The Dos and Don’ts of Designing a Business Card

business card designDesigning a business card is both an art and a science. A great business card is one with just the perfect balance of the art and the science. So, let us consider the science first.

First the science…

Before you begin any work there is a rigorous process that you need to engage in as pertains the task at hand. This is the science of business card design. It consists of a series of questions that will give you a proper understanding of your business card. The questions are supposed to answer the major question: “what do I want to communicate through this business card?”. When all is said and done, your business card is supposed to tell a story. But what is that story made of? Let’s explore…

Who am I?

Who are you and what do you stand for? Are you a start up or a 60 year old business? What is your mission? Are you changing the world by fighting global hunger or selling burgers to workers on the office block across the street? A business card for a global brand name like Coca Cola is different from one for a start up. Similarly, a business card for a religious non-profit is different from one for a strip-club.

Who is my audience?

Who are you designing the business card for? In other words, who will it be given to? Prospective investors? Long-term clients? Prospective clients? Who are they and what do they like? A business card that is targeted toward 60 + year olds is remarkably different from one targeting hippy teenagers.

What is my message?

Once you know who your audience is, what are you trying to communicate? Do you intend to convince new clients to sign up? Or to inform long-term clients that you are rebranding? Or to convince prospective investors to release cash? In simple terms, how do you want your audience to feel when they look at or hold the card? Now to the art…

What are the design parameters?

The design parameters are basically the tools that you have to work with. Do I have a logo? Are there any specific colors or fonts that are associated with the company (or organisation)? If there is a logo, a color scheme, a picture or fond that is part of your brand then those are your parameters. You have to work around that. It all comes down to the colors Colors are one of the best tools you have in your arsenal. Human beings are naturally attracted to colors. Use colors to spice up your card. However, use them sparingly. Too many colors spoil the soup! You want don’t want to have your business card looking like a failed attempt to draw a rainbow.

The quick tips are:

  • Do not use more than four colours. Ideally two or three are best. If you have to push it, make it four, not more.
  • Use colors to draw attention to the parts that you want your audience’s eye to catch. Use brighter colors in the areas you want to be seen.
  • Try to avoid using colors which clash. A font is worth a thousand words. There is nothing as spicy as a well placed font. Fonts can be used to great effect. Think about the playfulness of Comic Sans versus the smoothness of Bauhaus 93. A font can be used to enhance your message.

The quick tips on fonts are:

  • Do not use more then two fonts. Ideally, you should use one font, but if you squeeze, then use two. Using three or more may make your card look quite disorganized.
  • Do not use abstract or decorative fonts for your names and contact details. You want those to be very clear.
  • Use fonts that best communicate your be it corporate or other. What about that picture They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A picture is one of the best things you can include in a business card. However, business cards often suffer from a size constraint.

Quick tips:

  • Use a picture that both stands out but blends into you overall design scheme.
  • Use a picture to illustrate something that you cannot describe in words.
  • Avoid using fuzzy or abstract pictures. A person should take one look at the picture and know what it is.
  • Use a professional printing company like for inspiration.


When all is said and done, designing a business card is a creative process. The above rules are supposed to guide this process, but not replace it. Relax and have fun and keep it simple. And, above all else, follow your instincts and you can never go wrong.

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