Business Card Design Tips

Practical advice for the best business cards they can be

Your business card is an advertising ‘foot soldier’, presenting your company logo and (more importantly) your contact information to potential clients, customers and networking opportunities. A large percentage of business cards handed out end up in the round file – everyone’s got a card and only a small percentage get kept. How to make yours stand out? That’s a good question. Depends on the logo you’re working with, as well the amount of copy you want your card to feature. Some things to keep in mind…

Vertical cards can be groovy.

Vertical Business Cards

(Yes, we said “groovy.”) While the traditional idea of a business card is that of a horizontal format, sometimes a vertical aspect ratio can work nicely. Vertical cards are generally not appropriate for info-heavy cards – company name and various contact information is about all we can fit. Vertical format cards showcase your logo nicely, and can be quite artistic from a graphics perspective. Many people overlook the back of their cards – perfect for some more info, or some tastefully designed graphics. Unlike larger print items, if there’s an additional printing cost to a back print, it should be minimum. Your printer can produce the run as a ‘working turn’ (a technique where cards are set up as an ‘imposition’ – a combination of card backs and fronts – and the sheet is flipped over once one run is complete).

Traditional & horizontal is still nice.

Horizontal Business Cards

Horizontal business cards are close to the ‘golden mean’ ratio and are the most common type of business cards floating around. We can generally fit more information into this format, but are somewhat restricted in the design freedom, hampered by the layout. A typical design will see the logo on the left, with contact info on the right side. When it comes to putting information on their card, many clients try to fit as much data as humanly possible. Try to keep it to a minimum. Too much information and the typeface will have to be miniscule and difficult to read. Informal rule of thumb is to keep font sizes to 9pt and larger. While we’re talking about information on a card – remember to include website address and e-mail. That’s if you’re using a domain specific address (gmail or yahoo addresses should probably not be used on a card. It screams “I’m using a free e-mail service and don’t have my own website!”). Some folks have requested our designers use their gmail or yahoo e-mail addy to avoid spammers – a fair enough goal, but most e-mail addresses are scraped by bots from ‘live’ links on websites, not from foraging around trash cans trying to find business cards.


Let your logo do the talking.

If your logo is a full color CMYK design (as opposed to the more economical spot color format) – often required with illustrative logo treatments – you may be tempted to ‘go to town’ on the design of your business card.

Logo & Business Card for Australian ATV Dealer

“I have to pay for full color printing, so I should take advantage” kind of thinking. Makes sense in the economics department but can cause the design of your card to suffer drastically. Best keep the design accents and flourishes to a minimum. Let your logo ‘do the talking’ – after all, that’s what you want people to notice. Your business card is supposed to accent your logo, not overwhelm it.

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