How To Create a Print Ready Business Card Design

How To Create a Print Ready Business Card Design

everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics
back with another video tutorial. Today I’m going to run through the process of designing
a business card and talk about some of the important things to consider when designing
for print. It’s super important that you get things like
bleed, color mode and resolution right when you’re creating your artwork, otherwise you
might end up having your files rejected by the printer, having to start again from scratch
or even worse, receiving hundreds of prints back that look nothing like your design! So hopefully this guide will cover each step
and ensure your print projects go smoothly. Business cards are a common printed product
that are fairly simple to design, but before you start, make sure you receive specific
artwork instructions from the printer you’re going to use. Every company has their own
preferences, so the settings I’m using in this tutorial might not match up exactly to
what your printer wants, but at least you’ll know what they’re referring to when they say
stuff like trim size and bleed size. We’re going to use a mix of Illustrator and
Photoshop to make the most of each application’s strengths. The overall design will be composited
in Illustrator, so we’ll start there. Create a new document and enter the dimensions
of the business card in the artboard size settings. A common business card size is 88x55mm,
but again, make sure you check with your printer first on their exact product specs. If you’re
in the US, you’ll probably find the measurements are in inches as opposed to millimeters. The print firms I’ve used required 3mm bleed,
so enter 3mm in one of the bleed fields and press Tab to apply it to all sides. Bleed
is basically some padding around the edge of the design which is cut off during the
printing process. It ensures that you don’t end up with tiny slithers of white paper along
the edge of your prints if the machine isn’t lined up exactly. We’re designing for print, so select the CMYK
color mode so we’re working in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks as opposed to RGB light.
Then most business cards are double sided, so increase the number of artboards to 2. The main white area of the artboard is the
finished business card size, also known as the trim size. The red outline indicates the
bleed area which any backgrounds will need to extend to. It’s also wise to highlight a safe area within
your document. This not only makes sure your important elements like a name or logo aren’t
too close to the trim area that they risk being chopped off, it also helps balance your
design by applying some margin around the edge. The size of the safe zone is entirely up to
you but 5-10mm shifts your elements inwards enough to look neat. You can highlight this
area using guides, or draw a rectangle then right click and select Make Guides. I want a black background for my card design,
so I’ll grab the rectangle tool and draw a shape that covers the entire bleed area, clearing
out the stroke to leave just the fill colour. A black background sounds simple enough, but
there’s a whole plethora of different blacks in print design. If you move the colour picker
to black you’ll notice it’s made up 0,0,0 in RGB, which means there’s no light so it’s
as dark as you can get, but look over at the CMYK values and they’re all over the place,
totalling at 329% – This is way too much ink to be printed when you consider the general
limit is around 260%. There’s a basic 100% K black, which uses just
the black ink from the standard CMYK process colours. This is good for text because just
using one ink out of the four CMYK colours means you’ll get the sharpest possible print,
but when it’s applied to a large area it can look a bit washed out. Rich black is the term used for mixes of Cyan,
Magenta, Yellow and Black that result in a deeper black. A common one on 50, 40, 40,
100, which refers to the percentages of the four CMYK colours you set in your software
and the amount of ink printed with each plate. The trouble is, this particular colour mix
uses all four plates, so it has a high risk of misregistration which can cause fuzzy text,
often seen on cheap newspaper prints. A couple more common blacks are warm black
and cool black, which mix 100% K with 50% Cyan or Magenta. These two recipes only use
two plates so it’s much safer to use with small text while still darkening the black.
The difference between them, as their names suggest, is one has more of a cooler blue
tone, whereas the other has a warmer browny red tone. I’m going to use blue elsewhere in my design
so I’ll go with cool black to complement it. Set up the colour manually by entering the
relevant percentages in the CMYK values. You can now begin building your business card
design by bringing in a logo. Scale it to size and align it to the safe zone guides. There’s no white ink in printing, unless it’s
