7 Rules of Good Business Card Design

Business Card Rules for Every Small Business Owner

Businessman and woman exchanging business cards, close up
Photo: David Sacks / Getty Images

Despite the proliferation of digital communications, business cards are still relevant in many face-to-face settings. Attend a conference these jobs and in many industries, participants will still be exchanging cards.

But because so many people still use them, you need to make sure yours is memorable. An attractive business card draws the attention of prospects who otherwise might have tossed the card and helps you to network more effectively.

Follow some simple rules to make sure your business card represents your brand and attracts potential clients or business partners.

Key Takeaways

  • Be selective in what you include and leave some white space so that recipients can quickly get an idea of your business and brand.
  • Make sure your design reflects your brand.
  • Consider including a call to action, such as a discount or an invitation to visit your website.
  • Proofread your card, and then have a friend proofread it before you order it printed.

Include Only What's Most Important

Include enough information to pique the interest of recipients and make the business card memorable. It's tempting to reduce the font size and include every type of job you've done, testimonials, and more, but this leads to information overload and nothing memorable. Skip the kitchen sink and be selective about the information you include.

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Website address
  • Three or four social media handles

You may also want to add a slogan, a QR code, and an image or headshot.

Use a Legible Font

Funky fonts are fun, but you want recipients to be able to read your business card at a glance. Make sure the fonts you use on your business card aren't too small, too fancy, or distorted in some way.

Let your logo be the design element that adds spice to your business card and keep the text simple and straightforward.

Leave White Space

Some recipients jot down a word or a phrase on business cards to help jog their memories. Effective use of white space, including content on only one side, allows recipients to do this more easily.

From a design perspective, white space also helps draw attention to the space that does include text or a logo.

Keep It on Brand

How do you want people to think about you and your business? If you're a designer, make sure your card reflects your creative aesthetic. A party planner? Feel free to use bright colors. But if you're a lawyer or financial consultant, you'll probably want your design to feel professional and elegant.

Consider a Call to Action

Even a simple and streamlined business card can use some valuable real estate for a special offer or other call to action. Craft a short message that offers a discount, directs recipients to your website (a QR code can be handy here), or provides a tip that will be relevant and useful to the reader.

If you hit the mark with a specific call to action or other helpful information, you can make your card instantly memorable and generate more leads in the process.

Use a Professional Printer

Unless you have commercial printing capabilities, do-it-yourself business cards often come across as cheap or second-rate, and that's not the impression you want to give recipients.

You may be able to save a moderate amount of money and update your information more easily if you print them yourself, but the impact of handing over a homemade business card isn't the same as cards that are printed professionally.

Choose Finishing Options Carefully

Countless options are available, including rounded corners or other die cuts, holes punched through, unusual shapes and sizes, embossing, foil accents, and folds that can turn a simple card into a mini-brochure (or a paper airplane or desk box). Some of these ideas can really make your card stand out.

But if such a creative touch is not relevant to your brand, your business card might be remembered for the wrong reasons. A black, glossy card also may frustrate recipients who regularly use business cards for note-taking. And a circular cut or miniature size might just make your card easier to lose.

Proofread Your Work Multiple Times

Check all your copy for typos before submitting your order. Then ask a friend or colleague to read it over, too. They may spot something you didn't. There's nothing worse than getting your cards back from the printer to discover a misspelling—especially if you've already handed it out to professional contact.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I design my own business cards?

You certainly can design your own cards. Online tools such as Adobe Express make it easy to create a custom design from a template. Card printers such as Vistaprint also have design tools.

When it comes to printing business cards, however, professional printing still often looks much more polished than printing cards yourself on a home printer. Professional printing is relatively affordable, so it's usually worth the money.

What should a good business card have on it?

Less is often more, but you'll want to include basic details such as your name, contact details, logo, and a job title or short description of what you do. A call to action and slogan may be helpful, too, but don't overload the card with too much copy.

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  1. Brandly. "10 Must Do Rules for Designing Your Business Card."

  2. Vistaprint. "How To Design a Business Card: 10 Golden Rules."

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