How To Create a Print Ready Business Card Design

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphicsback with another video tutorial.

Today I'm going to run through the process of designinga business card and talk about some of the important things to consider when designingfor print.

It's super important that you get things likebleed, color mode and resolution right when you're creating your artwork, otherwise youmight end up having your files rejected by the printer, having to start again from scratchor even worse, receiving hundreds of prints back that look nothing like your design! So hopefully this guide will cover each stepand ensure your print projects go smoothly.

Business cards are a common printed productthat are fairly simple to design, but before you start, make sure you receive specificartwork instructions from the printer you're going to use.

Every company has their ownpreferences, so the settings I'm using in this tutorial might not match up exactly towhat your printer wants, but at least you'll know what they're referring to when they saystuff like trim size and bleed size.

We're going to use a mix of Illustrator andPhotoshop to make the most of each application's strengths.

The overall design will be compositedin Illustrator, so we'll start there.

Create a new document and enter the dimensionsof the business card in the artboard size settings.

A common business card size is 88x55mm,but again, make sure you check with your printer first on their exact product specs.

If you'rein the US, you'll probably find the measurements are in inches as opposed to millimeters.

The print firms I've used required 3mm bleed,so enter 3mm in one of the bleed fields and press Tab to apply it to all sides.

Bleedis basically some padding around the edge of the design which is cut off during theprinting process.

It ensures that you don't end up with tiny slithers of white paper alongthe edge of your prints if the machine isn't lined up exactly.

We're designing for print, so select the CMYKcolor mode so we're working in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks as opposed to RGB light.

Then most business cards are double sided, so increase the number of artboards to 2.

The main white area of the artboard is thefinished business card size, also known as the trim size.

The red outline indicates thebleed area which any backgrounds will need to extend to.

It's also wise to highlight a safe area withinyour document.

This not only makes sure your important elements like a name or logo aren'ttoo close to the trim area that they risk being chopped off, it also helps balance yourdesign by applying some margin around the edge.

The size of the safe zone is entirely up toyou but 5-10mm shifts your elements inwards enough to look neat.

You can highlight thisarea using guides, or draw a rectangle then right click and select Make Guides.

I want a black background for my card design,so I'll grab the rectangle tool and draw a shape that covers the entire bleed area, clearingout the stroke to leave just the fill colour.

A black background sounds simple enough, butthere's a whole plethora of different blacks in print design.

If you move the colour pickerto black you'll notice it's made up 0,0,0 in RGB, which means there's no light so it'sas dark as you can get, but look over at the CMYK values and they're all over the place,totalling at 329% – This is way too much ink to be printed when you consider the generallimit is around 260%.

There's a basic 100% K black, which uses justthe black ink from the standard CMYK process colours.

This is good for text because justusing one ink out of the four CMYK colours means you'll get the sharpest possible print,but when it's applied to a large area it can look a bit washed out.

Rich black is the term used for mixes of Cyan,Magenta, Yellow and Black that result in a deeper black.

A common one on 50, 40, 40,100, which refers to the percentages of the four CMYK colours you set in your softwareand the amount of ink printed with each plate.

The trouble is, this particular colour mixuses all four plates, so it has a high risk of misregistration which can cause fuzzy text,often seen on cheap newspaper prints.

A couple more common blacks are warm blackand cool black, which mix 100% K with 50% Cyan or Magenta.

These two recipes only usetwo plates so it's much safer to use with small text while still darkening the black.

The difference between them, as their names suggest, is one has more of a cooler bluetone, whereas the other has a warmer browny red tone.

I'm going to use blue elsewhere in my designso I'll go with cool black to complement it.

Set up the colour manually by entering therelevant percentages in the CMYK values.

You can now begin building your business carddesign by bringing in a logo.

Scale it to size and align it to the safe zone guides.

There's no white ink in printing, unless it'sa super specialist print.

