Effective Print Design in Business Cards

Leave a lasting impression with custom business cards

"Paladin" (last name only) was a Renaissance Man circa 1870: an adventurer, bon-vivant, gourmet, gambler, and investment speculator who also happened to be a very adept and deadly gun for hire. He was wired, not telephoned, for hire.

This is the business card that was displayed on television.

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Business Cards  No matter the size of your business, organization, church, or club, to leave a lasting impression on those you meet, it's advantageous to have business cards (a.k.a. name cards). Traditionally, business cards were made of dark text on white stock. Later, cards could be seen with one, two, or three colors (as Warren Camp chose to use for On a burgundy-red semi-gloss background, Warren used glossy-silver for his company abbreviation. Remaining text was made with a white sans serif font. his first business card in 1977). Today's professional business card often includes one or more aspects of a striking visual design. With the arrival of digital printing and batch printing, it's become cost effective to print business cards in a variety of colors.

Want to eliminate the printing cost? Business cards can be printed with a good-quality digital copier, which bakes toner on the card's surface. The first two examples below are "copier" business cards.

Basic Layout Examples

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Look Professional While Showing Off

A graphic-design type of business card can provide people with your contact information in a format that looks professional, legitimate, and impressive. Your new card can be seen as a mini-portfolio of you and what you have to offer. Its design message should be memorable as it invites people to contact you.

Laid out appropriately, a simple, basic design can often give the right touch. Here are four examples of Warren Camp Design's personal cards with a professional look made from Warren's custom templates.

Personal Yet Professional Cards

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The Choice Is Yours

What you ask your graphic designer to include on a card is certainly up to you. Too much data can look crowded and be overwhelming to read. Choose what is essential; consider including a message that speaks to your target audience. At all costs, avoid adding clip art, which is so "eighties and nineties."

Choose whether your new card will be single- or double-sided. With lower costs from online printers, it's possible to get a full-color, double-sided card at a reasonable price.

Double-Sided Cards

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Classy Background Cards

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Ready for a new Business Card?

Designer Steps 1, 2, and 3

Step 1. Preliminary Layouts  Before Warren Camp collects your chosen content, and you and he determine the card's layout, sketch one or two of your ideas and send them to him. On receipt, he'll create a few preliminary layouts to help you envision the possibilities. If you're considering double-sided printing, decide where you want to place your logo and contact information. Think proactively; make suggestions in the preliminary phase.

Step 2. Design  Once you've chosen your preferred layout, Warren designs the card using Adobe Illustrator, one of the best software tools for business card design because of how well it handles type and a variety of other design elements. In most cases, Warren designs cards with a resolution of 300 dpi, set to the CMYK color model. He'll check with your printer to find out the accepted file formats, using the printer's templates whenever possible to ensure smooth printing and cutting.

Suggested design parameters to consider: (a) size of card to be 3.5" x 2" with a bleed dimension of 3.75" x 2.25"; orientation of "landscape" (horizontal) or "portrait" (vertical); (c) weight of card stock must have a minimum 110-pound weight for conventional cards, however, an 80-pound cardstock is preferable for the majority of professionals. (FYI: The 110lb and 80lb weights refer to the number of sheets it takes to weigh one pound; the 80lb takes fewer sheets so it;s a heavier product.); (d) finish options for your cards can be, for example, matte, coated, or satin.

Step 3. Printer Delivery  Once the design is completed and approved, Warren transmits the files to your printer, or to you if you prefer to take full responsibility for the printing. There may be a print shop cost to make a proof of your approved design; Warren recommends this step because it allows you and him to preview the card's layout and quality before printing.

See many more of Warren's business card designs in his three portfolios.

1. Single-Sided
Business Cards

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2. Double-Sided
Business Cards

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3. Displayed
Business Cards

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here Warren Camp has extensive experience creating many types of high-quality business cards, posters, door hangers, postcards, bookmarks, newsletters, brochures, and so on. He enjoys designing and executing print advertising and marketing pieces. See many more of Warren's recent print design productions in the left column. Or see a number of his digital design creations.