a super specialist print. Giving something a white fill in your software will translate
to the other elements being knocked out to allow the paper to show through. When entering the text for your print design,
6pt is usually the lowest you’ll want to go. A business card is held up close so you can
get away with generally smaller type, but be careful if you’re using elegant fonts with
high contrast, there’s a point where fine lines become unprintable. The slab-serif Achille
font I’m using is pretty robust so it can handle 6pt even in its Regular weight. One thing to keep in mind when designing for
print is the paper stock forms a large part of the final design, which you don’t get to
see on screen. A lot of people try to add gradients and drop shadows to make their designs
more interesting, but these often just muddy the final print. An area of flat colour might
look boring on screen, but when its printed you’ll see the texture of the paper with a
matte or glossy finish. In my design I’m enclosing the main name and
contact info in a white box, which needs extending up to the bleed area. The text within this
area needs to be black. I could keep using cool black with 50% Cyan, but there’s not
really any point seeing as the text isn’t a large enough area to see the difference.
All it does is risk misregistration, so instead normal 100% K is the better option. For the other side of my business card design
I’m going to leave the background white but make use of a photo, so Photoshop comes into
play here to use its strengths as an image editor. We need to recreate the business card document
size in PSD format, so create a new document and change the dimensions to millimeters.
Photoshop doesn’t have a separate bleed setting so we need to calculate the total dimensions.
88mm plus 3mm on each side equals 94mm, and likewise 55+3+3=61mm.
All print work needs to be 300ppi, so change the resolution to 300 pixels per inch, then
set the color mode to CMYK. We can’t see where the actual trim line is
but setting the safe zone up using guides will make sure the elements are laid out nicely.
A quick way to do this is to set the size of a marquee then snap the guides to it. I want to have the logo and a tagline on this
side of the card so I’ll paste in the logo graphic from Illustrator and type out the
text with the relevant font. Usually it’s advised to add all your text in Illustrator
because it’s made in crisp vectors rather than fuzzy pixels, but I’m going to overlay
a photo, so Photoshop is the best option in this scenario. I’ve downloaded this space scene from Shutterstock.
Pasting it into the document will automatically convert it to CMYK and reformat it to 300ppi.
This is a nice high resolution stock photo so I’ve actually got to scale it down a lot.
You don’t want to try and use small images from the web because they’ll only be the size
of a postage stamp in print terms, unless you upscale them, which will make them look
totally ugly. The effect I’m looking for can be created
using a layer mask. Filling it with black hides the entire photo, then the areas I want
visible can be selected and filled white. Use Photoshop any time you’re working with
textures and images as part of your print designs, then add text and logos in vector
format over the top in Illustrator. When you’re done, save the file as a JPG using the normal
Save As command so it retains the resolution and colour mode. Back in Illustrator this background can be
placed onto the artboard for the other side of the business card. Before exporting the final print file it’s
wise to outline your fonts by pressing CMD+A to Select All, then CMD+Shift+O to Create
Outlines. This eliminates any chance of your font not being picked up when it’s opened
on the printer’s computer and defaulting to something boring. Go to File>Save As and select PDF. There’s
some options to add printer’s marks but unless your printer has specifically asked for them
just leave them off. There’s also a PDF setting here that might be required. This file now contains both business card
sides in one print ready document. You can give the file a quick check over by opening
it in Adobe Acrobat. Look for the Output Preview tool and toggle
the various plates to see how the design will be printed using the 4 process colours. In
my design you can see Magenta and Yellow aren’t used at all on the first side and just black
is used on the name area. On the other side, the photo is made up of
various percentages of all four colours. If you’re new to print design this video might
have bombarded you with loads of information, but hopefully it was a comprehensive guide
to the things you need to consider when setting up a print file. If you did find the video
useful a thumbs up to help spread the word would be really appreciated and if you want
to stick around for more, remember to hit that subscribe button. So thank you very much
for watching and I’ll catch you all later.

