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How to create an astounding business card design

Heather Steele's Layout avatar

In the digital age, paper business cards can seem SO last century.

And spending time and money on a business card design?

It’s often simpler to add someone on social media…

But that doesn’t work very well if they’re not on social media (and some of the most important business partners you’ll meet simply aren’t there).

Sometimes, I think we spend so much time, money, and effort on our digital materials that we often forget how powerful good, solid print work can be. People just don’t value it like they once did.

So, when was the last time you updated your business card? Business cards are just as important as the contact form you have on your website (and to a large portion of the business world, they’re much more important).

You invest in your website because you understand the value of it—you need to do the same with your business card.

A detailed design for a business card has value — if you do it right.

First impressions matter, but you have to actually talk to people to make that impression.

Word of mouth from client to new client is great, but you won’t always get new clients online or through email (or your website, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or your blog).

Sometimes the best way to round up new clients is to go out and meet them face-to-face at networking events.

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Wait, speak to people face to face?! Nobody said anything about that! I want to stay here with Netflix where it’s safe! They can just find my website…

Well, in many cases they won’t. This ain’t Field of Dreams and you’re not Kevin Costner—you’ve gotta get out there and shake some hands, kiss some babies, and slap a business card in their hand.

And it’s better to have a beautiful business card design to grab their attention and burn your first impression deep into their memory.

What are the chances of a potential new client remembering that the napkin crumpled up in their pocket has your phone number on it? Or that after that networking event, your number is saved in their phone under, “Jane—Designer?”

Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. You need something stout, stunning, and stellar that’s going to leave an impression.

“A business card isn’t just a piece of paper—it’s a snippet of your soul ” , a bit of your brand, a microcosm of your marketing.

It can either impress the person holding it, causing their eyes to implode at the extreme awesomeness of your brand, or it can just join the pile of forgotten business in their third desk drawer.

If you pay close attention to how we created a graphic design for our business cards, you too can create an awesome, jaw-dropping card and turn heads at your next networking meeting.

How we designed our new super sweet business cards (and how you should design yours, too).

We cast “Wingardium Leviosa” on a stack of papers and…

Just kidding, but we definitely applied some designer magic—we spent a great deal of time (in Adobe Illustrator) working on the graphic design for our business cards. Afterwards, we sent the design off to the strangely magical muggles at Moo to print on some fancy schmancy card stock.

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I want to point out a few things. First, notice that the front doesn’t have our actual logo on it—we’ve taken elements of the logo and rearranged them. However, you can still tell that it’s us from the colors and shapes from the logo—our branding didn’t just up and run away.

Despite this, the focus of the card is on the content. The design leads the reader to what we want them to see—contact info. Because this card is for an individual, we moved business information (address and website) to the back of the card. We wouldn’t want to waste that precious space back there, but we also realize it’s not the first place people look.

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We don’t want them browsing our website—we want them sending us an email. So, that’s where we point them.

We’re designers, and our branding has to reflect that. We want people to look at the card and admire the design, to see that we put our business cards where our mouth is—that we can do the stuff we say we can do.

Your business card reflects your brand, which reflects your business, which reflects your customers. It’s all about what appeals to them (while still showing the world who you are—the values and spirit of your business).

When it comes to graphic design in business cards, only three things matter: Branding, branding, and branding.

Your business card fits into this much larger umbrella term called branding—it’s an extension of your business, as important as your logo or your website.

It reflects your business, it reflects you, and if it isn’t consistent with the rest of your brand, it’s at best confusing and at worst a joke.

“You’re not a joke—don’t let your business card be one either. ” You’re a business beast, and your business card should be, too.

However, if you don’t know what your brand is, coming up with a clever design for your business cards might be a struggle.

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To help you wrap your brain around the idea of branding, we’ve got a (free!) brand persona template you can download right now.

It will help you get a really clear idea of who and what your brand is, which makes designing your business card much easier.

Once you finish that, figure out who your audience is with this awesome customer persona template (also free!). This template helps you figure out who your ideal customer is so you can target your marketing to them. It makes writing your copy easy peasy because you know exactly who you’re writing for.

Need some ideas for your next business card design? See if these examples inspire you.

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