Business Card Design 101

It's easy to make custom business cards using today's online printing services. But before you start, take a moment to review these tips from designer Walter Gray Lamb, who has been designing business cards for more than 30 years.

Remember Your Profession Carefully consider the message you want your card to send. If you're in a conservative field like finance or law, an outrageous design could undermine the recipient's confidence in you. If you have a creative job, a card that's too dull might cast doubts on your creative abilities.

Pick the Right Font Text on a business card should be sized between 8 and 10 points. Serif fonts are more traditional and easier to read than sans serif fonts, which are more modern and less personal. Italics are conversational. Boldface should be used sparingly.

Make Your Name Pop To make your name stand out from the rest of the information on your card, put extra white space around it, make it bold or a different color, or set it in all caps.

Don't Make Your Mark Unless you have design experience, do not attempt to create your own logo. It's more difficult than it seems. Using a poorly designed logo is the easiest way to look like an amateur.

Keep it Simple Avoid piling too many design elements and colors onto your card. Consider leaving some negative space or one side of your card blank for notes. (Keep in mind that glossy cards are difficult to write on.)

Leave Something Off A classic calling card trick is to not print one piece of information--your cell phone number, for instance. Before handing your card to someone, hand-write your number on the back of the card. This creates a personal connection between you and the recipient and makes them feel special.

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