There comes a time in every brand to give out gift cards. Gift cards are a fun and enticing way to get your customers attention and promote direct buyer referrals. With a gift card, anyone can have the amount discounted from their order with your online shop or in physical stores. But how do you design a great gift card? What is the key to those festive cards people love to carry versus the gift cards that wind up lost under the washing machine forgotten? The key is a dynamic and eye-catching design with an immediate understanding of the card's value when you view it.
If this is your first time designing a gift card, the first place to start is a design with the right dimensions. When you know the size to start with, you can begin rendering your future gift cards in a graphic design program like CorelDRAW and experimenting with bold, eye-catching gift card designs. So let's start with the basics.
The standard size for a gift card is 3 3/8" x 2 1/8" X 0.30 mil. For most people, this size is easier to visualize as that of a basic credit card. Likely, you've held a few gift cards or credit cards in your hands before. The length is less than the length of your hand, the width crosses but does not extend over the edge of your palm. The thickness is the same as any plastic ID or payment card.
Start with a 3.375 x 2.125 inch rectangle with rounded corners. Then duplicate it to design both the front and back of the card at the same time.
Now that you're ready to design your gift card, let's talk about how to make it eye-catching. The most used and therefore beneficial gift cards are the ones people love to carry around, that make them feel luxurious or wealthy, or inspire a laugh. You'll want a bold, branded, and unforgettable gift card design for the cards themselves to inspire new purchases. Let's take a look at some of the best tactics for attention-grabbing gift card design.
Make use of the entire card, edge to edge. If you want to frame your artwork, print the frame into the piece with such shading and depth that there is the illusion of a raised frame around the edge of your card. Otherwise, push the picture and design all the way to the card edges. This gives the card visual weight and makes the card contrast with whatever it is laid upon.
Make sure users can tell it's a gift card. Use front-side messaging or large lettering on the back side to clearly state your brand, the words "Gift Card" and, if applicable, the amount the gift card is originally worth. This tells customers and leads not to toss the card as mailer-junk but instead to keep a valuable piece of brand currency.
Be bold in your card design. Choose large and easily recognizable - yet interesting - design subjects. Close-ups and objects that take up more than 80% of the card face are a popular choice right now. Use highly contrasting colors so that the card stands out visually and the design pops to the eye in a scan of any room or wallet.
Make sure the gift card design looks unmistakably like it belongs to your brand. Use your boldest brand colors, especially as a background color on the back. Use imagery that is associated with your brand or artistic shots of favorite products your customers are familiar with. You want customers to immediately think "That's my X Brand gift card" every time they see the card without confusion.
Aim for a design that brings a smile to your customers' faces. You want a card that is beautiful, funny, or adorable to carry because these emotions are compelling and help build your brand personality (and relationship) in the minds of gift card carrying customers and referral leads.
Want to really make your design catch the eye? Wrap your imagery around from the front design to the back. Follow a puppy's wagging tail to the deals or follow an unfolding puzzle-box around the edge. This around-the-edge design will have your users flipping over your card as a brain teaser again and again.
Designing a great gift card is best when you know your brand and your audience personalities and where they meet. But everyone starts somewhere, and that somewhere is the standard dimensions for a standard gift card: 3 3/8" x 2 1/8 x 0.3".
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