Why (and how) I designed my own business card

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As a follow-up to my article, Is the business card still relevant for students and recent grads?, I’ve decided to detail my own journey designing and producing a business card.

As an intermediate graphic designer, (but by no means professional!) I wanted to design my own business card and ensure that the look and feel were truly representative of my personality.

Standard cards are usually 2″ x 3.5″, but there is nothing limiting you to these dimensions except your own imagination.

TalentEggTalentEgg Tip: Keep in mind that the more unique your business card design is, the more it will cost to print professionally.

I designed my card in Adobe Illustrator (one of the many choices of software for print, along with Adobe InDesign, Adobe Pagemaker, QuarkXPress, Microsoft Publisher and Serif PagePlus, to name a few).

If you’re considering using Photoshop, I must admit things can get messy when printing, so be aware of DPI (dots per inch) requirements and the types of effects you employ. Check with the printing service you’re planning to use before designing your card.

When designing my card, I realized how much of a self-exploration process it was. It may just seem like colours and text on card stock, but every colour, object, word and layout I choose says something about me. It speaks to the recipient and the message it relays must be accurate.

Clean or complex. Colourful or one-tone. Professional or funky. You have to decide where on the various spectrums your card will reside. And if you’re just starting out, you probably have more license to have fun with it.

You’re likely to be young, hip and full of fresh ideas – just what employers are looking for – so using your business card as a physical representation of that is a great tool. Think about marketing yourself clearly with some personal branding (which could potentially be consistent across all methods of communication, such as on your blog or website, and on your Twitter account), don’t forget your contact details, and be creative.

After many revisions, colour changes, and layouts I came out with the following:

Simren Deogun's Business Card

After days of messing around, I produced a card which I could best describe “as being very me.” (I’ve stripped out my other personal contact information for anonymity’s sake.)

Bright, colourful, engaging, a little risky, and very aware. On the back, I simply put a URL directing any recipient to my website – a clear and simple call to action. Force them to find a way back to you and, ultimately, remember you.

After the design was complete, all that was left was the somewhat arduous task of printing it. I opted for professional printing services, but you could easily use your own colour printer to save on expenses.

Here are some great printing services that won’t break the bank:

  • Vistaprint – This is the site I used to print my business cards. The price for 250 basic cards starts at $23.99 and increases from there depending on how many cards you need and what kind of features you want on the card.
  • Zazzle.ca – Zazzle is a bit more expensive (prices start at $36.40 for 200 custom cards), but it features an interactive card designer and also offers thousands of free designs to choose from.
  • 123Print.com – Cards start at about $8 for 200, so 123Print.com is definitely the cheaper option, but it’s an American site so watch out for shipping costs. This site also has a ton of designs to choose from. Even better, they’re organized by profession, so your career path can be represented accurately whether you want to be an architect, a journalist, a cake decorator or a travel agent, just to name a few.
  • OR try your local office supply store which probably offers printing services in-house.
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About the author

Simren Deogun recently graduated with high distinction from the management and English programs at the University of Toronto with a CGPA of 3.6. Her career goals include establishing herself within the field of marketing and communications, and engaging in writing or literature-related ventures in her free time. She enjoys dabbling in graphic design and is always finding new ways to enhance her skill set. She also developed and runs her own marketing blog.