4 : What Makes a Good Graphics Design?

Tutorial 4-1 Introduction to Graphic Layout
Tutorial 4-2 Designing a "For Sale" flyer
Tutorial 4-3 Designing a Logo
Tutorial 4-4 Creating an Animation
Tutorial 4-5 Web Buttons and Rollovers
Tutorial 4-6 Animated Web Banners
Tutorial 4-7 Website Design
Tutorial 4-8 Graphics for Screen Printing
Tutorial 4-9 Business Card Design
Tutorial 4-10 Building an Ad for Print
Tutorial 4-11 Working with Clipart

4-9 : Business Card Design

If you have a business, you need to hand out cards and send correspondence... Right?
Usually a client will call and ask for a business card, then you ask if they have a logo and 9 out of 10 times, they don't and 7 out of 10 times, they don't even have a company name yet!!! It's true! So you throw together a logo for them (10 times out of 10, they don't feel that should cost anything more) and create a business card. We've already talked about designing a logo (4-3) now we'll put that same logo to use, so find your file (or download it here).

A standard finished business card is 2" x 3.5" though when you setup the artwork you will need a bleed of 1/8th". The bleed is used to extend your background past the cut lines incase it's off a little when it's cut down to size, you don't want a sliver of white on one edge (your background should be 2.127" x 3.627"). With that in mind, you should also keep your text and logo an 8th of an inch inside of the cut line, so you'll want to make sure that your text is within the 3.25 x 1.75 inch area of your card layout.

We generally use www.overnightprints.com for our printing needs. They have templates for every product they sell in every standard graphics program, to help you get started with your project (Download Templates).

Business Card Template

We'll start with their PhotoShop Business Card Template. So, download that and open it in PS. We also want the Bulldog Logo open because we are going to use that as well. There are two ways to move the logo to the template, find the file and Drag & Drop it into the Template Window. This will insert the FLATTENED PS file to a New Layer or replace the Active Layer if there is nothing on it and it is Selected (don't forget to hit the Enter Button to Place it). The other way to move it is by opening it in another window and Select All>Edit>Copy Merged (Ctrl+A, Shift+Ctrl+C), which copies the content of all of the visible layers. Then switch back to the Template Window and Paste (Ctrl+V) it. You might see a color shift because the original Bulldog PS file is an RGB and the Template File is a CMYK (because printers use CYMK and monitors use RGB). You can convert the original image to a CMYK and Adjust the Color Balance (3-4) before you copy it or you can do it after you copy it to the new window. I'd probably do it before I moved it.

Now we have our logo in the Template File so we can decide how we want to design the card. It fits pretty good at that size but if we needed to, we could resize it easily (1-15). Also, it fits pretty good either Vertical or Horizontal so you (or your client) have to decide how you want to design it.

You can turn OFF and ON the Visibility of the Guidelines and Safe Zone Layers, I usually turn the Safe Zone Layers OFF and use the Guides for reference instead.

Adding the Text is easy (1-12) Deciding how big to make it can be tricky. As a general rule you don't want a font that is smaller than 8pts and I normally don't go smaller than 9 or preferably 10pts if possible. The company name, if needed should be 12 to 15pts... however, this is strictly a design choice. Some clients want their resume on their business card TELL THEM NO! A simple and easy to read card is way more effective. Generally, only the person handing out the card thinks that everyone wants to know that much about them, the person getting the card probably doesn't even want it and if they do, it's to remember their name incase they run into them again or to be able to call or email them later.

Bulldog Business Card Bulldog Business Card

A Corporate Identity needs to be cohesive, when you hand someone your card and they go to your website, they should know that they have arrived. Using the same fonts, logo design, colors, general layout, the list goes on... In the examples above I used the same layout and then added the basket ball background from the web page (which gives the tag text a different meaning :). I didn't care for the blue text over the orange balls in the background so I changed the text color and added a drop shadow to make it more dynamic. I could make more than a dozen different variations in about 5 minutes, not all of them would be good though! :) The point is, once you have the elements, it is very easy to throw a card together in record time. Play around with it and see what you come up with.

Before the days of quality digital prints, a one color, off-set card on your choice of card stock was the standard.

With digital prints, it doesn't matter how many colors your design has, it all cost the same. As for card stock, you generally have one option, with two choices, Matte or Matte with a Gloss UV Coating. OR you can add a "Spot UV" as an example, to just the logo text or as a repeating pattern in the background. Also, for just a little more, you can have a full color 2 sided card.

We should probably think about saving this to send off for printing.
Before you save, check your Edit>Color Settings: (Shift+Ctrl+K) to make sure that your file is set to CMYK, and select "GRACoL2006_Coated1v2" from the Working Spaces>CMYK:>Drop Down Menu. And make sure to turn the Visibility of the Safety Zone Layers, OFF. If you have designed a 2 sided card, it is best to have 2 separate Layer Groups (2-2) for each side so that you can easily turn them OFF independent of each other. You will need to save each side as a separate file.

File>Save As... (Shift+Ctrl+S) You can save your file in .PDF, .EPS, .TIF , or .JPG format, in CMYK Color Mode, with a resolution of 300 DPI (1088 pixels x 628 pixels). I normally save as a TIF because it has more color information. However, some places only except PDFs or JPGs. It is always best to check with the Print Company that you will be using. You can usually find a Spec File posted on their website somewhere. For a reference, refer back to Tutorial 2-15 regarding saving files, if needed.

Using Perforated Business Card Paper for your inkjet or laser printer...
There are a lot of Business Card papers out there to chose from. If you plan to use one of those to run a sheet or two off instead of ordering them, you will need to reduce the size of your image to the cut marks 2"x3.5" (3-7) When designing a card to print in that type of layout, where each card is butted up to the next and there is no bleed area, it is best not to have a bleed image and keep away from the edge, incase your paper doesn't feed exactly straight or centered. Once you have the correct image size you save it like you would any other graphic and bring it into MS Word or another program of choice. Once you have your paper, you can go online and find the correct template to use, but they all have 2 rows of 5 for a total of 10 cards per sheet. I should mention that not all templates are the same, so make sure to download the correct brand and file format. Keep in mind too that they don't all have to be the same card. You could set up cards for different people or completely different images.

Then it is just a matter of dropping your saved graphic or graphics into the template and printing it. Imagine the possibilities, you could be someone different everyday! (You can discuss that with your conscience later)

A lot of times, you will want to make your image in PS and then import that into AI (Adobe Illustrator) to add the text and other victor elements, like lines or shapes. It's always best to print out a sample to size and see how it looks if you aren't sure, BEFORE sending it to print!!! Be very aware of keeping things with in the spec lines, it can be a real issue to get your cards back and have the logo snipped off in one side

If you click here and order something, we get a credit!!!!! www.overnightprints.com

The Do's and Don'ts of a Business Card... Click Here

What is Spot UV?
Unlike a regular UV glossy finish that covers the entire print surface, spot UV is a gloss coat that is added selectively - coating some areas of your print with a reflective gloss texture, while leaving the other areas of your print with a silky matte finish. Spot UV is particularly effective at drawing attention to specific parts of your design - such as your company logo!


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