4+ Parts That Make a Successful Business Card (and Where to Put Them)
Every designer runs up against a business card at some point—whether it’s for a client or for your own company. And designers who have been there, done that can tell you just how tough it is.
Creating the perfect business card is a bit like trying to bathe a cat. Contact info is flying everywhere, making a mess of your drawing board, and you hit a level of frustration you didn’t know existed. But unlike bathing a cat, making business cards is a skill you have to master to be a good designer.
According to the creative team at Company Folders, Inc., good business card design is all about the layout. And they had some great advice on picking the best layout for common business card elements. Check it out:
Photos & Graphics
Images are the best part of any business card. They add visual interest and convey the brand’s style in a way words can’t. It’s up to you to find the perfect image, whether that means you partner with another designer who specializes in illustration, work with a commercial photographer, or create your own graphics with a tool like Inkscape.
Since they’re typically the largest part of any card, it’s best to place images first and move smaller elements around them. If you’re opting for two-sided printing, you’ll want to place your image on the front of the card, where it can act as a creative intro to your business.
If you’re only printing one side of the card, you’ve got two great options. One is to use your image as a semi-opaque background, which lets you place text over it while still maintaining readability. Or you can place your photo near the left or top of the card, which will attract attention since people start reading at the top left of a page.
Like images, your company logo is extremely important to your business card design. It’s the most recognizable symbol associated with your brand, so it helps your networking connections remember you and raises their awareness of your brand identity.
Your company logo should also be placed in a prominent spot near the top or left of the business card. If there’s already an image occupying that spot, put the logo in the next available position below or to the right of the image. You should size your logo larger than nearby contact info to create a hierarchy within the design.
Another fun idea: if you’re not using an image, put the logo on the front of the card to build brand awareness from the get-go.
Company and Personal Names
Once a business owner is finished choosing a company name, they need to create brand recognition by using that moniker on all marketing platforms—including their business cards.
If you’re designing for a small business, the cardholder’s name could be the same as the company name. If the two are different, remember that the company name goes first. Since these cards help people connect specifically for business purposes—not personal ones—the company name is thus the more important of the two.
Names should be smaller than the logo, yet larger than other contact information, to maintain the hierarchy. Names should be placed below or right of the logo if you’re placing all information on the same side of the card. If you’re using both sides, consider putting the company name on the front of the card with an image or by itself to establish the brand’s identity right away.
Standard Contact Information
Standard contact information includes everything from email and street addresses to phone and fax numbers. While this information is necessary for connections to get in touch with you, it’s more functional than aesthetic. This information is taking up space on the design because it has to be there.
Place standard contact information near the bottom or right side of the card in an easy-to-read font. Sans serifs are popular because they create a clean modern look, but there are plenty of readable serif fonts that add an air of tradition and academia. As much fun as it is to create cool designs, no business card will be effective if people can’t actually read the contact info.
Special Contact Info: Websites
Many entrepreneurs want to include their web address on their business card because they’re realizing what the web development gurus at SitePoint have known for years—that every business needs a website. Placing a URL on their business card makes it easy to direct potential customers to all the info they need, in one convenient place.
Web addresses can be grouped with other contact info using the same font and sizing. But they don’t have to be that way. You can write URLs on an image to pique viewers’ curiosity—which is especially effective with close-up or uniquely cropped shots. Or use it as a footer, running the length of the business card.
Consider placing your website in a larger font (similar to the company name) if you want it to attract more attention. This will help business owners to increase their web traffic and generate more sales—and isn’t that the point of a good business card?