Create a Print Ready Business Card in Adobe Illustrator from Start to Finish

Create a Print Ready Business Card in Adobe Illustrator from Start to Finish

Hi thanks again for watching
Today is a little bit longer tutorial today for those of you who are interested in learning
how to design and save your file for a printer a business card. And I’m going to be working
a little bit in Photoshop but mostly in Illustrator to show you how to prepare your card. You
have a business, you need a business card – maybe you don’t have a logo yet – but you
can still make a really nice looking business card with just a photo and a little bit of
type manipulation. So the few things that I want you to keep in mind are are here on
the screen. Use a high resolution image that’s 300 dpi or more for your printed card. And
make sure it’s CMYK. Outline your fonts, make sure to add bleed if it’s a full bleed image,
and don’t use more than 1-2 fonts, that’s more of a design tip than printing. But these
are the things that printers will look for and if you don’t have the files prepared correctly
they’re going to ask you to redo them, resend them, or they’re going to fix them the way
they think they should be done. So here we go, from start to finish we’re going to design
a business card and get it ready for print. OK, first thing, in Adobe Illustrator go to
File>New. And you have the option here for number of artboards. We can have as many as
we want, we only need 2 because we want the front and the back of the business card. Your
files size is going to be 3.625 x 2.215″ because business card size is 3.5 x 2 but when they
have bleed they need to be a little bit bigger so that the edge as you can see here gets
cut off. And the artwork needs to go all the way to the edge so that when they’re cutting
if it doesn’t go all the way to the edge you might have a white line at the edge which
looks really, really bad. So we want to make sure our files size is a little bit bigger
than the actual printed size. Say OK and now we have two artboards. The front of the business
card and the back. IF you go to Window>Artboards you can see them here, Artboard 1 and Artboard
2. So keep this palate open while you’re working. Now for the front of the business card we’re
going to use a photograph, that cupcake photo that I showed you in the earlier screen. Let’s
open up that image. I downloaded that image, the cupcake image, from, it’s
a great place for free stock photos. So let’s go ahead and open that image that I got. It
was a jpeg. And here it is it’s a cute little image. If you go to Image>Size you can see
it’s 34 inches wide by 45 high but it’s only 72 dpi. For printing, the resolution of your
Photoshop images needs to be 300 dpi, there’s no ifs ands or buts about it you need to have
a high resolution image for that. So, making sure none of these options here are checked,
go ahead and highlight that 72 and change it to 300. And you can see the width and the
height changed, it went down to about 8 x 10 now instead of that huge image. It’s going
to make it smaller, but that’s still much much bigger than we need for a business card.
So say OK. Now go to Image>Mode and change it from RGB to CMYK, that’s what it needs
to be for printing, Say OK, and now we’re going to Save it, Save As, and I’m going to
call this cupcakes and save it as a TIF file, this is the best to use for printing. I mean
if you saved it as a Photoshop or as a jpeg it’s really not the end of the world but you
really need to save it as a TIFF for printing. So now it’s cupcakes.tif and save it. OK,
so we’re done with that one going back to Illustrator: Let’s place our image that we
want to use first off so you’re on the first artboard which is Artboard #1 the front of
the card. Let’s move it over. Go to File>Place. Now search wherever it is on your desktop
in a folder where you just saved that photo. It’s cupcakes.tif – Place. And see, it’s much
much bigger than we need and it’s a high resolution image so it’s great. So let’s, Holding down
Shift, click on the corner and drag that down, until it’s about the size of our business
card. Now the next thing we need to talk about is BLEED. This document is sized a little
bit bigger than a business card, remember? It’s 3.625 x 2.125. What you should do as
you’re working is click on your Rectangle Tool here, click anywhere on the artboard
and make a 3.5 x 2″ size rectangle. Click OK. Now using your Selection Tool, move that
right into the center of your business card. Go down here to your Swatches palate, click
on the white part here and click on this red slash that’s going to get rid of the white
part of that rectangle, and just leave you that stroke, the black outline. I want that
there because I want you to see how big you have to make your image so that it bleeds
outside of the business card because it’s going to be cut there, and if we don’t have
our image extending all the way, when it cuts it could leave a white line at the edge, you
don’t want to do that. So you need to make sure that you see the area that you’re working
with, that you can’t go outside this area with your type or your picture and that’s
really going to help you later. So put that in the center, now Copy that:Edit>Copy and
