In a lot of cases your business cards are your first impression and first impressions count! That's why it's important to know how you can professionally set up a design ready to send for print.  

In this video tutorial Martin will walk though two ways to use Adobe Illustrator to create Business Card templates where you are able to work confident in the knowledge none of your design will be trimmed off. Setting up a document wrong can also result in it coming back from the printers looking very different to how you imagined.

Watch the tutorial to learn two reliable print set-ups in Adobe Illustrator.

1. The first teaches you to set up a Crop Mark effect and use a Clipping Mask so you are able to define the edges of your business cards and see how the final design will turn out.

2. The second shows you how you can use the Art-Board Tool to define the size you want to use for your business cards. Then how to ensure you export your artwork with Crop Marks using the Marks & Bleeds settings

Both of these methods are technically correct. As with most things in the Adobe applications there are a few ways to get to the same result, you just need to find the one you prefer working with. We recommend trying both out, perhaps do some test prints and just get a feel for which method you naturally gravitate towards. 

Business Card Design 

So you have the technical skills covered, in the rest of this post I will talk a little more about the design process, what information to include and show you some examples of great designs.

What Information is Important

If your business card is looking sleek and makes a great first impression but does not make it super easy for potential employers or clients to contact you then really it's still not useful.

It's essential that your contact information is
clearly displayed, easy to read & up-to-date.

It's up to you what you decide to prioritise however I would absolutely always include the information below.

I have listed them in order of importance which always consider, what information should someone see first off all the way to the last thing they should read: 

  • Name 
  • Job title/role 
  • Email address 
  • At least one phone number  
  • Website (either yours or your companies)

You can also add other information if you feel it is necessary like where to reach you on social media.

However only include these if they are professional accounts and it doesn't feel like over-kill.

Design Tips

Here's 5 top tips to keep in mind whilst designing business cards: 

  • Don't over complicate it. You don't need to use loads of visual assets. Leave empty space so that the information you do include is easy to see, stands out and cannot get overlooked.
  • Include a logo. This is essential for any business or established designer. But even if you're just starting out having a simple but professional looking logo really helps bring the design together. Your logo should also help to tie together your work and be featured on your website and any other marketing material.
  • Don't go crazy with colour. Even if you love colour and your brand uses loads of colours, you don't need to use them all. Select a few which compliment each other, your logo and the typeface you are using.Using loads of bright colour not only makes a design feel very cramped but will also probably cost more to print. Plus there is a higher risk of a colour not printing properly.
  • Choose a font that's easy to read. Don't go for anything ornate and typically avoid scripts. They are both tricky to read and better used for titles. A San-Serif is probably your safest bet but there are loads of great Serifs that are easy to read out there.
  • You can still be playful. All of the sensible stuff been said it's still good to add your stamp or style on-to your business card as I said it's your first impression and you want to make it memorable or stand out against a whole stack of others.


Thanks for reading we hope you found this useful & inspiring. 

Let us know what you think or of any topic you would like to see covered in a blog post in the comments below! 


Adobe Certified Online Courses

About the author 

Emily Melling

Emily Melling studied a degree in Visual Communication, after graduating she became a freelance graphic designer, specialising in Branding & Identity. She enjoys developing working relationships with clients and other creatives who are open to exploring new and innovative ideas.

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