If you do most of your work online, you may think you don’t need business cards. But these small pieces of paper are an important marketing tool. You never know where you might meet a potential client or collaborator. A good business card puts your brand directly into someone’s hands.

In this guide, we’ll talk about what to information to include on your business cards. We’ll talk about business card design that works. We’ll look at resources for printing business cards without breaking your budget.

Why You Need a Business Card

Which presents a more professional image? Rummaging through your bag for a pen and scrap of paper to write down your contact info for a new acquaintance? Asking for their phone so you can enter your name and number? Or handing them a crisp, fresh business card?

When you have a card, it signals that you’re a professional. You are aware of the etiquette of business. You expect the people you meet will want to contact you in the future, and you care enough to be prepared.

Handing someone your card also helps them remember your name. Of course, you’ve already introduced yourself, but many of us have trouble remembering names. Seeing your name in writing helps reinforce the memory. Ultimately, the purpose of a business card is to help potential clients and partners remember you and get in touch with you.

What Information Belongs on Your Card

Your business card should include just the basics:

  • Your name
  • Your company name and/or logo
  • Your job title, or a brief description of the services you offer
  • Your email address
  • Your telephone number
  • Your website address
  • Your street address, if you have a brick-and-mortar location
  • No more than three social media handles, if social media is important to your business

You may also want to include a slogan, a QR code, and an image or headshot.

Don’t crowd your card with too much information. The purpose is to help your contact get in touch with you, not to tell your whole story.

From left to right: WoolTribe, which sells both hand-dyed yarn and ready-to-wear apparel, placed their wordmark and slogan on the front of the card. The back holds the logo and contact details for the two partners. The card is printed on post-consumer recycled cardstock, reflecting the eco-friendly ethos of the business.
You don’t need a logo to have a great card. This designer used a colorful abstract floral image on one side of her card. The other side echoes the illustration while remaining clean and easy to read.
Pins + Needles used a busy, colorful illustration to frame their logo on one side of this card while keeping the other side simple, uncluttered, and easy to read.

Business Card Design Considerations

Your business card is a physical extension of your business. Every aspect of the card should represent your brand.

If you had a brand identity package professionally designed, business cards were no doubt included. If hiring a graphic designer isn’t in your budget, the popular online business card printers have easily customizable templates you can use. You can also find templates in common software like Microsoft Word and Adobe Illustrator.

Here are some aspects of business card design to consider:

Size and Shape:

A standard business card is a rectangle 3½” x 2″. But you don’t have to be standard. Square cards and mini cards have gained traction in recent years. Rounded corners are also popular. And cards can be die-cut into creative shapes if your budget allows.

Keep in mind that most business card filing solutions, whether file boxes or vinyl sheets for binders are designed to hold standard-size cards. If your card is a non-standard size or shape, it may be more likely to end up in the trash.


The moment someone touches your card, the paper tells them something about you and your business. As people engage in crafts, we respond to the tactile qualities of everything around us. Heavy paper in a business card speaks of quality. When you can, choose thicker paper. Paper can feel smooth, glossy, textured, or soft. What texture best represents the feeling you want to project? Heavy kraft paper or recycled paper is a great choice to convey eco-conscious values.

Glossy papers (including photo paper) often repel ink. Many people like to make notes on business cards to remind themselves about your conversation. At least one side of your card should be ink-friendly.

Cards Have Two Sides:

Many business cards end up pinned to a tack board. Be sure all your essential contact information is on one side, so it can be accessed without unpinning the card. Use the other side to make an impact with color, your logo, or an image.


Be careful when choosing typefaces for your card. Unusual fonts can be fun, but you want recipients to be able to read your card with a glance. Mismatched fonts and letter sizing can look chaotic and make it difficult to read your card. Use a simple, easy-to-read typeface for your essential contact information. Make sure the font size and color don’t make the information difficult to read.


A horizontal, landscape layout is traditional. A vertical, portrait layout looks modern. And there is no reason you can’t use a diagonal layout if that better represents your brand.

Make sure your card isn’t overcrowded. A clean layout with plenty of white space is easy to read. When I’m meeting people, I like to write a quick note on their business cards to remind me why I want to follow up. If there is no room on the card, my note will be illegible.

Printing Your Business Cards

Your options for printing your business cards may be limited by your budget and the available time frame.

Do-It-Yourself: Inexpensive and Fast

If you have a decent printer in your office or studio, you can print your own business cards. Special paper is available with micro-perforations allowing you to print ten cards per sheet. The paper isn’t very thick, your color choices are limited, and the perforated edges aren’t particularly smooth, but if you need cards in a hurry this is a good option.

FedEx Office, Staples, or Office Depot: Nearly as Fast, More Expensive

Your local office supply store can print your business cards and may be able to give you same-day service. Your paper and color choices will be limited, but it’s a step up from the print-it-yourself option.

Online Printers: Reasonably Priced and Relatively Quick

New York Times’ Wirecutter recently did a comprehensive review of business card printing services, evaluating print quality, ease of ordering, range of templates and custom options, and customer service. I’ve personally used both Moo and VistaPrint, both with great results. These services offer a wide range of papers and design options. Your cards can generally be delivered within 10–14 days, and express delivery is available for an additional charge.

Traditional Printers

A traditional business print shop will give you the widest range of options for paper and special finishes. If you want spot gloss to make your logo shine, a metallic foil to highlight some aspect of your design, or an unusual shape, this is the way to go. Of course, you’ll pay more for these special features, and you might face longer lead times.

A Final Thought

It’s been estimated that 80–90% of business cards end up in the trash. Have fun designing your card but keep your budget in mind. Your goal is to make a great first impression and have the recipient hold on to your card long enough to transfer your contact information to their phone or computer.

Sandi Rosner

Sandi Rosner


Sandi Rosner (she/her) learned to knit in the late 1970s from the instructions in the back of a magazine. She now works as a freelance designer, technical editor, writer and teacher. When Sandi isn’t knitting, she usually has her nose in a book. Find more of Sandi’s work at www.sandirosner.substack.com.