These business card design tips may just save your business. Contrary to popular belief, business card designs should not be about aesthetics. They’re meant to communicate and ultimately convert customers. Having the wrong one is a definite disadvantage, if not downright fatal to your brand. According to The Design Inspiration, 90% of business cards get thrown away within a week. This clearly isn’t good for your return on investment or conversion rates. Some of the given reasons include:
As a printing company, we know these problems are real and that business card designs with these issues are endemic. But how can you create effective designs for our business cards? The answer ultimately depends on:
1.) How your market perceives your brand
2.) How you want your market to react to it.
To help you understand these within your own brand’s context, we’ve asked several designers for their favorite business card designs as well as a few valuable tips and insights.
The following responses are presented verbatim.
“My number one tip when designing a business card is simplicity. Don’t over saturate a business card with anything other than the necessary information.”
“A tip for designing a business card is keeping things simple. If it doesn’t add, take it away. Production can add value to your card, but sometimes it’s not in the budget, there are other ways to make your business card memorable. A business card is the first thing that is given to a potential client. It’s what people hold onto and how they remember your company. There should be a lot of time taken to design the cards. Spend time, make it effective, and remember, this is the first piece of work that will represent your company in most occasions, so make this design matter.”
“The best cards are those that spark a conversation once they’re received.”
“When designing a business card, be aware that this will establish the first impression and the standard for the rest of the branding materials. That’s why my advice is to try to have fun and be creative and always evaluate different materials and printing techniques to search for the WOW effect. If your branding idea can fit in a 85 mm x 55 mm, then it means that it’s simple, clear and strong.”
“The best business card tip I have is to design a card that you’re excited and eager to give out. If you can capture your enthusiasm and passion for your business in a unique and creative design, people’s first reaction to your business card will be, “WOW,” followed by, “I want to work with you!””
“Include only the most relevant information and remove everything else. Do more with less.”
“Know the brand and let the card speak for the brand A business card to me gives clients a first impression on your work/product/service. It should, aside from giving contact info, also clearly represent what the brand is all about, or who the person is.”
“Detail is more important than [the] information you can find in a business card. In fact,… information can easily be found on [the] internet. The thing which allow[s] people to remember you is the detail. It can be texture, graphics, or funny messages.”
“My number one tip for designers is to spend as much time as needed for the idea generation before starting to design anything. With a great card which has a great idea behind you or your client will be most likely contacted and the card will reach its aim.”
“For me, business cards are about creating something memorable. The simple act of sharing your contact information can be extremely mundane, or the card can provide an experience for the person receiving it. I always try and include at least one unique element. This could be a die cut, metallic ink, painted edges, etc: just something to make the card enjoyable to receive.”
“First [favorite] that comes to mind is Lotta Nieminen for her work on Beautified which spanned from business cards, illustrations, app design, and whimsy yet educational brochures. Her business cards perfectly merge illustration, cheeky copy and a vibrant pallets while keeping a clean, minimal look that compliments the brand.”
“My top tip for designing business cards is to keep things simple. It should look good, but more importantly the information should be legible and have a solid hierarchy.”
“Keep it Clean & Simple. Use only relevant information and use the backside of the card to describe more information like special offers, checklists, services etc. Make sure that all information are easy to read.”
“Experiment with different materials and printing techniques. Have a reason for everything you do and try to keep it simple.”
“A great business card is a card that stands out without screaming out loud. It has to have a purpose and has to be relevant with the company mission, vision and DNA. It has to look great and be simple. The main goal is that you don’t want the receiver to trash it within 5 minutes. And, don’t overkill it.”
“Number one tip on designing a business card: Think first about printing and material, and design for whatever techniques and material you have available for you. A design for offset will be much different than one for digital. The thing about business cards is you hold them in your hand, so it matters how they feel. Other than that, just don’t try too hard.”
“My advice would generally be to not try to be too clever; keep it simple, and rely on the unique qualities of printed material to create something special.”