Edit>Paste And the new one, just grab it and move it over to your second artboard so
we have that there as well when we work on the back. So this is the bleed area outside
of this black rectangle. Okay, so we have our image, we have our rectangles here. Now
we need to design the rest of our business card. So let’s just say the name of this company
is One Minute Bakery. Just use your Type tool and type it. Get your selection tool, grab
it, bring it down. And let’s pick a nice font for that, so go to Window>Type>Character.
If you use this window, when you click on the name of the font you’ll get a preview
of all the fonts in the actual style that the font is in. If you go up to here, the
character palate on your toolbar, it does not show you a preview, so that’s kind of
boring. You don’t get to see what it’s going to look like. So if you click on your word,
go over to your Character palate, and then you can play with it and see what they look
like before it changes. It helps you decide what font to use. So I’m going to go ahead
and use Pacifico. And now, Holding down Shift, hover over it til you get those arrows and
pull it out til it gets to be the size you want. I think that looks good: One Minute
Bakery. Now let’s have a tagline for our business. How about, just using the type tool, click
anywhere, here is fine, let’s call it – just start typing, it doesn’t matter – “Cupcakes
on the Go.” Now I assume you have all of your words written, I’m just sort of making this
up as we go along. Now for the tagline we don’t need it to be in the same fonts as the
logotype, so lets select that and go over again here to our Character palate. If it’s
gone, make sure you go to Window>Type>Character. But it is here, and let’s change that to a
little bit easier to read font for smaller type. How about I like Arial, where is Arial,
where are you where are you…Arial Narrow and Italic. That’s going to be our tagline.
We’re going to put that under neath. I think it’s a little bit big, let’s make it smaller.
Up here in the tool bar you can just go ahead and click the arrow down until it gets to
be a good size for a tagline. Then just grab it and move it over there, it looks pretty
good. Now, go over back to your Type Tool and click and drag, make a nice box here.
Now you;’re just going to start typing all your information, you probably have this all
ready, I’m just going to make this up. Joan Smith is the Owner, and the phone number is
area code 1231234567. Her email address is [email protected] and the website is and the address is 1234 Main St. if you hit Option and the number
8 you get a bullet point, space, Yourtown Yourtown USA 12345. So now we have all of
the information that we need in our business card. So you still have this selected and
now it’s time for a little bit of styling. I think this is a little bit big for the textbox,
we’re going to go ahead and make that smaller so just hover over there, select that bottom
address and lets make that maybe 8 points and that should fit very nicely, maybe even
8.5. We don’t want to make it too small. Never go below 7 points, that’s too small. Now,
I think it all fits but let’s start at the top. So, One Minute Bakery. It looks okay
in black but maybe we want it pink to match the color in this photo. So, over here on
yout Toolbar go find your Eyedropper tool, it looks like the little eyedropper and anywhere
you select in here it’s going to sample that color. Here’s the brown of the chocolate,
the white of the coconut, and the pink of the tablecloth underneath it. I think that
looks good for the logotype. So there we go we have One Minute Bakery, it almost looks
like a logo. And when you center it, keep in mind you’re not centering it to this edge
because this edge is going to be cut off. You want to center it in this rectangle here
to the edge of your photo. So give it a good amount of space between and it looks good.
How about the tag line?Cupcakes on the Go. I think it maybe should be grey, so double-click
on your fill palate with it highlighted. Pick a nice grey color and that looks good. Maybe
make it a little bit bigger. With that selected, Hold down Shift and drag this out and that
looks a little bit bigger it stands out a little bit. It’s different from the main type
and it looks like a tagline. How about, though, if we make that all caps. Let’s go to Type
>Change Case>Upper Case. I like it better in all caps but maybe not so big so Holding
down Shift, move that again and there we go, there’s our tagline. Now let’s style the rest
of it. It’s a little too close to the top, let’s move it down a little bit. Let’s highlight
Joan Smith and let’s make it the same as the tagline. So using your eyedropper tool again
with that highlighted just select that and it’s going to go ahead and change it to the
same font size and color as the one you just selected. I like that but maybe we should
make it bold. So it’s Arial Narrow Italic, we’re going to make it Bold Italic. And maybe
2 points bigger up here. There we go. And for Owner that’s find underneath. Phone number
let’s give it a little bit of space. So go ahead and highlight that, go over to your
Character palate, and this is your Leading setting here the 2 A’s on top of each other,
