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Growing Up and Moving Out

Business Card Design 101

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As mentioned in my first blog post, Standing Out From the Crowd, Red Giant is a venture in which we aimed to be remembered. One of the primary image-related things we focused on in order to achieve that goal was great business card design.

A full 2 weeks were spent researching, brainstorming, designing and redesigning our business cards, in order to make sure they were perfect. We wanted to receive great reactions every time we handed out a business card. So far, so good!

If you're looking to have business cards designed that are above average and make people look twice, here are some things you could do:

Look for some Inspiration

Whenever we design anything, we usually do a quick search for awesome designs which might give us some ideas or inspiration.

Some of the things you find might be quite costly and impractical, but they are more often than not really interesting to look at.

One thing to bear in mind is that a business card still needs to perform a function.
It's primary purpose is to give people the information they need to contact you. This info should be easily identified and readable. A business card that doesn't perform this function effectively is a waste of money, regardless of how "clever" or unique the design is.

Remember White Space

Just because you have a whole card to work with doesn't mean you need to fill every single bit of the card. White space is an extremely important feature in any good design work, be it a business card, website or anything else.

The general rule of thumb is two thirds content, one third white space.
With our business cards, we really took this to heart and tried to create clean-, elegant-looking cards by using a lot of white space. We used space to effectively draw attention to what we wanted people to see (e.g. our slogan).

Try Adding a bit of Personality

As stated in Standing Out from the Crowd, it's important to make yourself remembered by your target market. The way we attempted to do this was by adding some personality to our branding efforts.

We created mini Red Giants which were representative of the personalities of each person in our team. Our team of Red Giants is carried through in all our branding efforts, both on the website and on our business cards.

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Each person's card has a quirky story on it relating to that person, adding some personality to the brand. We consider it extremely important to remind our target market that there are real people behind the brand which they can identify and communicate with.

There are many things you can do to personalise your cards. We find it works best if your branding efforts reflect YOUR personality because people tend to want to deal with people, not corporate facades.

Little Details

There are various things you can do to to give your cards a more elegant, classy look.

We made use of rounded corners (only 2) as well as UV Spot gloss (gloss that catches the light, which can be applied accurately to text/other intricate aspects of your card) on the important information.

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Most of these things can only be done by a good printer and can be quite costly. (One of the printers we enquired with wanted a minimum quantity of 5000 cards per design!)
If you are looking for a great printer, we use Media Works. These guys print up in JHB and take 10-14 days to complete the job, but they are extremely reasonable price-wise and they deliver to your door, countrywide. Oh, and they produce fantastic quality printing!

A couple other things you could consider are embossing and lamination. I would also suggest using a good quality board for your cards. 300gsm is the optimal thickness.

Ultimately, business cards are an extremely important business tool and are well worth investing a bit of money in. I would rather spend a bit extra to create cards that people are likely to keep and remember than cards that go straight into the trash.

What do you think?
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Updated 20-Apr-11 at 04:30 PM by Mark Atkinson

Branding , Small Business & Entrepreneurship


  1. IanF's Avatar
    Great post, I would add the cards should be the standard South African size which is 50mm x 90mm or smaller, as the business card holders are designed for that size and bigger cards get thrown away.
  2. Mark Atkinson's Avatar
    Thanks Ian! Good point, I was considering adding that point but some people like to create really unique cards which are different shapes and sizes. Although I discourage it, it can actually be quite effective if used correctly.
  3. Dave A's Avatar
    Wow! Never thought of rounding the corners before.
  4. Mark Atkinson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A
    Wow! Never thought of rounding the corners before.
    Glad I could open your eyes to the design world a bit, Dave.

    We have found that rounded corners have become increasingly more common recently. We just loved the cards with only 2 rounded corners, it just finished them off so nicely. It was actually inspired by the card of the guy we deal with at Media Works.

    P.S. As you can see I experimented a bit more with breaking up the text using images and quote tags. What do you think?
  5. Dave A's Avatar
    Looking good

    Did you think of floating the top image into the text using the IMGR tag or am I missing a trick? I haven't seen that HR line come up before...
  6. Mark Atkinson's Avatar
    I'm actually not at all sure why that line is there all of a sudden? It wasn't when I posted it. On one of my pending posts there's about 6 of them and I have no clue why!

    I inserted the image inline using the attachments function. Wasn't aware that there was another way? The images had to be uploaded from my PC and weren't taken from a URL.

    Edit: I see it's automatically generated those <hr /> tags and I have no clue why. Did you enable html? I've just removed the tags now and all seems to be in order. Strange though.
  7. Dave A's Avatar
    I reloaded a text replacement function today that I discovered had disappeared with the upgrade to the 4.x series. 5 x - =<hr />. Unfortunately it's not displaying correctly in forum posts - something to do with a css setting I expect.

    Wonder what it does here...

  8. Dave A's Avatar
    Eureka - it works!!

    OK - so to be clear. If you type in this (minus the spaces inbetween): - - - - -
    you'll get this line below:

  9. Mark Atkinson's Avatar
    Aha! Thanks for clearing that up Dave. I used white dashes in order to create an invisible line. (No line breaks) Just my luck that the "invisible" line ended up being a visible black line. :P