Business Cards – A Visual Guide

Setting up Shop –

Now that my blog is up and running, it’s time I start setting up shop. Which means designing a business card is on the top of my to-do list. And what better way to organically grow viewers and followers offline than to introduce  yourself with a fun, well-designed, and professional business card!

Luckily, designing a business card means there’s not much area to cover. In fact, the standard business card is only 3.5″ x 2″ in size. Besides logos, that’s about as small as it gets in graphic design. (Score!)

However, although there may not be much area to cover when designing a business card, there is certainly plenty of time logged during the design process. (Typefaces, colors, formats, oh my!) At least it takes time, if you want them to turn out nice! And I’m pretty sure everyone wants their business cards to look nice.

So, for those ready to learn, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the design process behind my business cards. Simple outline and visual guide to follow:

1. Prepare the Information –

This step was extremely easy for a blog, because there are only three tidbits of information I want to have on my business card:

a) Business Name: Hope Simmons Design

b) Business Description: Midwest lifestyle, design & diy blog

c) Business URL: hopesimmonsdesign.com

2. Find Inspiration –

Business Cards – Step 2: Inspiration

Looking around on internet for project inspiration is part of the job for graphic designers. Some of the best places to start finding inspiration are Google Images and Pinterest. Another good source to consider are printing companies. Watch out, if you’re like me, you might end up looking through about 500 business cards (I just can’t stop myself!)

Also worth mentioning, it’s during this phase when I choose descriptive keywords to guide the overall style of my design. For this business card, I ended up choosing:

FunFreshHappyPlayfulModernYoungProfessional

3. Evaluate Type & Color –

Business Cards – Step 3: Type & Color

Now that I’ve seen my fair share of card designs, and chosen my guiding keywords, it’s time to start working on my business’s own branding. To keep it cohesive, I’ll be pulling elements from my website to use in the design of my business cards. Those main elements being the type pairing (i.e. Proxima Nova + Baskerville) and colors (i.e. Pink, Yellow, Black, White).

4. Acquire the Format –

Business Cards – Step 4: Format

Printing companies do a great job of listing product specifications for custom designs. These specifications are from my favorite company, MOO. (More about them in a later post!) And the size is based on the Standard card dimension (3.5″ x 2″).

5. Create B&W Type Studies –

Business Cards – Step 5: B&W Type Studies

Here’s where the tedious fun begins. Where the inspiration, type, and format start to come together. Now’s the time to explore! Put everything out there: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Small differences are also welcome, you never know how big a difference a few point sizes can make!

BEWARE: It’s good to start in black and white, because color is deceiving! Really good colors might trick you into thinking a so-so design is great when it’s really nothing special.

6. Refine & Edit Type –

Business Cards – Step 6: Refine & Edit Type

So, it’s all out there…the good, the bad, and the ugly. The big differences and small differences. Now it’s time to narrow it down to the 1–3 designs with the most potential. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down, enlist help from a significant other, a friend, or family member. They’ll have fresh eyes, and insightful suggestions!

7. Apply Color Studies –

Business Cards – Step 7: Color Studies Adding color gives new life to the refined type studies. Some colors will really pop, and others not so much. You never know unless you try, so have at it! Now’s a good time to start exploring and adding patterns, textures, and gradients.

8. Refine & Edit More –

Business Cards – Step 8: Refine & Edit More
Now is the time to step back and reject all the dull and garish designs. The color(s) should enhance, not distract from what’s important, the information! If there are a few color options you can’t decide between. Take a few minutes away from the screen, then return with fresh eyes. Go with your gut, and a clear winner will soon emerge!

9. Proof the Final –

Business Cards – Step 9: Proof the Final

You might be surprised how long this step can take. You’ve come so far, don’t lose momentum now! Work on all the nitty-gritty, little details. Is it perfectly centered? Are all the words spelled correctly? Is the information correct? Are all the colors exactly like you want? Is the spacing between letters (known as kerning) looking good? If so, you’re nearly done!

10. Export to Upload & Order –

Business Cards – Step 10: Upload

The last of the design work is done! (Yay!) All that’s left to do is export for upload! It’s best to double check with the printing company about which files are accepted. For mine, I exported the designs as high-quality pdfs. From there, most printing companies make it easy to upload your work and purchase your order.

According to my order, I’ll receive my custom designed business cards in a little over two weeks time. Stay tuned for a post about the finished  product!

Notes:

Generally speaking, no matter what type of product you’re trying to design (i.e. business card, poster, photobook, etc.), applying the same design process as outlined above will lead to a thoroughly researched, intentionally designed, and well-executed final product.

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