How To Design Business Cards: 4 Common Mistakes To Avoid

Marketing Materials

Business cards are an essential networking tool for any entrepreneur or small business owner, but many people are on a tight budget when they're first getting their feet off the ground. When capital must be limited to essential spending, not everyone can afford to hire a freelance graphic designer, so many business owners decide that designing their own card using graphic design software or a free online design tool is the best option. It can be tricky to design business cards, especially if you're not confident in your own graphic design skills. Still, it's important that your business cards make the right impression, so read on about four common business card printing mistakes and how to avoid them.

1) Using Too Many Fonts

Whether you stick with the default fonts included on your word processing program or use a free font that you've downloaded, type design is a great way to add personality to your business card. But don't make the mistake of using six different typefaces across three lines of text in your design. For example, don't mix bolded fonts, italicized fonts, calligraphy fonts and a highly stylized font all together - it will look like design "pollution" and distract from the real purpose of your card, which is to share your contact information. If you insist on using one or more font styles, stick to just one serif font (such as Times New Roman or Garamond) and one sans-serif font (like Arial or Helvetica). It will look much cleaner and professional while still looking well-designed.

2) Filling The White Space

Don't be tempted to fill every nook and cranny with text or images. White space is important when it comes to breaking up sections of your business card and creating a clean and well-organized design. Remember, you're simply sharing your contact information, not writing an entire manifesto. As you're designing a business card on a computer screen, it's easy to forget that the enlarged image will be printed on a 2 x3.5-inch card, the standard business card dimensions. Often, just printing your name, title, company, address, cell phone number and website will suffice. Avoid taking up any empty space just for the sake of adding unnecessary information and keep just the essentials. If you think it's important to add more, consider printing on the back of the business card.

3) Using Low-Resolution Images or A Busy Background Photo

Simplicity is key, so avoid using a busy background photo that could be distracting from your text. You don't want the words to be lost, especially if the image has a range of dark and light colors that might make it difficult to adjust your font colors to be more visible. If you're planning on using an image for your business card, it's recommended your digital image is at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) so that it won't appear pixelated or blurry in the event you need to enlarge it. If you feel a background image is absolutely crucial for your business card design, make sure it does just that: stay in the background. Try adjusting the brightness and contrast so it isn't too prominent and won't distract from your contact information.

4) Using Inexpensive Do-It-Yourself Printing Kits

If you want to make a big impression, you may not want to print your own business cards with do-it-yourself kits. They might seem affordable in the short term, but if you consider the price and the number of cards you're getting in a pack, chances are it's not comparable to professionally-printed cards that can be purchased in bulk. In addition, many store-bought printable business cards will result in cards with perforated edges. When was the last time you were impressed by a business card made at home? It's worth shelling out a few more bucks in exchange for 100 more business cards that are printed professionally.

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