Design a Business Card

Think Tank LogoI’ve received many requests to do an article on how to design layouts, flyers, business cards, etc. So, in this article I’ll show you how to design a business card.

I’ll show you what my business card would look like if I emulated some of the terrible designs I’ve seen. I’d like to show the actual cards, but I don’t want to be sued.

Special Note: I’m going to focus on traditional card designs here. I think they will apply to a wider audience. So, no cards made from metal today!


Most Important Concept in Design

I personally think that the most important part of designing anything is alignment. If you make sure everything is aligned properly, I don’t think you can go wrong.

Unless you space everything an equal distance apart, or center your text. Here is an example:

Business Card 1

You’ll commonly see people use this layout in yellow pages ad’s. Here is what is wrong with this design:

  • Everything is centered (Amateur Looking)
  • Every line is an equal distance apart (Impossible to Read)
  • The Arial font is used (Way to Common)
  • Never capitalize every letter (Impossible to Read)
  • No focus on what is important
  • You don’t need to fill all of the white space up
  • Keep your services list extremely short

Ok, I could go on and on. Let’s look at an actual business card design, with my information replacing the original owner.

Business Card 2

This guy fell prey to thinking he had to fill every square inch of his card. This is very common. Leave lots of white space. Also don’t:

  • Ever use more than two fonts and one is preferable
  • Don’t write out phone, email, web site, etc.
  • If you don’t have a fax number, you don’t need to tell people what the number is
  • If you do have a fax, use the abbreviation p, f, or e instead
  • Never have more than one picture on the card
  • There is no need for the http:// and normally avoid using www also

Business Card 3

Here is another card I’ve received. It’s simple and gets the client the exact information they are looking for, but alignment (AND ALL CAPS) ruin the look. Notice how the address is not aligned with the name at the top? Actually nothing is really aligned and that is why it looks like the text is going to fall to the right.

Here is an OK Business Card Design

If you look at a business card and something seems off just a bit, it’s probably alignment. When I received this card something bothered me. You might not notice it, but it drove me mad.

Business Card 4

In general, the alignment is pretty nice and the overall layout is ok, except for one thing. Do you notice how the space between the name and the website stuff doesn’t look right? You’re taught in design school that you should align text this way:

Business Card 5

Notice the difference?

If I apply all of the rules I’ve shown you above, I’m left with a card that looks like this:

Business Card 6

Everything is aligned to be 1/8th an inch apart, or a multiple there of. However, something just seems a bit off. Normally when something seems a bit off, I look for a way to re-enforce my alignment. The easiest way to do that is with a simple line.

Business Card 7

Sure enough that simple line brings the whole design together. Our eyes desire patterns and if you don’t provide them in your design people won’t like it.

I hope this helps you improve your graphic designs. If you’re a professional artist I know I didn’t state anything you haven’t heard before. Non-designers don’t understand the importance of alignment however.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them below.

Till Next Time

Think Tank

2 Responses to “Design a Business Card”

  1. I know I already commented yesterday when I discovered your website but I couldn’t help myself again…

    Your website is like an entire University course on Internet marketing, programming and design. I’ve learned more from your site in the last two days than I have paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars for University courses on the same topics.

    VERY highly recommended. Sites like this are extremely rare! Keep up the good work, you are helping so many people!!!!!!!

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