There are 27.4 million business cards printed every day in the United States, but unfortunately, about 88% of those will be thrown out within a week. You must come up with ways to make sure the lead hangs onto your card instead of pitching it the minute you’re out of sight.

As a designer, your business card is your opportunity to show potential clients exactly what you have to offer from a design standpoint. There are some key things you can focus on that will help your card stand out as unique and something the client wants to keep. If you’re designing a card for the customer, these same principles apply.

1. Functionality

Add a bit of function to your business card, so the lead wants to keep it. One way to do this is to add something of value to the back of the card. This can be a calendar, coupons to local businesses or a tip calculator.

Anything the client might use frequently can be an excellent addition to that blank space on the back of your business card. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can even create a card that can be separated and partly planted for the seeds within the paper.

2. Good Design Still Matters

Even though you are building on a small-scale, and most of those you hand your card to might throw it out anyway, you still need to practice good design principles. Pay attention to the resolution of the graphics, as anything below a 300 dpi will likely translate fuzzy in print. You’ll also want to balance negative and positive space and ensure the colors used have a nice contrast, so the text is easy to read.

Be sure to check the proof carefully. Even though you may have looked at the design 200 times, you can see elements the way you expect them to appear. Missing typos on your own work is easy to do. It’s best to get a second set of eyes to look over it and help you check for errors. Check text, images and stand back to look at how everything lines up visually.

business card design

Design by ueno

3. Pay More for Details

Adding some finer details to your card will up the overall costs of the card, but can translate into something special the user wants to keep. For example, Yoga One has a business card that two holes cut into it so the client can put their fingers through. This looks like legs stretching over a young woman in a yoga pose. It is humorous, eye-catching and unique.

Other things you could pay extra for that would grab interest might include tiny buttons on a card for a seamstress, gold embossing to set off text and add an elegant look or embossed letters. You can also print cards on unique materials, such as wood or metal. If you’re going to do this, because of the added cost, it might be a good idea to use these cards for serious leads you think are interested and have less expensive cards to hand out to cold leads.

4. Font Size

You’re working on a smaller medium, so you need to make sure the font doesn’t overwhelm the card, but that it’s still easy to read. Typically, the font for the general info on your card should be about 10 or 11 points, while the finer details like contact info can go down to 7 or 8 points. If you need to, hire a professional editor to reduce the number of words and help you figure out how to keep the vital information and cut what isn’t necessary for your card.

5. Use Color

The average lead will hold a color card about 10 times longer than one that’s a basic white. Invest what you can into color for your card. With full-color processes being cheaper these days, you should be able to afford splashes of color on your business card. It’s also important to study the psychology of color and know which colors are more attractive to your target audience. You can also use contrast to draw the eye, such as red on a white background.

business card design tips for designers

Design by Tubik

6. What to Include

When it comes to what to put on a business card, don’t try to cram too much info on there. The name of your business, contact info and perhaps a short tagline is all you need. There simply isn’t room to put your entire list of services or products on the card. You should include a website or a QR code that takes the user to a website. This will allow you to provide them with the additional info you’d like to cram on that tiny card.


Even though you may have designed business cards in the past, taking a quick look at what makes a card successful and what doesn’t can help you take your designs to the next level.