just give it a little bit of space, click the arrow up, up, up maybe three times is
fine and also with the address. Let’s go ahead and select that go over here to your Leading
and up, up, up. Just separates thise a little bit, give it a little bit of breathing room.
Now kind of make sure it’s centered. Move it where you want it. I think that looks really
nice. There we go for the front. Okay, so moving to the back just hold down your spacebar,
get your little hand and move it over so you can work with it here. I think we’re going
to make the background pink for this one. A full bleed pink card. So using your rectangular
tool, just click and drag, it doesn’t matter how far out you go but you only need to go
about that far. Using your eyedropper, select that pink area again and go to Object>Arrange
>Send to Back. Okay, now there;’s our area, our pink area full bleed all the way to the
edge. Now what are we going to put on the back? That’s up to you, I’m going to go ahead
and make something up. So, using your type tool click and drag and we’re going to say:
Best Cupcakes in Town, Open 7 days a week, and Visit our website:
Now we have all this formatted to flush Left. We want to make it Centered so with all this
still selected just use your selection tool the Black Arrow, go up to the top here. You
can see there is Flush Left, Centered and Flush Right. You want to make it Centered.
And now if you hover over this bar and you drag it all the way to the edge it will make
sure that it is in exactly the center. I Think we can make that a little bit bigger. Here
in the Character Palate increase the Leading also give it more space between the lines
and I think we’ll go ahead and highlight this website address and over here on our color
palate let’s make that white. So that pops out. Now this is the same font that we used
for our information over here, our Owner information. It’s a good design tip is don’t use too many
fonts. I know it’s tempting to go ahead and use every font you have in your character
palate but it looks really nice and professional when you only use one or two fonts and so
what we have is the entire thing is in this Arial Narrow except for this logotype which
is in Pacifico. And I think that looks pretty good. Now we have the front and the back.
So what you do to get this ready for print, is first thing: Delete these rectangles that
you made. Just select them, delete, select, delete, because you don’t need them to be
there. Otherwise they will print so make sure you get rid of those. Now we’re going to Select
All which is Command A or File, I don’t know I use key commands so much I don’t remember,
so Select All, command A and that selects everything. Now go to Type>Create Outlines.
That makes turns them from fonts into graphics so now there are no fonts embedded any more
it has changed them to a graphic. Now we want to go to Window>Links. and it shows you any
links you have in your file. In this case we only have one image that is linked here
that was not created in Illustrator. It was created in Photoshop and linked here. We need
to embed that image because we’re going to send it to a printer who doesn’t have this
on his desktop, he only has it in the file. So on your Links palate click on this little
arrow up at the top and say “Embed Image” and that’s going to make sure that image stays
in there forever and never leaves. Okay, now we have it, let’s go ahead and Save it – sorry,
too many key commands – File>Save As and let’s call this buscardPRINT. Save it as a
pdf and save it where you want it. Now here in Illustrator in the Adobe pdf preset, you
want to click there and select Press Quality. Uncheck Optimize for fast web preview but
leave preserve Illustrator editing capabilities checked just in case your printer needs to
in and move something you just never know when you’re going to have to do something
and if this is checked they will be able to do that. Under Compression make sure it is
not downsampled. Check do not downsample. We wnat to make sure it stays at high resolution
and say Save pdf. And now if we open it in Adobe Acrobat we open that bcardPrint, there
it is our beautiful high resolution image and if you look here in your page thumbnails
it is not one but two files, front and back. And this file is absolutely print-ready, CMYK,
Outlined Fonts, Embedded Images, and it’s ready to send to your printer. And that really
is the best way to do it to do a full color business card. One thing I didn’t mention
is that you should always save a copy of your layered file before you do all the outlining
and embedding. So make sure to save a copy as a layered file. So if I Command Z undo,
undo, undo, we can do File>Save As>and call it buscardLAYERED, just to save a copy
that you can go in and easily edit and keep that as an Adobe Illustrator fiel and save
that (.ai) in your folder just is case your phone number changes later or something changes
and we have to go in and edit it, we don’t have to retype everything. So there you go,
that is the best way to get your files print-ready and printed. I hope this was helpful, I know
it was a long one for me but thanks so much for watching and until next time, bye-bye.

