12. Business card print design guides

12 Business card print design guides

These Business card print design guide helps to identify the print and design issues.

1. Explains why shouldn’t use Photoshop’s default black color in printing.

use of black color on business card

We recommend the use of C=60, Y=40, M=40, K=100 on the black colors. With any other combination of process, colors may not get the true black color you are expecting every time.

Don’t use the Photoshop default black color to print the dark solid black. It will print flat or muddy black.

On the black text, use C=0,Y=0, M=0, K=100.

2. How do you initially set up the business card from Photoshop?

The most important business card print design guide is the initial setup of business cards. If you are in Photoshop, be sure to start out by setting your document by 3.625″ x 2.125 or 3.75″x2.25 size. You need to find out the exact size from your print shop of choices. Then set your file resolution to 300 dpi.


Note. You need to set the file resolution at the beginning of the file creation, not afterward. If you change the resolution afterward likely it will remain to look blurry when you print the business card.


3. Our business card print design guide explains the importance of using the backside of cards.

use of backside on business cards

Be sure to use the backside of business cards to further promote your business.

On the 3.5×2 business cards, you have 7 sq.in. on the front and 7 more sq.in space on the backside of the card, a total of 14 sq.in. marketing ad space. That’s similar to a quarter-page ad in a magazine that costs about $300.

On the backside of business cards, you can add marketing messages, product example pictures, promotional coupons, discounts, pictures, location maps, QR code, sequential numbering, or any message that can convey your potential customers to come and visit your store followed by your website promotions.

Make sure your message is concise and effective. If you are not sure how to go about marketing with your business card you can consult with us or another graphic designer who understands marketing with cards.

4. How to make the correct blue color

Avoid -reflex-blue-color


One of the business card print design guide is to make sure your blue color on the business card prints matches closely to your expectation.


The computer’s default blue color never seems to print the correct color value. Either prints blue-purplish reflex blue or the blue color looks muddy.


To avoid all the mishaps in printing, change your color mode settings to CMYK, and then set your color values to 70/30/0/0 on your CYMK setting. This blue is a medium blue. Adjust the K value to darken the blue tone as desired.  This setting should take out any purple tint in the blue.



5. Why business card templates are not for every business


Most online template background images are too busy and unprofessional in fact really difficult to use on any serious business operation. First, you will find most of the online designing tools can not import images properly without having a white edge around the logo image.


Second, online printing places may offer thousands of pretty picture templates but gives little or no space to add pertinent information to the card.



6. Why is the CMYK better than spot color printing

business card print and design

In our view, full-color printing beats the spot color printing hands down. The full-color printing method delivers much quicker results compare to traditional Spot-color printing. For the cost of one set of Spot-color printing, you could have ordered 2-3 sets of cards in most of the print places online today. More, the business card file setup on the full-color printing is much simpler to deal with than the spot color printing. Unless you know a graphic designer with knowledge in the spot printing process, you need to get help from the print shop.


7. How to tell the image resolution quality by just looking on the computer monitor?

With our business card, print design guide you can predetermine how the business card will look before sends off to the print shop.


You can pre-determine the resolution quality by simply increase your monitor to 3-400% mangification and then analyze your image. That’s how likely to print when you print out. If the image looks clean and sharp then you are good to print. If looks blurry then you need to replace the image or enhance the image quality if all possible. 

Analyze the text quality first. In most cases, they should look sharp at a 3-400% view. Don’t compromise on the text quality at any time.


Analyze the images next. If your image breaks up badly then you need to replace the image for sure. If not sure you need to print out the image to determine the resolution quality.



8. How to cut the business cards


No matter how much you try with a cutter of some sort it will not look professional. We recommend not to cut the business cards yourself.  The only real way to cut the business card is with a business slitter which requires a proper page setup. If you insist on cutting yourself, please follow our business card cutting guide

9. Why shouldn’t create the business cards online


Creating your own business cards online can be a frustrating experience for many people. Many of the low price template-based printing places online ignore business card print design guides set by respectful print shops.


There are plenty of business cards online sites where you can create your own business cards online (DIY) for a fraction of the cost. Every one of them claims they can get you the cards for under $10. Then the question comes next, is this business card good enough for my business? Is this card thick enough? Can I can place my own logo? Can I add my own graphic? What about my own photo image? Do I have time to mess with another business card designing interface that can’t seem to understand? How do I place my logo that I got it from my web designer?


The answer is “Yes” you can do all of those things, but it’s “Not, that simple.” Here is why?


  • Background template. The most online custom business card design tool is dictated by a fancy background that leaves you with very little room to write on the card. They sold you with a background template that you somehow need to work around the design issues.
  • Logo. Just ask yourself, what is more, important to you, a logo of your business on the card, or the fancy background that dominates half the card. Do you want a very small logo on the card or a logo that properly represents your business brand you are trying to achieve? In many cases, just type in your business name on the card and call it a day. Is that how you want to present your business?
  • Add other Graphics or photo image. How can you place the photo image over the background image without having a white background of the photo image? In most cases, you can’t place another image over the background. You will need a graphic professional’s help who understands how these business cards online designing tool works.
  • Card Thickness. If you want to get it right you should pay extra for the thicker paper along with the professional graphic designing fee. Basically, many free business cards online sites offer 10pt 12pt papers. That’s far below today’s industry standard of 14pt or 16pt papers. You are getting a low-grade paper printed from a digital printer which is considered as a low-quality printing by many print professionals.



10. How to avoid Avery template paper to business cards.

Unless you are out of an option, don’t use Avery’s business card template papers to print your business card unless this is your last option. In today’s standard, these look very unprofessional no matter how you do it. Instead of handing out a bad card, just tell the truth by saying to your potential customer, you don’t have a business card to hand out today then ask them an email later time. This way your potential customer can’t judge you by the cover.