Comments (84)

  1. I want to know how you made that image at the end… Did you just put both cards into the image of a some cards and scale them ontop of them? 🙂

  2. Very good and informative video, thank you 🙂

  3. please dont talk so fast 😀

  4. Wow. That's like JUST what I needed. I'm currently working on my first Business Card and I was about to send it to the printer when this video popped up. Thank god I didn't. I made too many mistakes, lol! I'm a big fan of your work! Please keep it up!

  5. Hey, I'm a big fan of your vids and your blog. I have one question: Should a designer set overprint and if so, in which cases? It's something I barely see anyone talk about. Should it be applied to every instance of 100% K text where it's placed on top of a colored background?

  6. Well done. Nice to see how others do things.

  7. Wow, so much talent here 🙂 Great to have found you. Loving your professionalism on your work and your video quality. Honestly a genuine guy with a great passion for teaching. Thumbs up!

  8. Love all the tutorials! It has been a great help so far. I would say: Keep up the good work! I'm new to Illustrator, so i still have a long learning process to undergo.. But videos like these keep the spirit alive! 🙂

  9. Another great video! I was confused about the concept of bleed which is now cleared, so thank you 🙂

  10. thanks I really needed this you're awesome dude….

  11. New subscriber 😀
    Can't really catch all the words (where r u from m8?!) but still soooo interesting 😀

  12. Thanks, another great tutorial. Today I learned why my blacks were actually turning out to be rather greyish since I thought using the "deepest black 000000" won't make it black, honestly I was blaming the printer for it, lol. One request can you please do a tutorial on how to get actual print colours as you desire, in particular I am unable to get good red, always turns out to have a pink tone. Thanks. Keep these things coming.

  13. Wouldn't it make more sense to use InDesign as the medium in which you construct your business card?

  14. Thank you, Chris! Specifically for the last portion about Adobe Acrobat's Print Production tool! 🙂


  16. can you teach me how to design deck of business cards, like you show business cards on the table or on something else.

  17. never thought about the black mixtures… thanks I'm sure i'll be saving a lot of ink now!!

  18. can you please tell me , how did you do the final presantation 3d like format ??

  19. Thank you very much for sharing! There has been a lot of information, very useful. One thing I didn't catch was masking the logo shape (and text) on the front side to make the galactic picture visible through it (I noticed that you selected text, then logo shape before you clicked on the layer mask, but I don't know what keys you held down). But still, it's a good tutorial and I love your niche, Chris! Nice music in the background, so I love to listen to your podcasts.

  20. is there an easy way to make 10 per sheet print?

  21. uncle you are awsome 🙂

  22. Is it bad to have a business card for your youtube channel?

  23. czarno-białe byłoby lepsze 2/10 unsub

  24. This video makes it too complicated

  25. But informative

  26. Hey I need tip… How to make this rich black color. When I work with CMYK black is almost grey, When I try to get rich black ther is ⚠ and message Out of gammut….??

  27. hello guys if anyone need any type of business cards so visit link below and order me.
    i will give you 2 professional business cards +source files in 48 hrs ..lets check link below and order me now

  28. This was amazing! Thanks

  29. Thank you so much for this! I wish The Art Institute talked about half of the things you did!

  30. Gret work,very helpful! I have a question,at 7:30 what did you press from layer one to create thumbnail to layer two? Nice upload and very helpful,even if I'm a Visual Artist!!!!

  31. thank you for this!!!

  32. this video was in the line up, all videos are great from any user.. the comments i see in this video from after 2014 is amazing, it must be comments from all children because no adult would be so behind.. no way will i believe this video could help an adult who is over 18 watching this in 2014 no no no never

  33. Holy crap, you are awesome! That was so much VALUE. I appreciate all the details and quick delivery.

  34. what kind of printer to use to print it?

