Ultimate Guide to Business Cards: Infographics and Other Resources

Inspiration August 26, 2011

After a year of blogging about business cards, we were able to make a list of things you might need to know about them — from where business cards started down to what you can do to make your cards stand out. The infographics and other resources we have posted below should help you create great business cards. If we missed anything, make sure to let us know in the comments section below.

Business cards are important tools for expanding one’s network. While their purpose, for the most part, stayed the same since they were first introduced, the designs have changed. It’s important to stand out in today’s competitive environment and business cards can help you do just that.

To start off, here’s an infographic showing the origin of business cards and some information about custom business cards.

 

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Business Card Designs

The design of your business card can either make or break you.  There are times when a strong business relationship starts with a simple business card exchange.

Your business card designs should be well-planned and well-executed. From the text and font to the colors and logo, every element should work together to get people to start calling you. One of those elements would be the card’s shape. Here are a few examples of shapes you could use:

Standard Size

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Rounded Corners

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Circles and Squares

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Other Die-Cut Shapes

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Usability: Adding Features to Your Business Card

Handing out business cards is one thing; getting clients to keep them is a bit trickier. If you want people to hold on to your cards, you have to either make the designs unique or find ways to increase the cards’ usability.

Increasing a business card’s usability means designing cards that can serve another purpose other than providing your contact information. You can do this by providing details the recipient might find interesting, incorporating elements that can help make information storage faster and easier, or by using designs or materials that can make your business cards function as tools.

Below are some examples:

 

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Here are some design details you can add to your business cards:

QR Codes

QR codes are a form of 2D bar codes that make it easier to save contact numbers from business cards to phone and PC.

QR codes are a form of 2D bar codes that make it easier to save contact numbers from business cards to phones or PCs.
Many smartphones come with QR code readers. Business cards with QR codes make it easier to transfer contact information.

Generating these codes are also easy and many sites online offer it for free. Check Kerem Erkan’s QR Code Generator, SPARQCode  and Jeff Korhan’s site; these are really helpful. Or visit SquareCode and 2DCode for reviews and lists of QR Code Generators respectively.

Here are 3 samples of business cards with QR codes:

 

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Out of the Box

If you want to be unique, you should think about fun or practical things people can use business cards for. Unique business cards are usually made out of harder materials such as plastic or metal. Here are 3 creative business cards that definitely stand out:

 

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Printing Business Cards

There is so much to printing that new and even some professional designers have yet to learn. However, printing is such a huge topic that you’ll need a whole book just to be able to cover all the details. Here’s a checklist of things you should consider when printing business cards:

 

business-card-printing-checklist-01

 

Color

The colors on your monitor may not reflect what’s on the final print. It’s because the colors are created by 2 different processes. For computer monitors, colors are created through RGB (red, green and blue). Print materials, however, are produced by adding inks and pigments, usually through CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and key color [black]).

To be able to adjust this discrepancy, you need to talk with the printing company to determine if they require files to be converted to CMYK format. There are printing companies that offer free conversion but it would be best if you use CMYK from the start.

Make sure to select  CMYK color mode when creating a new document on whatever design software you’re using.

 

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Size

You should make sure you’re using the right size prior to designing. You must use at least 300 ppi to make sure that the images will not be pixelated during printing.

 

Bleed

You should remember to allot 1/8 of an inch on each side of your business card design. Otherwise, parts of your design may be cropped. You can work with the printing company to make sure this doesn’t happen. If possible, try and use design templates. These templates have guide lines you can use to make sure all the important details are within the safe zone.

Below is a sample business card template:

 

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The template will help you position your design in such a way that all the important details would not be trimmed off.

Hopefully, that helps you with the basics of business card printing.

Learn More About Designing for Print:

Bleed from Prepressure

RGB vs CMYK from Print International

PPI and Print Size from Digicam Guides

Display, Printing, DPI and PPI by Bob Atkins

The Truth on Offset Printing–Read Before You Print by Arthur

Create Print Ready Business Card Design in Illustrator by Chris Spooner

What’s the Catch with Free Business Cards by Taylor Thomas


 


Business Cards: Beyond the Aesthetics

While business cards are used all over the world, exchanging them can be different depending on where you are. Some countries observe business card etiquette and it differs from place to place.

Here are a few interesting facts on how people exchange business cards in other countries:

 

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We hope that you guys enjoyed this article. If there is anything that you wish to add to the information we have listed here, feel free to leave a quick message on the comments section below.

 


For Inspiration You Can Also Check:

Design Inspirations from the History of Business Cards

Rounded Corner Business Cards Designs

Sophisticated and Stylish UV Coated Business Cards

11 Round Die Cut Business Card Designs

5 Business Card Photography Tips

 

 

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Leah is a graphic artist, pen and ink enthusiast, muralist, poet and blogger. As a child, she has adored the pen over Barbie. She can write backwards and knows that bit of info has nothing to do with design. She's been writing regularly for YouTheDesigner since January of 2011 (not backwards!) and has loved every second of it.

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  • http://cpgraphics.net/blog Adam

    These are GREAT examples… ALL of them. Thanks for putting it together. The cement business can opener – seems like more of a give-away at a trade show than a business card, but cool nonetheless!

  • Tim Vanhoutte

    This is pretty much the most complete (compact) overview about the design and use of busines cards. Nice job!

  • http://www.giveawayblogs.com Marinelle

    This is very informative. I’m planning to have my own business card and this article is very helpful.

  • http://www.hurleytech.com Milwaukee Web Design

    Cookies as a business card. Why don’t I get more inquiries from cookie business card salesmen?

  • http://mardinitex.com maamoun

    excellent review. well done i found that really enjoyable to read.
    i was in a meeting in the nigerian embassy here in egypt and met with the second man who before giving us his card (we were 3) flicked the card twice or 3 times with his finger..sounded like a sign for something.. so i didnt know and thought i should do the same before giving him mine :D

  • Blake Alexander Hammerton

    Man, I love some of these cool designs! I put my design skills to the test and have 1,000 really nice cards… but BOY do I wish I put a QR code on them somewhere.

    http://www.blakehammerton.com/2011/03/free-coaching-session/ – The graphic on this post is the front side of my business card. The multi-colored eye has done wonders to attract peoples’ attention.

    Next up: QR code!

    As a designer/printer on the side, I wish more designers would emphasize bleeds. I’m always amazed when people come to me with cards that bleed and argue with me.

    “Blake, it doesn’t bleed. It goes right to the edge.”

    Great post!

    @alexanderblake