Here is why you should not use Avery’s business card template paper to print.

  1.  In today’s standard business card paper thickness starts at 110 lb paper or thicker. Avery’s paper uses only 80lb card stock paper.
  2. You should not print the cards with more than 20-30% coverage area. It will soak the paper with ink.
  3. You can’t print cards with the bleed.
  4. Most laser printers at the office are simply not good enough quality.
  5. You have to deal with the perforated edges afterward on the card.
  6. Your ink and the printer maintenance during the printing can cost you time and money.
  7. A box of Avery business card costs around $20

Professionally printed cards have much better chance of getting recognized and respected than the printed card at home office.

11. Who has the best business card templates online?

Comes to template or Premade business card designs, Canva and Zazzle have the best template card designs online. Each of the card templates is designed by quality graphic designers who have a very good understanding of their market. The Canva.com and Zazzle.com also have some of the best online card layout tools available by providing intuitive design tools for all computer user levels. Although prices are a little higher than Vista.com we believe you will be happier with Canva and Zazzle’s template cards any given day.

As we have noted in the previous post, most templates online can not add your logo file to the layout all that well. Unless you are using the white background template, it’s almost impossible to add your logo and making them seamless on the template card layout using the online layout tools.

12. Why use our business card print design guide?

  1. Avoids reprints
  2. Saves you the money and time
  3. Looks more professional
  4. Avoids guesswork

For more information please visit our Production Checkoff List

How to cut the business cards with a simple cutter.

Cutting the business cards without the bleed

Comes to cutting the business cards without using the slitter can be a huge challenge for anyone. By following our cutting steps you can achieve far better results than just going for it. If you don’t follow these little steps may result in reprints, waste of ink, and paper. Be sure to practice these cutting steps before moving forward with your actual prints.

There are two types of business card layout on the 8.5″x11″ paper, the one without the bleed and the one with the bleed. Although both card layout types are similar, they are slightly different in order in which the cutting steps take place.

  • Cutting the business cards without the bleed: 10 business cards to a sheet. This business card layout can not have background images or colors that extend off the edge of the card.
  • Cutting the business cards with the bleed: 8 business cards to a sheet. This business card layout can have background images or colors that extend off the edge of the card. Note: Due to difficulty in cutting we don’t recommend 10 business cards to a sheet layout.

Paper Recommendation: We recommend 12 pt matte paper over because they are easily available just about anywhere. Thicker papers are not available in your retail stores.

Types of cutter to use:

Using the scissors not recommended

Production Checkoff list

Production Checkoff list

Our proof of the checkoff list helps to identify print production issues.

Designing the business cards are not difficult but you need to know couple of things to assure your cards will print properly first time.

  1.    Make sure your logo is clean and sharp to use on the card.
  2.    Set the business card document size to 3.625×2.125
  3.    Set the color mode to CMYK
  4.    The file resolution is set to 200-300 dpi
  5.    Make sure to extend out the background color to the edge of the card.
  6.    Make sure to extend out the background image to the edge of the card.
  7.    Make sure all the text is 1/4″ away from the edge of the card.
  8.    Make sure all pertinent texts are larger than 7 pt.
  9.    Make sure lighter color texts are larger than 8-9 pt.
  10.    Make sure black colors are really black in color. Use 60/40/40/100
  11.    Make sure blue colors are really blue in color.
  12.    Make sure all the card elements are in align with one another.
  13.    Save the file as .pdf or .jpg, not .png.
  14.    Make sure all the text and images are not blurry at 300-400% screen view (CMD + or Control +)

Design business cards online

Design business cards online

It’s free with Canva.com

In using the Canva design tool, you get easy intuitive business card design layout tools that you can download the print-ready file for free. We highly recommend Canva.com design to design the business cards online.

When you submit the files using Canva, we offer $10 off the printing.

Click to experience the Canva online design

We support the use of Canva.com for your business card layouts. Canva is the best online templates that look very professional and easy to use for most customers. With Canva’s paid version, you get access to the exclusive templates and more enhanced design tools to create the business cards.

Go to Canva Business Card Maker

Be sure to click on the “Crop marks and bleed” checkbox before downloading the file from the Canva.

If you are using your own business card’s background, extend the background image over the edge of the card by 1/16″ on all sides over the 3.5×2 print image area. The Canva adds on 1/8″ bleed to the art file, and then your business card size becomes 3.625″x2.125″ with bleed included.

Design the business cards yourself online with Canva.com has
the following advantages and disadvantages.

Pros: Canva.com offers quality templates normally only the graphic designers have the means to produce.

Pros: You can create business cards in minutes for free.

Cons: Using the Canva.com create the card, you can only print a one-dimensional business card. Meaning, it’s difficult to apply such as Spot UV, Foil, Rounded corners, Numbering, and more specialized finishes to the card.

Cons: Using the Canva.com, it’s difficult to match or control to the exact colors on the card. Since all the colors are in the RGB color palette, some of the colors may not print exactly as you saw on the monitor screen, especially on the blue, teal, and lime green colors.

Cons:  In general, business card templates are intended for DIY customers who want to save money but it’s difficult to add on your graphic elements and fine-tune the layout looking exactly as you envisioned for your business.

Printing Cost: Our business cards printing cost is less than Canva and offers faster delivery time.

Print Quality: We offer similar printing quality as the Canva.com and much more options.

Where do we come in the play? With the Canva’s paid account, we can assist your business card design better and then print the business card layout design the right way.

We can apply the following business card finishes in addition to using Canva’s artwork on most business cards.

  • Add SpotUV
  • Rounded Corner
  • Add Numbered cards
  • Add foils
  • Change to different paper types