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Principles of Business Card Design

A business card is a vital tool for any professional. Whether a person or a business, a card is the most concise way of sharing your contact details and a well designed business card also acts as an advertisement. In this post we will cover the basic principles of how to design a successful business card, from functionality to aesthetic appeal.

What to Include

A business card has to display your information clearly and visually represent you and your business. The information on your business card should be your first priority. Typical information includes a company logo or name, and contact information.

Basic Specifications

The standard size for UK business card is 85mm x 55mm. This is credit card sized and therefore fits neatly into a wallet or pocket. Cards can also be single or double-sided so consider which one would best suit you.

Note the three key features of this template. The dashed cyan line indicates the full size of the business card when cut. The grey stripes area represents a bleed of 3mm around the entire card for printing and cutting purposes. The magenta line is the safety line inside and details should not go outside of this box otherwise there is a risk it could be lost when cut. Standard business card templates for Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator are available here.


Simplicity is the key to a good business card design. Follow these key stages to achieve the best results:

Stage One – The Layout

Start with a blank card, choosing either single or double sided. Take all the information you want to include and organise it into groups, typically logo/name, all contact details and tagline. Place these groups of information on your business card, testing various arrangements. A clean and simple layout is key here and by organising your information into blocks this is much easier to achieve. [Insert image "Business card example"] In this example, note how the information is grouped into blocks. Simple alignments also keep the design clean and modern such as aligning all text to the same left edge or the name and title aligned with the logo. The design also fits neatly within the template guidelines.

Stage Two – The Text

The most appropriate font for the text on your business card must follow two golden rules. Firstly the font must suit you and your business. It is important to not just pick a font you like, but one that best reflects your business. Look at other businesses in your market to see what sort of fonts they are using. Secondly the font must be readable. Always pick a font that allows for your details to be clear and easily read, thinking about the size as well as the typeface.

Stage Three – The Aesthetics

Again look at other businesses in your market and consider whether they use imagery or patterning and what colours are popular. Then apply these ideas to your business and decide which of these elements you want to use and if you want to break away and do something different. At this point you can then start thinking about the finer points of the design. The possibilities are endless so play around and look at existing cards for ideas.

Stage Four – The Finish

The physical properties of your card are as important as the design on them. It is important to think about thickness as standard cards are around 300gsm but a thicker card could create a greater level of sophistication. Texture is another exciting avenue as cards can be matt or gloss laminated as well as other more luxurious finishes such as silk. These final touches will help to create an impressive business card to well represent your business.

Printworks Online Design Service

No Artwork? No Problem! Printworks Online have a team of graphic designers with the design skills to translate your ideas into stunning visually effective pieces of print. We are focussed on presenting your brand to your audience in the most effective possible way. Drawing attention to your key messages and ensuring you get the return on investment on your print you require. If you would like to speak to someone about your artwork needs or for a design quotation please drop us an email: or phone: 01937 585575


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