A business card is an easy way to ensure that contacts and customers remember you. lf you don’t want to hire a designer for your card, you can make one yourself easily. Ideally, you’d use a DTP package such as Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress or Serif PagePlus X4, but you can get by with a general-purpose graphics program; we’re using Photoshop Elements.
For a striking and sophisticated effect, we suggest that you make one side white or a pale color, with your contact details in black, then fill the other side with a solid color or photo. Incorporate your logo on one or both sides. If you don’t already have a logo, draw it using vector shapes so it will look sharp at any size. Make it simple but distinctive, and be sure it expresses something about your organization. Keep fonts and colors conservative.
When printing your business cards, you can buy perforated sheets from brands such as Avery. However, commercial printing enables you to use thicker card and get a better finish. lf you don’t know a local print shop, search online for business card printing. A few hard-sell companies offer poor quality and hidden charges, so look for printing specifications, not sales talk, You want 400gsm card printed full color on both sides.
Printers prefer to receive your design as a press-ready PDF file in CMYK color. Photoshop Elements can’t save files this way but instead saves in PSD format, which most printers can use. Don’t use a bitmap format such as JPEG or TIFF, as this converts vector shapes and text to pixels and they won’t look as sharp. The printer should email a PDF back to you for checking.
You will need to create a new image the size of a single card – usually 85x55mm – plus bleed, which is an area around the design that provides leeway for cutting. Photoshop Elements doesn’t explicitly support this, but we’ll work around it.
1) Run Photoshop Elements and choose Edit from the splash screen. Go to File, New, Blank File, or press Ctrl-N. Change the units for Width and Height to mm, then enter 85 and 55 for the width and height. Set Resolution to 300 pixels/inch. Since Elements doesn’t support CMYK, leave the Color Mode as RGB.
2) Press Shift-Ctrl-R to show rulers, then drag from the top ruler to the top edge of the canvas to snap a guide into place. Drag another to the bottom edge, and again from the left ruler to place guides left and right. With these guides defining your card’s dimensions, it’s time to add a bleed. Go to Image, Resize, Canvas Size and tick Relative, then set Width and Height to 6mm. This adds a standard 3mm bleed to all four edges.
3) Pick the Rectangle tool from the bottom of the toolbox on the left, or type U. Then click the swatch in the Options bar at the top and pick a deep color. Drag from corner to corner to draw a rectangle that covers the whole canvas.
4) lf you already have a logo, import it using File, Place. For this walkthrough, we’ll draw one. Press U twice to switch from Rectangle to Ellipse, hold down the Shift key, click and drag to draw a large circle. in the Effects panel, click Layer Styles (second icon from left), then pick Wow Plastic from the drop-down menu. Double-click the Wow-Plastic Clear thumbnail.
5) In the Options bar select the third of the small icons, ‘Subtract from shape area’. Then draw a smaller circle: this becomes a hole in the first. You can produce all sorts of logos by combining different shapes. Press Ctrl-T to show a bounding box and, holding Shift, drag a corner to enlarge the shape dramatically. Drag the shape off-centre, then press Return to finish.
6) Save your artwork, choosing PSD format and naming it Card Back or similar. Use File, Save As to make a copy named Card Front. Use Ctrl-T to scale down your logo, then use Layer, Layer Style, Scale Effects to adjust the effect. In the Layers panel, drag your background color layer above your logo layer and press Ctrl-G so the color just appears in the shape. In the toolbox on the left, select the Type tool and click the squares at the bottom-left to set the color to black Drag a rectangle where you want your text to appear and type your contact details. In the Options bar, choose a suitable, legible font.