What Are the Best Tips for Making DIY Business Cards?

Alex Newth

Many people create do-it-yourself (DIY) business cards, either to add a personal touch to their cards or to offset graphic designer and printing fees. The best-quality DIY business cards should have the proper resolution and color profile to prevent the business cards from printing out blurry and dark. The background of the business cards is important, and people should design DIY business cards to fit their personal or professional needs. Adding a tagline and sticking with one or two font types will make business cards easier to read and give recipients something to remember. When printing the business cards, people should start by printing a test copy and likely will want to choose fairly thick paper.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Before beginning the design, a person making DIY business cards should set the graphic design program’s resolution to 300 dots per inch (DPI) or higher; a lower resolution may result in blurry prints. If the graphic design program allows users to select different color profiles — some consumer-grade programs do not offer this option — then users should choose cyan-magenta-yellow-black (CMYK), which is the color profile used by printers. A program without the CMYK profile can still print business cards, but the cards will generally print darker than they appear on the monitor, and some adjusting may be required to compensate.

The background of DIY business cards is one of the most visually striking parts, and users should create backgrounds that match their personal or professional needs. For example, an artist may want to create an intricate, full-color background; a photographer may want one of his or her photos in the background; a conservative businessperson may want a blank background or a single, subtle color. Before designing the background, users should consider their needs and figure out what type of background best markets their skills.

Text is in the foreground of DIY business cards, and users should only choose one or two font types. Some users think that using a different font type for each section — such as the contact information, the business name and the tagline — makes business cards more visually striking or appealing, but it generally just creates a jarring effect, because it is difficult to comprehend all the font types. Sticking with one or two fonts allows users to choose a generic font for most of the text and another font for the business name or tagline. Adding a tagline — a short phrase that sums up the business — to business cards also may help recipients remember the business.

Printing DIY business cards at home or in the office can be difficult, in part because test printing can be beneficial and some papers work better than others for business cards. Test prints can be done on regular paper, and allow users to ensure the colors are correct and that there is no blurring or other problems. For the actual print, people should use 10- to 12-point thick paper (0.25 to 0.3 millimeters), because this paper is thick enough to take the ink, and is the common paper used for business cards; thicker paper exists but may be difficult to use in consumer- and office-grade printers.

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