  35. Man, your videos are a godsend!

  36. Would you like a Stylish, Professional and Creative Business Card  for your Company, Business, Shop, Personal etc.?
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  37. You talk funny but your tutorials are good. A bit fast though.

  38. Hi, nice tutorial. Could you do one with Affinity Designer 1.5 and Affinity Photo combo?
    Thanks in advance.

  39. Excellent vidio

  40. hey guys if you found this tutorial difficult i could do it for you

  41. You can simply go on a freelancing website like Fiverr to access many people with graphic design talents that are available to create business cards for extremely cheap prices from 5$ to 50$
    Check out this

  42. thank you ,,,,skype::: Hasan626363

  43. Hello Spoon Graphics, good Job… how do you make the presentaion at the end 8:42 ??? Thank you

  44. bro i do not agree with designers who make prints with photoshop ( flyers & business cards … ) this must be maked with illustrator ( Illustrator '' vector for prints design" & photoshop ''pixels for web'' ) who agree with me ?

  45. Hi, thanks so much for the tutorials! I'm new to Ai, & I'm currently trying to make my CV with it. My question is, do I have to select all texts & hit "create outlines" before saving as PDF? Bec the texts are looking a bit fuzzy when viewing, & I don't know if it's normal.

  46. Nice Tutorial. More Informative.Thanks

  47. blah blah blah blah!!!!!

  48. Are you looking for a very creative and expert Business card designer?
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  49. How did you make the last image with those 2 stacks of business cards?

  50. amazing video ,thank you so much
    oh i have also designd some cards ,check out

  51. Talk slowly to one of the people behind you Not all people are professional until you speak quickly I never understood anything from you

  52. nice tutorial…ilike it…i am a designer….please check it..

  53. Very clear and informative. Thank you.

  54. Hi Sir,nice videos.Well i am new in graphic designing and i want info about machines for printing cards,flyers etc.

    Thank you

  55. Join my mailing list at Spoon Graphics if you want to keep up with all my other content. Every subscriber gets a FREE design resources bundle! 📦

  56. know what program or app this is?

  57. I would love to Design a amazing presentation in infographic style

  58. Super tutorial  but VERY annoying background music. Is there any possibility of this tutorial posted with an option of not having the music. It would be such a good guide to a beginner like me.

  59. Hi, Thank you for the video, It helps a lot to understand how to make a business card in Illustrator. Can you also share how to make the portfolio image (0:18)?

  60. not all heroes wear capes!

  61. well all that went right over my head ! lol

  62. Need a business card? Click the link below👇

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  64. Red area is not shown while creating this. What can I do?

  65. how did you do that cool 3d thing at the end?

  66. how did you do that thing where you alligned the rectangle into the centre??? the newest version is confusing me

  67. Your Business Card is now OBSOLETE! Dollar Bill Business Cards are absolutely the best offline marketing tool to advertise and promote your business. cheap drop cards here-

  68. Awesome tutorial! Thanks, man

  69. I’m a graphic designer and I used to do everything you talk about in your video but I was introduced to this app called Bleee at a mixer. Since then, I never looked back. I recommend you check it out, you might feel the same way I do after. It’s free so you don’t have to worry

  70. This is great, but can you please describe the process to print these cards using Avery or Hammermill clean edge inkjet paper?

  71. You went too fast and you lack explanation ESPECIALLY around 7:18

  72. I love this tutorial, someone came to me asking me to help them create business cards like kinda asap because they have no clue how to do so, and funny thing neither do I but I can learn and this will help me in the long run!!!

  73. Custom business card design & printing options

  74. How can we print the cards at home? I have some blank cards but I can't seem to print on them, I'm really struggling.

  75. Well said. In this digital era, Business cards are still important in our everyday life, especially in the business world. Having a business card ready for networking events and meetings implies that you are ready and confident to put your name and your brand out there. If you are still not having your own business card then get it today from

  76. How did you put the business card looking bulky like the last image showing the black and white one on a table ?

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