How to Design Business Cards

Hi.

My name is Russell Pearson and I'm here to talk about business cards.

Business cards come in all different shapes and sizes.

They come in millions of different colors, thousands of different finishes and they're made out of just about any material you can think of.

So there's plenty of decisions that we can make about how we want our business card to look which you will probably find that your graphic designer or your printer are going to be talking in another language when you're actually talking about the designing of the business cards.

So what I'm going to do is step you through some of the terms that go into the creation of the business cards so that it might help you make better decision making when you actually get to your new card.

Just so you're aware, standard business card size is 55 millimeters by 90 millimeters and you will find that in the majority of cards that you actually see around town.

Let's quickly talk about die cutting.

In this case — well probably in this case, a die needed to be created so it's like a die stamp.

It actually comes down and cuts out the card and that costs a little bit extra to actually get made and you can get something cut out of the card.

So on a normal die, we could actually get that whole center part cut out if we wanted to or we can get some unusual shape cut out of the card.

With rounded corners, sometimes you do need to get a die made up but often there will be a machine finish that will allow you to get that just done on its own at the printer.

The other thing I want to quickly talk about is the weight of the stock or how heavy the card is.

That comes down to GSM which is grams per square meter So the higher the GSM, the thicker the card usually is but don't be confused.

We are talking about the weight of the card and the weight does not necessarily define the thickness because different paper stocks will have slightly different variations to their weight so don't be confused by that.

But I will give you an example of a standard business card.

For a thinner card, it's about 300 GSM.

I tend to like to go for 400 GSM which gives us a — normally gives us a thicker finish.

Colors, when you're designing anything print, you're going to hear all sorts of chatter about different colors so you've got spot colors.

You got CMYK.

You've got PMS colors.

So what does all that mean? So CMYK is your basic full color job.

That's the sort of thing that you use to do a photograph or something like that.

It uses the basic four colors that go into a printing press which is cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Black in this case is the K in CMYK because it's the key color.

If you want to get your color very specific, you will have to create a spot color so that you can actually match it every time that you're going to get it created and you will find that there's a thing called PMS which is the Pantone Matching System which is a whole bunch of numbered colors that every printer is going to be able to access and you can quote those colors and then you will be able to have the best chance of matching what you've currently got against what you're going to get printed with that printer.

There are a couple of other options on finish.

There are special touches that we add to the card just to give it a little something extra.

One example of those is photo stamping.

It's where we actually put like a "metallic" bit of color over the top which is actually a foil and they can get stamped on to the card and then adds this shiny metallic effect.

Do you want to create a raised effect? You can either emboss the card which is creating another die and that will punch into the back of the card and push that on the other side.

Otherwise, we can use special inks that will raise up off the card or we can actually use different varnishes that will give that layered effect o the color as well.

Most business cards are made out of paper as you see here.

But they don't have to be.

I've got cards made out of plastic.

There are cards I've seen made out of wood.

I've seen cards made out of metal.

There's nothing really to restrict the material that you can use.

There's only a budget, how much these things are going to cost to actually make and then whether it actually does what it's supposed to achieve.

That gets us through to the core of what a business card is supposed to do.

The job of a business card is to communicate.

It should communicate who you are.

Is it easy to read your name? Is it easy to read your position? Does it communicate how people can get in contact with you? Are the phone numbers easy to read? Is the card easy to store? Will it fit into a wallet? Will it fit into a business card holder? I've heard some people say that they've intentionally made their card not be able to fit into a business card holder because it doesn't belong in a business card holder.

That's all very nice if they're getting plenty of work out of it but sometimes it's a good idea to make it easier for a customer to access the things that we actually create rather than make it more difficult for them.

One good trick to check out the readability of your card is to either fax or photocopy it or then set it in black and white and you will be able to check out the contrast.

If there's good contrast in the black and white version, that usually means that there's good readability in the card.

The other important thing about business cards is feel.

Does the card feel right for our brand? If we have a fun brand, do we have a fun card? If we have a very corporate and serious brand, is our card very serious and corporate? Now feel obviously comes into the way we feel about something but also touch and things like that.

So the feel of the card is quite important.

I can pretty much talk about business cards all day but hopefully this small bit of information has been of help and will help you make better decisions when you're actually designing your next card and I would like you to take at least two things away from the information that I've given today.

One being that you're not restricted by your basic business card formatting You can do anything you wanted when it comes to a business card.

Two, just to make sure that your business card communicates effectively.

So make sure that it delivers the message that you're trying to communicate to a potential customer.

As always, thanks for watching.

My name is Russell Pearson from The Crimson Fox Creative Studios and I will speak to you next time.