Business Card Design: The Ultimate Guide to Nailing Your First Business Card

How to make business cards that people will remember

Business cards are one of the easiest and most effective ways of leaving an impression on potential customers (thus the importance of business card design!). Business cards aren't just calling cards; they're a snapshot of your brand. Here are five steps to making a business card that stands out.

1. Determine the purpose of your card

The purpose of your card drives layout, content, design, and material. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite can help you create your own professional design. But, before you get started on your business card design, determine why you'll be handing out your card in the first place. Will you be leaving them around to promote your company? Is it to allow others to get in touch with you after networking? Who is your audience? Are you handing them to prospective customers? What is the ultimate action you'd like a recipient of your card to take?

Business card design example

When you hand your card to someone, if they can’t immediately tell what you do, you run an extreme risk of having just wasted that card. Make sure to include your unique selling proposition. Offer at least one critical reason the recipient of your card should contact you.

2. Sketch out your layout

  • Start with your logo

    • Your logo is the centerpiece of your business card. Making your logo the primary element on your card draws the eye and will help trigger recall later. Ensure that your logo, branding, and coloring are unified with those of your company.

  • Don’t forget the essentials

    • A business card is wasted unless your recipient can use it to get in contact with you. Make sure that you include all pertinent details but don't pack on too much. Your business card should include at least the following:

      • Company Name (If applicable. If you’re a freelancer and don’t have a company set up, just use your name)
      • Title
      • Phone Number (Office and Cell, if applicable)
      • Website
      • Email address
    • Optional information depending on what information you want your recipient to have:

      • Twitter Username
      • LinkedIn Profile
      • Facebook Profile
      • Portfolio Links
      • Instagram Profile

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  • Be creative

    • Creativity is what makes your card stand out from the rest of the cards in the stack. The more uniqueness you can show, the more memorable you'll be. (Check out these uniques business cards) For instance, the standard size for business cards is 3 ½" X 2". However, if you utilize an alternative size, your card stick out among other cards. Experiment with colors, textures, sizes, even shapes of your card but remember not to get too crazy or your recipient might not take you seriously.

  • KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

    • A cluttered card is a confusing card. Balance being creatively unique with readability and ease of comprehension.

  • No more than two principal colors

    • Most businesses and individuals use white business cards that use black lettering. A white/black color combination is safe, elegant, and offers a fantastic blank canvas on which you can be as creative as you wish. You may choose to go outside of that norm to make your card stand out, but stick with two colors. If you use more than two colors, the recipient of your card may take you less seriously. However, this rule does not apply to your logos and images.

Make your own business card stand out

3. Collect Assets

It's time to gather all of the digital elements of your card. By taking a bit of time at the beginning of your design process, you won't interrupt your creative flow to go in search of an element you knew you needed in the first place. You're able to simply design.

  • Logos and Images

    • It’s completely fine to use images on your business card but remember to use high resolution. 300 DPI images are ideal. If possible, use flat images as they tend to translate the best to business cards.

  • Fonts

    • Choosing the right font can be a daunting task. Here are 80 beautiful typefaces that will make your card scream “Professional Design.” Once you've selected the font you want, download it so it's easy to access.

    • Almost as important as choosing the right font is choosing the right font size. You might be tempted to use a smaller font to fit more on the card, but if your font is unreadable, it's immediately lost its effectiveness. Here are some good guidelines

      • Company name: 12-15 Point
      • Your Name: 9-10 Point
      • All Other Info: No smaller than 7 Point

    • Often, the only impression you get is your business card. Take time to double and triple check every character that you plan on placing for accuracy. It's hard to bounce back from typos on a business card

  • Colors

4. Complete Layout

Now that you’ve got your basic plan sketched out and your assets gathered, it's time to start placing them.

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  • Elements of design and proper layout

    • The focal point of your card should be split between the logo and company name. If you have a logo or design, make sure it grabs attention.

    • Don't get stuck in the corner. A common design mistake is to push most of the content to the edges. Don't be afraid of negative space (whitespace). Embrace the emptiness if it's there.

    • Use contrast to liven up your design. Lead the eye of the reader by using strong elements of contrast. Color, element weight, typeface, boldness, and almost any visual action (or inaction) can be used to create a leading line to guide your reader.

    • Don’t be afraid to go vertical.

  • Padding

    • Let your text breathe. Overcrowded text makes for low readability and a claustrophobic experience. Use strong text complimented by a hefty amount of negative space.

Make your own business card stand out

5. Proofread

  • Info - Is all the information on your card accurate and complete? Double check every character on your card for accuracy. Open a browser that you don't usually use (no cookies to auto populate the text) and type in the info character by character to replicate your recipient's experience.
  • Readability - Is everything easy to read? Is there enough space? Do you have the right fonts and font sizes? Readability is the single most important element of your card. If it’s not easy for you to read, it’s going to be that much harder for your recipient to understand your information.
  • Formating - Ensure that all content is within the proper margins. The closer you go to the edge, the more likely the printers will cut off your text or images. The higher quality the printer you use, the closer to the edge you can design. Business cards are not the right place to live on the edge.
  • Colors - Make sure your colors are accurate and printer friendly.
  • Print Samples - It's always a good idea to print a sample or two before either sending them off to the printers or running off five hundred copies yourself. Make sure that everything on your printed card matches what you see on your screen.

6. Free Business Card Templates

If you're just getting started in business card design, creating a card from scratch can be a daunting task. That's why we developed a collection of free business card templates to be used with CorelDRAW.

Just choose from the selection of business card templates below to make your card quickly and easily. All of the template designs are pre-formatted with sample placeholder text that you can replace with your own. Easily customize the colors, font, and layout, add a company tagline and more to create business cards that showcase your brand.

Choose between a .CDR or .CDT file for any of the business card templates below and click on the link to get started.

Please note: You must have CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5 or newer installed in order to properly access these template files.