Design a Clean, Colorless Business Card in Illustrator

By Anum Khan

Illustrator is great for creating print designs. It has a ton of handy tools that can help you to achieve a crisp design outcome. It has everything you need to design flyers, brochures, business card, or any other printed media. Designing sharp, stylish printed media in black and white is a great way to save on printing costs without compromising your aesthetics.

Today, I’ll walk you through the process of designing a clean, colorless business card in Illustrator. We’ll design both the front and rear sides of the card, and I’ll guide you quickly through the business card basics along the way. So, let’s get started!


AbrahamLincoln font
Wood Texture By Bittbox

Final result: (Click here to download the completed Illustrator file.)

Colorless Business Card

Step 1

Create a new document in Illustrator. I am going to design an 89 by 51mm business card today, but sizes vary across different printing firms. You can enter the dimensions according to your printer. We are using a 3mm bleed size. Bleeds are the segments of your designs that will be cut after print. We will use CMYK color mode to get a sharp print. We’ll design both sides of the card, so keep the number of artboards 2.

Business Card Design

Step 2

Now, we’ll set the guides over the artboards. You can see red outlines around each artboard, which are the bleeds. Now press Ctrl + “R” to view the Rulers, drag the guides from the horizontal and vertical rulers, and position them around the black borders surrounding both artboards as shown below.

Business Card Design

Step 3

Next, we’ll move these guides 5mm inside from the borders to define the margins. Margins are used for safety purpose to make sure all the important content is some distance from the edges. To do so, select the left vertical guide and the two bottom horizontal guides by pressing the “Shift” key. Once the three guides are selected, press “Enter” to open the “Move” window. Use 5mm for the fields, choose a 45⁰ angle, and click “OK.”

Business Card Design

Now, select the remaining guides and open the “Move” window. Put -5mm in the horizontal field and 5mm in the vertical with a -135⁰ angle. Now, right-click and select “Lock Guides.”

Business Card Design

Step 4

Draw a black rectangle covering the first artboard completely within the red bleeds. Draw a white rectangle over the second artboard.

Business Card Design

Step 5

Next, we’ll make side borders for both the front and back of card. Draw two white rectangles along the left border of the first artboard, as shown below. The larger rectangle should be touching the safety margin and the thin rectangle with a slight gap.

Business Card Design

Select both of these rectangle layers, click on the options square (which is present at the top-right corner of the layers panel), and choose “Collect in New layer.” Now, duplicate this layer; click on the ring-shaped target in front of the duplicated layer. Finally, right-click the document and select “Transform” > “Reflect.” Flip it vertically 90⁰ to form the right border.

Business Card Design

Position these rectangles along the right border. Collect both rectangles into a new layer, duplicate, and drag it along the second artboard to from the borders for the backside. For the backside, change their color to black.

Business Card Design

Step 6

Now, we’ll focus on the front side of our card. Draw a white ellipse in the center.

Business Card Design

Step 7

Draw another ellipse inside the previous one, but this time set the fill color to none and choose a 0.5pt stroke of black, as shown below.

Business Card Design

Make two more similar strokes inside the previous one. Keep the stroke weight of the second ellipse at 1pt, and use a stroke weight of 0.5pt for the third.

Business Card Design

Step 8

Select the star tool and right-click on the document to open the star window. Use the following settings to build our star.

Business Card Design

Step 9

Next, we’ll add title text in the center. I am using the “Abraham Lincoln” font (15pt) here.

Business Card Design

Draw two lines with a 0.25pt weight using the line tool or the pen tool as a text divider, and type additional text below these new lines.

Business Card Design

Step 10

Draw a few more lines with a 0.25pt weight to fill the vacant space within the black star. These may vary depending on your text.

Business Card Design

Step 11

Draw additional stars as shown below.

Business Card Design

Step 12

Now, I’ll show you how to add text in a circle in illustrator. For the top arched text, draw a properly-sized ellipse using the ellipse tool. Now, select the “Type on a Path” tool, press Ctrl + Alt + “T” to open the paragraph window, select “Align center,” and click on the bottom center of the circle. This will automatically position the type cursor at the top center of the circle as you type.

Business Card Design

Step 13

To add text within the lower arch, select the previous text path, press Ctrl + “C” to copy it, and then press Ctrl + “F” to paste it in front. Now, go to “Type” > “Type on a path” >“Type on a path options.” Use the following settings here.

Business Card Design

Replace the duplicated text with new text. I am going to use same font and settings here that I used for the similar top-arched text. Choose the selection tool (“V”); you will notice a handle in the center of the text, click and drag it towards the bottom center of the circle using the selection tool. Make sure not to drag it inside the circle.

Colorless Business Card

Step 14

Draw a curved line using the pen tool with a 1pt stroke. Change its width profile to the one with pointed ends, as shown below.

Colorless Business Card

Make another curved line (0.5pt) next to the newly-drawn shape. Duplicate these two lines and flip them to make equivalent lines for the right side.

Colorless Business Card

Step 15

Coming back to the backside of the business card, we’ll add the title text.

Business Card Design

Step 16

Now we’ll make a ribbon. Select the pen tool to draw the shape shown below, set your fill color to black, and use a 0.75pt white stroke.

Business Card Design

Complete the ribbon by making its sides. Draw one side using the pen tool, duplicate it, and flip it horizontally to build the other side.

Business Card Design

Step 17

Add a subtitle inside the new ribbon. Also, you can draw lines at the sides of the text if your subtitle allows it.

Business Card Design

Step 18

Now, to add contact details, you can use bullets, icons, or whatever you like. We’ll use icons that are present within Illustrator.  Select “Window” > “Symbols” to open the symbols window. Now, click on the symbol libraries menu present at the bottom-left corner of the symbol window, and choose web icons from there. I’ve selected few of them and dragged them onto separate new layers. Resize them accordingly.

Business Card Design

Step 19

Now we’ll add contact details. I’ve used “Arial” font for this.

Business Card Design

Step 20

We are done with the designing of our clean, colorless business card. Now it’s time to save it for printing. Press Ctrl + “A” to select every design element and go to “Type” > “Create Outlines.” This is to avoid any font-related problems. Now, save this file as an adobe PDF with the following settings, and your file is ready to be sent for printing.

Business Card Design

Colorless Business Card

That’s it guys. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and learned something useful. Do share your thoughts!

  • http://www.uvcards.com/ Steve W.

    This is a great step-by-step. Usually people skip small steps, but you did a great job!

  • Ye Manuelo

    Hi Anum,

    Great tutorial. I went through the steps and made a slight variation to my output. I will post a link to the finished file later on.

  • http://nguongame.com/ jon

    Thank you

  • http://www.dadesigner.net ali

    amazing tutorial but can you enlighten me with a different color cobination for the cards,,,i cant think of any.


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