Business Cards

Hey everyone. I saw an add for Vista Print’s free business cards offer. I clicked it and saw multiple designs (as you will if you click that link).

I was shocked at the complexity of the different ones. Even the default design has way too much going on for me to like it. :frowning:

I was wondering what you guys think about business cards. What makes a nice design? What is important (Contact info? Name? "Cool"ness?)? Personally, I only liked the simple one w/ just text and a small, decorative line at the top.


I’ve found that most stock cards are really aimed at local businesses who don’t have anything done in terms of identity and often times go overboard with something that looks thematic. The exception I’m aware of is MooCards who just has a great sense of style.

My suggestion is always to focus on simplicity. What are your primary colors, how does your logo flow? Merge those together with a solid or couple color solution.

For our startup we decided to minimize info and have website / twitter, phone,- email, a name and title side (the logo takes up considerable space). Vista Print did our original cards just fine. Our second design was more elaborate and the printing didn’t match so we’re looking elsewhere but I’ve had them do other, more advanced printing, with great results too.

If you need help creating something that stands out try the contests @ 99designs – there’s some great print artists there and you can’t beat the price.

Yeah. Like I said, I’m really into the simplistic, one or two colors, simple business card.

Is it a good idea to try to minimize the amount of text, either by physical characters or by a certain typeface?


I can relate to Ted S; take a look @ my designs, I got this developed too and it looks pretty amazing. It actually one of the most demanding cards, it’s die-cut custom cut UV printed business card. I got them printed for around 400 GBP with the stationary, complimenent slips, A4, and envelops (plain). If you need help let me know.

In terms of Vista Print, I can’t really recommend these people, Unfortunately there was a case that they kept taking money out of people’s accounts for no good reason. There was a checkbox somewhere that ended up taking 9 or so pounds every single month. Maybe it’s different for the US company, but the UK one had bad publicity because of this. Moo Business cards is probably your best choice for a start-up. Depending on your local costing for printing custom work.

Edit: I would look at 99d for inspiration on business cards, there seams to be some very good work there.

I took advantage of the Vista offer a couple of years ago - but not for my business. I ordered cards to advertise one of my “hobby” websites, and was more than happy with the result. The main caveat is that there is a discreet advert for Vista’s services on the back of the card (which would make them totally unsuitable for normal business use).

In fact, I rarely have a need to give business cards these days. Nor do I receive them very often. I guess that’s the way the world is going.


Oh. I knew there was something fishy - too good to be true. :frowning:


Just a as general business card advice - I would keep things pretty minimal and a card should represent your business and nothing more. You should of course have a logo and contact info - but anything else such as colours, textures, images etc should only be added if it adds something to the identity of your business. Adding something to business card because it is ‘cool’ isn’t going to do you any good - it seems to be what Vista are trying to achieve but ultimately it is not tailored to your business and as a result does not identify with it.

I’m not sure if this is in your price range, but a good business card graphically well thought out, a great business card also considers the physical object of the card itself. How does it feel? How does light reflect off the ink? Is textured or have letter pressing? And how does all of this identify with your business?

Here are some examples I’m fond of:

I like to keep a collection of business cards I like and learn from them. Maybe it would be helpful for you to do the same.
If you’re looking for something cheap I’m sure you could design it yourself and produce something much nicer than what Vista could offer - you would only have to pay for printing.

Definitely a minimalist approach to a business card is best. Name and contact details need to be clearly visible and the card should have a corporate identity, it should use your colour scheme and include your logo etc.

The issue is you can’t identify your business through boilerplate solutions. Unless you customize it’s color scheme, but even so, having the same pattern as somebody else would only reduce the value of your card. I’ve seen 3 people up to now with exactly the same cards from VistaPrint, cheap as it maybe, I really don’t feel it it’s the best approach. I have not regretted spending a little more money on my cards.

Printing is all automated, and they price things based on the runs and ink they have to use up. If they can automated huge batch cycles then they can reduce the price of things. In the end I was better off going to (very big printing co. in the UK) who did everything for me for a little cheaper because they deal with such huge printing capacities.

I was very happy with the approach I took. Business cards should be done well, and to a high standard in my opinion, cheap solutions are good to start up, but in the end the last thing you wanna do is change your business presence.

I hope this helps.

Yeah. Definitely does - I like the design of your business card, but to me, that’s still too much.

Personally, I prefer a very minimalist card - I think it looks more professional. Like Sega - yours is very playful and attractive, but is that still professional (no offense)?


Personally, I prefer a very minimalist card - I think it looks more professional. Like Sega - yours is very playful and attractive, but is that still professional (no offense)?

Yes! It’s professional. No offence taken. There is nothing wrong with being playful, after all web design should be playful. There is nothing wrong with having a simplistic design either. It all depends on your companies image.

What does matter is having a design shaped to your business, and not to boiler-plated stock. This is the point I want to make. I really love my design, it’s always a pleasure giving my cards out and it’s certainly something you’d have to do when you start out.

The only issue with business cards is that people take them then they save them until the remember they have to call you. Often you might give a business card out years ago. This is why the details on those cards are crucial as well as the design.

On another topic, serious more professional approaches to your business are cool, but in web design I feel it’s better to be playful with your image as it separates you from the herd. I don’t have any regrets on my decisions and I hope that you find my advice useful.

Oh, I definitely find it useful and helpful. Have no fear of that :slight_smile:

I don’t really have a logo or any branding - just my name. Since I’m a freelancer, it’d be kind of weird if I created a logo and branding like your company does.


You name can be a brand. I had a logo when I was freelancing - it just was my name written in a font that I tweaked & modified. But something a simple as using a certain typeface could do as a logo.

I would search around for minimalist business card designs. I think I saw a post with some great designs on smashing or a similar site a few months ago. If I remember correctly, you can upload your own artwork for most of the cards on vistaprint. If possible design the card externally in an appropriate graphics editor like illustrator and save it as a PDF or vector based file.

Yeah. That’s what I would do. Obviously, I would create my own design - you want to stand out from the crowd, right?


I don’t really have a logo or any branding - just my name. Since I’m a freelancer, it’d be kind of weird if I created a logo and branding like your company does.

No it’s not, it’s really fun to go down a route of branding yourself. In the end you will learn tons and you’d know what to do in the future. All the top freelancers do, so why not give it a whirl! It’s not hard. Just give it a go and create your own site which has all your information.

I think the design should be based on the industry you’re working with. However, in my personal point of view, I think you shouldn’t value the design too much. It’s the services you can offer not the business card that will matter anyway.

A business card is your first impression, it’s still important. What you do after that first impression is a totally different story.

I’ll have a personal site - but isn’t having a site different than creating a logo and truly dedicating myself to trying to “brand” myself? I get that, just by creating a website, I’m inadvertently “branding”, but I still think that there’s a distinction.



Would you enjoy creating a logo for yourself? If the answer is yes then go for it! If not, then you can miss that out, however, your website would look better with some kind of logo, even if it’s just some funky typeface. :slight_smile: which is still classed as a logo. I’ve seen big company with their company name in Arial or Times with a box around it (believe it or not), who call that their professional logo. :stuck_out_tongue:

There is a distinction, you’re right. A professional company logo is created to symbolize something, normally company goals and missions, with hidden messages and meanings throughout, only known internally to the company. You have just have your logo as some text with your name on it in two colors.