Designing the Perfect Business Card

Designing the Perfect Business Card

You don’t need us to tell you how vital new relationships are in business. So, how do you make a lasting impression in a world filled with the ephemeral? Well… a great personality is probably your bet. Unfortunately, you can’t buy one of those. But you can buy an awesome, well-design Business Card. What’s the look like?

Content

Streamline your content and reduce the amount of clutter by only including the minimum amount of info: Good designs don’t overwhelm users with loads of unneeded stuff. Resist the urge to put unnecessary links and logos on your cards, like, your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter handles unless they are truly a central part of your business. Usually your name, company, phone number, email and website will suffice.

 

Pricing

Before searching for pricing estimates, draw up a few ideas. It will help if you have a budget in mind for the project before undertaking this task.

Are you using your cards to gather new clients? If so, quality always speaks louder than quantity — shift your budget towards a nicer card at a lower quantity over a cheap card at a higher quantity. This may be one of your primary lead-gen tools, you don’t want to cheap out.

If your cards are needed more for leave-behinds and meet-and-greets, you’re probably better served by shifting your budget towards the more economical options.

 

Design

Once you have narrowed the focus of your message, next you should brainstorm what you can do to make your card exceptional. How many business cards have you gotten in your lifetime? Ok, how many of those do you remember? This can be accomplished through the combination of original, innovative design with high-quality printing and materials.

 

The Lingo

Printers love their lingo! But, don’t be intimidated. You, too, can be slinging around terms like a pro:

 

Weight/Thickness

You will generally hear two different terms when choosing paper. “Text” refers to the thinner paper stocks which are usually measured by weight, and “Cover” refers to a more rigid card stock and is measured by thickness.

The mass of Text stock is calculated by weighing 500 sheets of 25″ x 38″ — this is referred to in pounds. A common text stock is 100# (or 100 lb.) but is generally not recommended for Business Card printing. For reference, typical copy paper is 50# (50 lbs.).

Cover Stock is calculated by measuring the thickness of one sheet expressed in thousandth of an inch.  Every POINT = .001 in.  It is commonplace to see 12 pt., 13 pt., 16 pt. and even some thicker specialty stocks, like, 34 pt.

 

Gloss/Matte

This could refer to the look and feel of the actual card stock, or it could denote a specialty coating that results in a matte or gloss finish (we’ll touch on that later).

Matte and Uncoated Card Stocks have a dull look and can be written on with a pen or pencil. This paper is useful for business cards that double as appointment cards; or, if you want to leave notes on the back about the context of where you met someone.

  • Colors will not be as vibrant compared to gloss stocks.
  • Uncoated papers are slightly more expensive than their glossy counterparts. These stocks take longer to dry after printing, which increases the production cost.

Gloss Card Stocks have a shiny look and are slightly more durable. Colors are bolder and blacks are darker on gloss papers.

 

Quantity

The total number of business cards that you order will affect your price. The more you purchase, the more cost-effective your per piece value will be. If your phone number and email address aren’t changing anytime soon, buy in bulk.

If you are producing company cards for multiple employees at once, you can receive quantity discounts for submitting more than one set. Just be sure that each employee has enough cards to satisfy your printer’s minimum quantity for a particular printing process.

 

Spot Colors

In addition to using spot colors to enhance full-color printing (5th color spot), they can be used on their own and printed on custom card stock colors and textures. The personalization comes with a price tag, but the originality factor is worth every penny.

 

Painted Edge

Instead of just printing the face and back sides of your business cards, consider painting the edges too! Edge Painting is available in many colors including Fluorescent and Metallic. Look for their Pantone equivalents to coordinate with the color scheme of your design.

By matching your design’s background color with the edge paint, you can fake the look of using a colored paper.

Custom designed Business Card with yellow painted edges

 

Painted Edge Business Cards look best when applied to double-thick stocks. While 16 pt. cards add a highlight to the edge of your cards, 34 pt adds a broad stoke of color.

 

Mini Size

If big cards aren’t your style, maybe mini-sized cards are more your thing. At a fraction of the size of standard business cards (3.5” x 2”), mini business cards are less intrusive on your wallet and fit perfectly in your change pocket. As a bonus, they’re cute as hell.

 

Custom Shapes and Die Cutting

Another way to separate yourself from the herd is to start experimenting with different shapes. Circles, triangles or squares will make your card stand out, but the most unique business cards are unique, die-cut shapes.

A custom die-cut business card with painted edges.

 

 

Rounded Corners

Round 1, 2, 3 or all 4 corners with 1/4 inch radius to give you cards a distinctive and elegant finish. In addition to the eye-pleasing aesthetic, the corners won’t get “dinged” as easily which will keep your cards looking pristine longer.

 

Folding Cards

Struggling to fit all of your information on a 3.5″ x 2″ rectangle or does your custom graphic need more space?  Add a score and double your real estate with horizontal (3.5″ x 4″ flat size) and vertical (7″ x 2″ flat size) folding cards.

Closeup on the fold for a custom business card with a horizontal fold

 

Short Folds are also a great way to customize on a budget. Instead of folding perfectly in half, your card folds off-center to create a standard-sized panel (3.5” x 2”) and a smaller panel (e.g., 2.5” x 2”). The reveal caused by the short size can be used for lots of fun effects.

 

Spot Coating / Varnish

Rather than applying a gloss or matte coating across the entire card, it can be applied to specific areas of your design to create a cool effect that leaves part of your graphic glossy and part matte.

 

Embossed / Debossed

This process creates either a raised (Embossed) or recessed (debossed) image by stamping card stock between plate and counter dies.

This effect has a very distinguished and formal appearance. It can be applied to areas with no printing (blind), aligned with a secondary graphic (registered), or with a secondary application of foil (combination) for an extra touch of class.

 

Foil Stamped

Mirror-foil finish can be applied to specified areas of your artwork. These metallic surfaces can create some of the most striking and memorable visual effects on any business card.

 

It is important to make sure your business card reflects you and your business, choosing one or more specialty options can make you stand out. Just don’t go crazy with the add-ons or you risk looking gimmicky.

Is your design ready or do you have some additional questions about custom business card printing options?  Contact Jakprints (or reach out to us on social media), we’re always happy to help.

2 Comments
  • Hoang Gralewski says:

    I am interested in designing an embossed style business cards. I have a general sketch of my Business Name with Logo and Slogan. Will you guys be able to complete the final art design of it in a couple of options for me? Can you give me costs associated with this whole design and actual cards. Thanks.

  • Hoang, we would love to work with you. Someone from our stellar file creation department will reach out to see how we can help.

Leave a Reply