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How to Make Business Cards: A Step by Step Guide

Whether you’re just starting as a professional or have been in the game for a while, new business cards can step up your game.

A well-designed card should send a message about who you are, what you do, and give a sense of your style or personality.

When you hand it to someone, it should invite them to contact you, not leave them wondering where you got the idea for the rainbow in the background, or why WordArt came back from the ‘90s.

A poorly designed card can leave you looking unprofessional and incompetent. In this article, we are going to share some tips on how to make a great business card that will have them coming back for more!

  1. Decide How You Want to Make Your Cards

Nowadays, there are so many options when it comes to printing business cards, pamphlets, banners, letterheads, and really whatever paper goods your little heart desires. Let’s break down some of these options:

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Online design and printing company – This is probably the easiest option of all. If you don’t need cards that double as phone stands or cheese graters, and you don’t mind a more generic (but professional) look, companies like Vistaprint, Bidolubaski, and Staples do a pretty good job for a fair price.

Local graphic designer/printer – If you are looking for that unique, cheese-grater business card, they may be able to help you out with that. These cards may be a little pricier, but at least when your potential client has the urge for some freshly-grated parmesan, they’ll remember you!

Make them yourself! – If you feel confident in your Microsoft Publishing abilities and have a good quality printer, go for it! Remember to use high-quality cardstock or “business card paper.” Don’t blame us if they come out lop-sided. But if they turn out well, feel free to give us credit for all these helpful tips you’re reading!

Any of these three choices can turn out well. You will have to do your research, compare prices, and choose what’s right for you based on what you can afford and the level of quality you want.

Business card with too much information.
Image result for exemplary business card
Include Relevant Information Only

Please DO NOT include your entire resume on your business card. DO include enough information to contact you. Make sure you include:

  • Your full name
  • The name of your business, If you have one
  • Occupation or professional title
  • Phone number
  • The physical address, if applicable
  • Email address
  • Include a Website, if you have one. But if you own your business or are starting one, get with the program! Everyone and their mother has a website nowadays, or at least a dedicated Instagram account.
  • Social media handles related to your business used to be optional information, but again, everyone and their mother has Instagram now. Or, you can go with Twitter if you’re the more serious, business-suit type.

What about graphics? Those are loaded with information too! Every square centimeter counts on such a small piece of paper. So be intentional about the colors and images you choose to represent you.

  • QR code is not exactly a graphic, but very useful for people with smartphones (a.k.a. EVERYONE) to instantly sync your info to their contact list.
  • Headshot, primarily if you work in sales or another industry in which your brand is synonymous with your business.
  • Logo, if you don’t have one already, it’s worth thinking about and designing one (or having one designed) that looks good online and on paper. Consistency is key here.

Unless you’re a graphic designer or a very talented amateur artist, we do not recommend that you design your graphics. Your business cards are the face of your company. You don’t want them to look like something from Cartoon Network unless you work for them. Then maybe it’s ok.

  1. Peter Piper Picked Out the Pretty Paper!

Say that ten times fast! Then think about the type of paper (or other material) you want to use, the shape of your cards, and the kind of finish you want to top off your cards.

Card Paper/Material

If you want standard business cards, no cheese graters, classic cardstock works just fine. It’s basic, and there’s no funny business or monkey business, just regular business. You know what I mean.

Even with cardstock, we have some options:

  • Ultra-thick: As the name implies, it is, in fact, substantially more substantial than other cardstock.
  • Signature: Medium weight with a medium price tag.
  • Standard: It’s, well, standard, common, not unique. Standard is fine if that’s what you think of your business. We recommend investing a few more pennies to make a good first impression. But it’s your call.

If you’d rather not kill trees to get your branding out there, you might consider some more non-traditional eco-friendly options.

  • Paper made from alternative sources; many printers offer to print on non-traditional paper that is made from materials ranging from recycled t-shirt cotton to bamboo. Office supply stores are increasing, and including these options as well if you’re going the DIY route.
  • Recycled paper, cardboard, Christmas cards from last year, an increasing number of printers are willing to accommodate

If you choose to go with paper, you’ll have to decide between a glossy or matte finish. Glossy is better for a card that includes images and bright colors. Matte is recommended for a more classic, text-filled look.

12pt Next Day Glossy Business Cards
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Shapes and Sizes

You can always go with the standard size (3 ½” x 2”) and rectangular shape, which is handy because it fits into wallet card slots and business-card holders made with this standard size and shape in mind.

Or, you might be the creative type wanting to showcase your skills. In that case, put your thinking cap on and do a little research. The best non-traditional business cards are ones that are relevant to the work that you do.

For example, someone that works in technology could choose a design that doubles as a USB drive. For the green energy industry, a seed packet could design a card that doubles as a seed packet, or a bike shop or other mechanic’s shop could print their cards on a tiny pocket-tool.

Image result for usb drive business cards
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The list goes on and on.

  1. The Fun Part: Time to Design Your Card

You can do these several different ways. It partly depends on where you choose to have your business cards made.

Overall Design

  • Pick a template. Premade templates are an option you can take advantage of, whether you choose to have the cards made through an online printer, a local business, or Microsoft Publisher.
  • Let your artistic side show and design it yourself.
  • Get it customized. A professional designer can be a little more expensive, but if your brand is vital to you, it could be worth the extra dough. You can contract freelance designers through websites like Upwork and Fiverr.
Image result for fun design business cards
Image result for fun design business cards

Font Size and Type

You’ll want to choose a font that’s legible and not too fancy. That Rage Italic ITC or Blackadder ITC may look cool in theory, but if no one knows what the heck it says, you might as well not print cards at all.

Along with the font type being readable, the size has to be as well. A professional can help you decide what size is best for the font you’ve chosen, but as long as the average person can read it without breaking out the magnifying glass, it should be good.

  1. Check Twice, Print Once

You’ve decided how and where your business cards will be made. You’ve carefully selected the content, picked out the perfect paper (or recycled t-shirt material), and the adequate size/shape/function to gel with your profession. Now, it’s on to the printing press, or state-of-the-art inkjet. I mean, we do live in the 21st century.

The most important thing about printing the perfect business cards is to make sure that they’re error-free. So, as you’re adding all your info and logo, check and double-check that they’re going to turn out precisely the way that you want them.

With these five steps, you should be well-equipped to begin making your business cards!

Austin Terrill

Austin is the founder and CEO of Print Peppermint. He loves art, graphic design, printing, music, recording gear, synthesizers, and ice cream. He lives in Berlin with his wife and two children.
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