Business card - help!


New Member
Hi, I am thinking of looking at some freelance work and have started by mocking up my own business card with tag line. I am trying to keep it simple but doing this for myself as opposed to doing it for a customer it is difficult to see it objectively!

Any comments on layout, information would be welcomed, good or bad!



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Hi, It's not great to be honest, it doesn't look professional at all. I'd start over, also if you're just starting out, business cards should be the last thing to do, I'd concentrate on getting a website done, showing your work, then move on from that.
I agree with the above, we see this kind of thing time and time again; do you have any design qualifications or experience? Or just a copy of Photoshop and have decided you are going to be a graphic designer?
Sorry to be blunt, but the design is poor on a number of levels and certainly not something I would expect to see from somebody charging for graphic design services.

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Owch! but appreciate your honesty people.

I dont quite fall into the catagory of 'just got hold a copy of photoshop'.

I have worked in the industry for ten years, but not as a graphic design artist, I am primarily a graphics fitter (vehicle graphics, wrapping, sinage etc) and a cutter/finisher working with CAD.

I have become increasingly involved in the whole process from design to end product and have done various projects on my own. I use Corel 5 as my primary design tool.

My aim at the moment is to get more experience through local work with small projects through contacts.

Hence the business card is important at the moment, I accept it looks awful to you guys but can you be a little more specific please.


I think the kind of replies you got were because of a more general problem in the industry of which you are just one example. Most of us trained for a few years at college before we even contemplated trying to design anything. And then people come along saying they're going to give it a go. In any other industry, imagine the response - "I've never trained as a plumber, but if you want you bathroom doing, I can give it a go."

If you want to do the job, get the proper training.

There is the odd person who just has a good eye, a natural aptitude for the visual. You aren't one of them. You need to learn about composition, typography, choosing typefaces, design history might be useful, get hold of and learn to use the industry standard software, the list is endless. That's why you're not getting specific criticism - if people tell you everything that's wrong with your card design they're doing the job for you.

Sorry to be this blunt, but I hope you can see where people are coming from.
I accept what you say and understand, training is a course of action I should follow, many thanks for your candid and honest opinion
I would first start by getting rid of the gradient and shadow. The font is pretty awful and i would look at the typography in general. Sorry to be harsh.

Get some good typography books and have and get some ideas.

When designing you initially need to think about what medium you are designing for; print, screen, large scale graphics, small scale etc.

Business cards are small scale print and so there needs to be a few particulars that you should follow with any job like this.

Think about printing costs. Single colour printing is often the cheapest and by using pantone colours the colouring is much more vibrant. Gradients should be a big no no, whilst they can bring a website to life when used subtly to add some depth, print doesnt need it as it is tangible.

Think about what paper stock you might use. There are hundreds / thousands of different stocks and you shouldn't settle for the cheapest that your local printer would recommend. Bear in mind that different paper stocks will have different printing tolerances (ie, digital, litho)

Business cards are an extension of you and your business and need to hold key information. A tagline is not needed as you will more than likely be giving your business card to the person. You can say to them a cheesy tagline if you want to but I would advise against it ;)

Sell your business and then give a business card as a way for that potential client to contact you. Name, job title, phone number, email address and website are the essential. You may also include your address and fax number but it's not necessary for the client to contact you.

Don't go crazy with visual graphics as these elements are only going to distract from what the business card is trying to communicate, your contact details. Use typography selectively. A good font to use that is neutral in message and aesthetically works for your business if you are a designer is Helvetica.

Hierachy is very important. You will more than likely want your name and then job title underneath. You may look at having your job title in a different colour but keeping it the same font as your name or you may look at having your name in eg. Helvetica Medium and then your job title in Helvetica Light. This creates a subtle distinction whilst retaining consistency.

Even if you get all these things right you need to ask yourself does my business card communicate what it is meant to. Does it clearly show your details and does it portray you and your business how you are wanting it to. I would say that your current design does not portray your business as a graphic designer successfully and this is what you will want to aim to achieve.

Some examples of business cards and business stationery :

Scroll through the showcases to view the stationery and business cards.

Example One

Example Two

Example Three

Hope this helps you and it would be good to see some further versions.
Only read the beginning of the first page on this - but I'm bursting to get at this out of sheer nastiness [I jest]!

1. It's far too dark.
You're looking to catch eyes, the dark and drab colours will not only blend in with the shadows - it won't excite people, either. Brighter shade of green fading to a dark grey with your content in negative space might look better if you want to run with a logo-less gradient card.

2. Priority.
Most important thing is the name of the company - so that's the biggest, which is right. The second most important thing isn't really the tag line though, and it's certainly not that much more important than the contact details.

3. One think I like is that you have tried to marry the shadow of the text with the 'light source' of the gradient. So there may be something to work with about that design after all.


Buy some books on Typography, Colour management, stationary design and symbols and what they mean. If you're not going to take a good course on Graphic Design, that will at least give you a grounding on the fundemental elements of it.

The biggest tip I could give is to never stop trying to learn - because there really is an endless list of skills and theory behind Graphic Designers and what we do - even if some of the best ideas we have are scribbled on the back of a hanky 6000ft in the air on the way to our summer hollidays.