“Before designing a business card, you should sketch it. Then typography and color should be very nice.”
22. Ursula Villalba
“…For me the most important thing is to capture the essence of the brand with which you are working, the essence of the client. And then make a striking card, either by colors, finishes, morphology, but I think that to be a striking card makes you want to keep it. Cards in small sizes do this well, I think it’s important to enter into anyone’s wallet. Because of the card don’t match in you wallet, you can put it anywhere and can be lost.”
23. Raluca Comanescu
“Number one tip in designing a business card: try to humanize your business cards by including a face into their design.”
“Well when I start to design business cards, first I investigated all about the client (his web page, colors and style, design MUST match the existing brand design). Then I drew a few examples on paper, sketch it and usually the final work has to combine elements of all examples. Then in vector program, using graphic tablet I make a digital version.“
“Always think outside of the box (literally). A business card especially nowadays needs to tell a message and represent your business in a moment’s time. If it’s bland or badly designed the receiver will just toss it out. If it’s beautifully made and well thought out. It can sell yourself without you having to do any talking.“
“We think that it’s better to keep it simple and fresh, and choose the right printing method and the right paper.”
“Keep it clean, keep it simple, keep it functional.”
“A successful business card is only one element of something much bigger. Its style should be established by a style guide that dictates the color choices, typefaces, spacing, and layout that are intended to express the attitude of the brand. This style guide should be used for all the branding elements of the company, so that when the business card is placed with other marketing tools of the brand, it should feel consistent.”
29. Kerby Rosanes
“Your identity, visually present on your card is affected by major fundamental elements of design such as colors and images. It is wise to include a preview of the kind of work you are to offer while keeping your design neat and simple.“
“Keep it simple. The above mentioned cards are all incredibly simple from a design standpoint. What allows them to grab people’s attention is the execution and the method of production. Adding an alternative method of production (letterpress, stamping, screen printing) or subtle detail can turn a boring design into something exciting.”
“For me the best designed business cards are ones that tell you something about that company without even reading the fine print. I believe the card should reflect the style or approach of that business through its presentation. With that said, I love simple and clean design, but I also like chaotic and eye catching aesthetics, as long as it is structured!”
“Monochrome, simple and lots of whitespace is key to beautiful business cards if you ask me.”
“My number one tip in designing business cards is the feeling, it’s very important to feel, to encircle what the client has in his mind and see how to make it real.”
“I’d say that with designing a business card, you somewhat have to ‘engrave’ your identity, and that you have to have that consistency that belongs to you with everything you design. Oh, and minimal is better, keeping it simple, easy to read, and clean is the way to go, if you ask me.”
35. Tommy Beemsterboer
“Although you quite often hear ‘a project is never finished’, I think the best tip in designing a business card is to get to a point where you can say that it is, and it shouldn’t be iterated any further. Keep skimming content and elements until you’re left with only the essential information in all its elegance.”
36. Martin Diegor
“My tip on business card design: Most business card design tips usually dwell on grabbing attention but most people leave out the part of being able to retain that attention. I usually admire card design[s] that have more use than being a disposable piece of paper. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a “card”. For me, a well-designed concept has more to say about you than your resume, after all, it’s the card that introduces you when you’re not there to do it yourself.”
I think the business card should adhere the “soul” of the logo…So the URL of the website becomes essential, to be placed on the front of the card, under the logo.
“To design a business card the first thing you need to have in mind is how to show the type of your business or skills you have and how do you think people will react to your design. The idea of the business card has to be the most important… thing. First think of how to surprise people then you think [about] other things (content, printing etc).”
Most of the designers we’ve interviewed seem to agree that as far as business card designs go –less is a heck of a lot more. Design overkill will not impress many clients.
In a world neck-deep in cluttered, unfriendly design, a simple and balanced layout with relevant information can be (and often is) a breath of fresh air.
For most brands, keeping things simple can definitely be a good thing.
Do you have additional business card design tips? Share your thoughts and comment below.