are most likely to remember. Generally speaking, the name of your business should be the largest piece of text on your card.
Try to summarise what you offer in six words or less. “Brand Strategy for All” communicates that Smith Consulting provides branding services to a diverse mix of clients and doesn’t specialise in one sector. It’s professional, honest and focuses on the core service.
4. Your name
Give this text field prominence to help people remember your name and create a personal connection to your business.
5. Job title
This serves as a good memory jogger. Not everyone’s good with names and some people are more likely to remember you for your area of expertise.
This example shows the logo repeated on the reverse side to reinforce your brand. The above example shows why it’s important to make sure a logo works in black and white as this application uses only one colour, whereas the logo on the front includes a colour gradient.
You can drop the http://, it’s not necessary and takes up space. It’s important that there’s consistency between the design of your business card and your website, so bear that in mind if you’re designing a card when you already have a website or vice versa.
8. Contact details (email, phone number, address)
Contact information is usually aligned left, right or centered. If you have a preferred method of contact — such as phone number or email address — emphasise it with a larger size or prominent placement.
If you operate out of a brick and mortar location, adding your address is vital to increase foot traffic. If you work virtually or on site, you can leave it out to save space. Phone number and email address are crucial, as these are how most people will contact you.
Megan Morahan, a creative director at Vistaprint, points out that when it comes to adding text: less is more.
“It should be easily digestible for whoever is receiving it,” she says. “The less info you put on there, the better. The same goes for typefaces, try to stick to two to keep things looking clean and tidy.“
9. Practical print information
Because of the mechanical tolerances involved in printing, the actual cut can happen anywhere between the bleed line and the safety line. That’s why it’s important to keep your text and important images within the safety line and out of the trim area.
The very edges of the document are called the bleed lines. To prevent an unwanted white border from showing at the edge of your document, be sure to extend any background colours or design elements all the way to the edge.
The safety lines are borders that are inside the area where the cut will take place. Keep all necessary information, like names, addresses, phone numbers or logos within the safety line to ensure that they aren’t cut off.
To ensure your card clearly communicates everything you want it to, ask someone to look at it before you commit to printing.
You could ask them the following:
- What’s the first thing you see?
- Is it clear what products/services I offer?
- How would you contact me?
- Is the text easy to read or do you have to squint?
- Do the logo and text have enough contrast against the background?