Comments (53)

  1. Nice and effective 🙂

  2. why didn't you show to create the art boards ?

  3. Great video thank you. You are amazing. I even learned about embedding, when putting an image on the card:) thanks again

  4. Oh and I just subscribe. can't wait to learn more.

  5. Hi I have a request is it possible you can teach us how to do flyers and banners or a post card. That be great thanks

  6. Hello. Should we add trim marks? Can printing company know where to cut if there isn't trim marks added?

  7. really really helpful and clear 🙂

  8. very nice tutorial, thanks!

  9. Been working in Pre-Press as a plate maker at a Plastic cards company, so i'm always seeing the PDF's after they've been set up for print. Interesting to see how its done before it gets to me!

  10. Well explained and professional, thank you 😉

  11. Thanks, nicely explained, please also make a tut about book cover design for printing and one of billboard/hoarding advertisement and explain the fonts size and image res while setting document in PS / Illustrator

  12. Thanks for the tutorial!  Very helpful.  One question, it appears you didn't you set up your bleed correctly at the beginning when you created the file dimensions.   You made the size (W) 3.625 by (H) 2.125

    If it needs 0.125 bleed, it should be on all edges right?  So your total file dimensions should have been;
    (W) 3.5 + 0.125 (for left bleed) + 0.125 (for right bleed) = 3.75 and 
    (H) 2 + 0.125 (for top bleed) + 0.125 (for bottom bleed) = 2.25

    or did I miss something?

  13. Excellent work am enjoying all your tutorials u make them look so easy, precise and 2 the point…Kudos.

  14. Hi,
    very nice tutorial Can you please make book Cover design tutorial with all details till printing in illustrator & Photoshop

  15. Hello: i got this message and i don't know what it means or how to fix this to get  the background with squares: could not complete your request because the smart object is not directly detectable

    thanks for your help

  16. Thanks for the tutorial, but I do have a question – will print companies end up printing this the wrong size (since it's larger than 3.5" x 2") with no trim marks?

  17. You have no idea how helpful this was! You are fantastic, thank you so so much!!

  18. Awesome I Really liked your clip! I hope we can be Mutual supporters Keep making Videos? #10xTnTrevolution

  19. This doesn't address how to print the business cards after it is made into a pdf file. Basically what options to choose when actually printing the cards on business card stock paper. How do you tell the printer to print your business card in tiles perfectly on the card paper? etc. So I would say she kind of fail in providing that info. Hopefully she or someone explains this last method.

  20. Nice tutorial, the way you explain ,it makes everything clear ,we'll done and thank you for sharing this skills.

  21. the best tutorial……….the best way to teach something…….explained in detail start to end..i really like it n it helped me

  22. why didn't set the bleeding directly when you opened your new document? Is the best way to do it the way you did it about the bleeding?

  23. Best tutorial ! Thank you very much for such detailed explanation !

  24. Just found your tutorial, and as a newcomer to AI, but long time user of PS, I found your tips for print settings most valuable, especially the "bleed" explanation. The penny finally dropped – I've been "bleeding" the wrong way! Doh! Both myself and my local print shop will be forever grateful to you!

  25. Thank YOU!!! What a wonderful video….you were clear, concise and so easy to follow! I learned lots from you in this video…I'm definitely subscribing and going to check out your other ones!!

  26. I saved the image as TIFF, but I want it transparent to go on a solid background. The image has white background. Do I have to remove background. Can you do a tutorial on this please? Why is TIFF better?

    Awesome channel.

  27. HI great information. I however can not get the embed clickable on my AI. It is there but not one of the items I can click on and make the image embed as you show in your lesson. HELP!!

  28. Hi Great Tute, to the point anyone can design personal business card, but I am, little bit confuse about the bleed line is it 3mm with 2mm margin.

    Also Do you have any Tute on flyer.


  29. finally, an illustrator tutorial with narration! thanks for this

  30. where are the crop marks though? I did all the settings correctly.

  31. the best tutorial on business card. thanks too much ma"am. fully detailed from begining untill print ready file. congratulation.

  32. Excellent job – I've been in the printing industry for 25 years, best video. I'd love to see a tutorial on Fonts – envelope / reshaping – you explain very well thank you.

  33. Thanks. Great video

  34. Thank you! The best tutorial!

  35. Hi by following these steps will it lead to the business card being printed front and back, all in one piece?

  36. thanks girl its helpfull

  37. Thank you. Very well done. I will be watching again and again.

  38. Thank you so much. I almost didn`t go through with this tutorial but im glad I did. You made it very easy.

  39. This is by far one of the best and most useful tutorials I have ever seen. Thank you so much! I am now subscribed and look forward to the quick tips, but these longer tutorials for standard items FROM START TO FINISH is truly the best!!!!

  40. at 2.01 minutes when you have the 2 art boards – why don't you have red border like I have? sorry I'm new to business cards and have a client wanting me to design one for her

  41. real good video …like it

  42. Thank you so much. Straight forward, easy to follow your steps!

  43. Looks great but I am having a tough time hearing you…and I have my laptop volume high…. 🙁

  44. Best tutorial! I Learn a lot. I was working on our card tonight and it after selecting all the art board, it won't let me select the "create outline". Is there any way I can fix that? Or I should just print my card?I know it's needed for graphics. Thanks!

  45. If your adding bleed 3.63 x 2.125, What is the bleed below that"Top ,Bottom,left,right, .125in" for?, is that more bleed?

  46. Fantastic tutorial…..Thank you!

  47. You are the best! Finally an informative video! Keep doing this great work!

  48. What's the "bleed" means?
    Im new at AI.'

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