Giving something a white fill in your software will translateto the other elements being knocked out to allow the paper to show through.

When entering the text for your print design,6pt is usually the lowest you'll want to go.

A business card is held up close so you canget away with generally smaller type, but be careful if you're using elegant fonts withhigh contrast, there's a point where fine lines become unprintable.

The slab-serif Achillefont I'm using is pretty robust so it can handle 6pt even in its Regular weight.

One thing to keep in mind when designing forprint is the paper stock forms a large part of the final design, which you don't get tosee on screen.

A lot of people try to add gradients and drop shadows to make their designsmore interesting, but these often just muddy the final print.

An area of flat colour mightlook boring on screen, but when its printed you'll see the texture of the paper with amatte or glossy finish.

In my design I'm enclosing the main name andcontact info in a white box, which needs extending up to the bleed area.

The text within thisarea needs to be black.

I could keep using cool black with 50% Cyan, but there's notreally any point seeing as the text isn't a large enough area to see the difference.

All it does is risk misregistration, so instead normal 100% K is the better option.

For the other side of my business card designI'm going to leave the background white but make use of a photo, so Photoshop comes intoplay here to use its strengths as an image editor.

We need to recreate the business card documentsize in PSD format, so create a new document and change the dimensions to millimeters.

Photoshop doesn't have a separate bleed setting so we need to calculate the total dimensions.

88mm plus 3mm on each side equals 94mm, and likewise 55+3+3=61mm.

All print work needs to be 300ppi, so change the resolution to 300 pixels per inch, thenset the color mode to CMYK.

We can't see where the actual trim line isbut setting the safe zone up using guides will make sure the elements are laid out nicely.

A quick way to do this is to set the size of a marquee then snap the guides to it.

I want to have the logo and a tagline on thisside of the card so I'll paste in the logo graphic from Illustrator and type out thetext with the relevant font.

Usually it's advised to add all your text in Illustratorbecause it's made in crisp vectors rather than fuzzy pixels, but I'm going to overlaya photo, so Photoshop is the best option in this scenario.

I've downloaded this space scene from Shutterstock.

Pasting it into the document will automatically convert it to CMYK and reformat it to 300ppi.

This is a nice high resolution stock photo so I've actually got to scale it down a lot.

You don't want to try and use small images from the web because they'll only be the sizeof a postage stamp in print terms, unless you upscale them, which will make them looktotally ugly.

The effect I'm looking for can be createdusing a layer mask.

Filling it with black hides the entire photo, then the areas I wantvisible can be selected and filled white.

Use Photoshop any time you're working withtextures and images as part of your print designs, then add text and logos in vectorformat over the top in Illustrator.

When you're done, save the file as a JPG using the normalSave As command so it retains the resolution and colour mode.

Back in Illustrator this background can beplaced onto the artboard for the other side of the business card.

Before exporting the final print file it'swise to outline your fonts by pressing CMD+A to Select All, then CMD+Shift+O to CreateOutlines.

This eliminates any chance of your font not being picked up when it's openedon the printer's computer and defaulting to something boring.

Go to File > Save As and select PDF.

There'ssome options to add printer's marks but unless your printer has specifically asked for themjust leave them off.

There's also a PDF setting here that might be required.

This file now contains both business cardsides in one print ready document.

You can give the file a quick check over by openingit in Adobe Acrobat.

Look for the Output Preview tool and togglethe various plates to see how the design will be printed using the 4 process colours.

Inmy design you can see Magenta and Yellow aren't used at all on the first side and just blackis used on the name area.

On the other side, the photo is made up ofvarious percentages of all four colours.

If you're new to print design this video mighthave bombarded you with loads of information, but hopefully it was a comprehensive guideto the things you need to consider when setting up a print file.

If you did find the videouseful a thumbs up to help spread the word would be really appreciated and if you wantto stick around for more, remember to hit that subscribe button.

So thank you very muchfor watching and I'll catch you all later.