In this tutorial we’ll create a modern, minimal, yet stylish business card design in Adobe Photoshop. I’ve recently checked out some inspirational articles about cool business card designs, hence came the idea to write a tutorial about how to create one for ourselves. In addition, you can download the free PSD included with this tutorial.
Step 1 – General Information
Usually, business cards are to be printed. In print, there are quite a lot of special stuff we need to pay attention to. Here are the most important of them:
- Printers use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) inks to mix up different colors. Therefore, we need to use CMYK color mode.
- Also, printers print in high resolution. General monitor resolutions are 72 and 96 ppi, the minimum recommended resolution when working with print documents is 300ppi.
- Graphics in printing are not as exact as graphics on the screen. There are a lot of reasons we need to use a bigger size than we want. It is usually enough if we set 2-5 millimeters on each side.
Therefore in our project, we have t o use some bleed area, pick a relatively high resolution, and use CMYK color mode. Now, that we have this knowledge, let’s start building up our business card.
A quick note about bleed: Today, we have much more precise printers that don’t make that much mistakes, but it’s a general convention to use progressive bleed areas.
Step 2 – Document Sizes
Open up Photoshop, and create a new document with a valid business card size.
There are a lot of standard sizes out there; for more information on what the default size in your country is, see Wikipedia’s page on Business Cards.
I’m from Hungary, so according to the above link, the size of my business cards would be 90×50 millimeters. But, we need some bleed area, so I’ll add 5mm to each side. That makes my overall document size to 100×60 millimeters.
Also, set the resolution to, let’s say, 600 ppi, and the color mode to CMYK. Click OK to create the empty document.
Step 3 – Grid
Setting up a grid is just crucial when working with business cards.
First of all, bring up the Rulers with Ctrl+R (Cmd+R for Mac users). Then right-click on one of them, and select Millimeters.
To create guides, find the View menu in Photoshop, and choose the New Guide option. Now if you’re following along, you better have created 5 millimeter guides. According to this, set guides to 5mm vertical, 5mm horizontal, also subtract 5 from your total width and height, and create the last two there as well. In my case they will be 95 and 55 millimeters.
Step 4 – The Background
Bring up the Color Picker, and set #2E3133 for the foreground color. This will give us a cold, dark gray tone. Double-click the Background layer to make it a standard, editable layer. Now hit Alt+Backspace on the PC, or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill it with the foreground gray color. Let’s add some styling to this background layer now. First of all we can add some noise to it. Find the Filter menu, select Noise, and choose Add Noise. Type in 2% for the Amount, and set the Distribution to Uniform. Uncheck the option ‘Monochromatic’ for now if you have it checked.
Next, let’s create some more detail to it, by adding a pattern. We’ll create our own pattern this time.
Create a new document with the sizes of 10×10 pixels. Zoom into the document to the max (3200%), and press D to reset colors to black and white. Select the Pencil Tool (B), and create a diagonal line like this. And that’s it for our pattern.
To save it, find the Edit menu and choose ‘Define Pattern’. Give a distinctive name to it, and hit OK.
Now our pattern is saved. Close this document, no need to save it when Photoshop asks.
Back to our current document now, double-click the grey background layer to bring up the Layer Styles window. Click on Pattern Overlay on the left side to make it enabled and bring up the options for it. Now if you click the little arrow right next to the pattern preview box, you will find your newly created pattern. Click on it to make it active. Let’s finally set the Blending Mode to Overlay, and the Opacity to 10%. We could also scale it up to 150% if we wanted to.
Okay, the background is done, subtle enough for a pattern if you ask me, but it’s just enough.
Step 5 – Drawing the first shapes
Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), and create a new layer on top of the stack. We’ll create our stripes on the document, but first things first, some math (as always).
Our document height is 60mm’s (at least in my case). The actual business card size is 50mm’s if we subtract the bleed areas. Let’s subtract another 5-5 millimeters from the top and bottom to have some padding. This way, we’ll have 40 mm’s remaining to use. Now, we want 4 stripes below each other (of course, with just a little padding). Therefore, we can set the stripes’ height to 9mm and leave 1mm padding between each other.
According to the above speculation, let’s create a couple of horizontal guides to the following locations: 19mm, 20mm, 29mm, 30mm, 39mm, 40mm and 49mm. Having this done, we now know where to place our stripes horizontally. But how long they are going to be exactly? Depends on you of course… I’ll use my own values here.
[learn_more caption="Want to follow along using my values?"] Then you can create additional Vertical guides to 29mm, 30mm, 39mm, 40mm, 44mm, 45mm, 54mm and 55mm.[/learn_more]
Step 6 – Seriously Drawing the first shapes
Now that our grids are in place, we can easily draw our rectangles with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M). Create 8 stripes with the following colors to one single layer. Remember, after you’ve set a foreground color, Alt+Backspace (or Option+Delete on the Mac) fills the selection.
Step 7 – Texts, texts, texts
Great, let’s now add some type to them! Grab the Horizontal Type Tool (T), and set the text color to white, also grab a nice looking font; I’ll use ‘Gill Sans MT’, which should be installed to your system by default. Set 12pts for the font-size and let’s add our texts. Make sure you align them to the right.
When they’re in place, double-click the name’s layer to bring up the Layer Styles window, and let’s add a drop shadow with the following details.
For the remaining three texts, we’ll copy the layer styles and edit them afterwards. Right-click on the name layer, select Copy Layer Style. Then select the other three, right-click on one of them, and click on Paste Layer Style. Now, double-click on each of the layers and edit the colors of the drop shadows:
Green – #538026
Blue – #268080
Gray – #808080
Step 8 – Additional stuff
The left side of the business card will hold additional contact information such as the website URL, or MySpace profile. For these, we need images. Now, I happen to have some pre-made icons for you, which can be downloaded by clicking this link over here. These icons are pre-colored as well, so all you need to do is to import them into your document and position them accordingly. I created vertical guides to 8mm and 10mm to help me align my icons, you may do so as well.
Finally, grab the Type Tool (T), use a decent font (I’ll keep Gill Sans MT), set it to Italic, 10px size, #999999 for the color, and type in some extra contact infos. Make sure you align them nicely to the left.
One last touch to the texts here: Copy the phone number’s layer style (the grey one), and paste it on all four layers here, and edit them one-by-one, setting their color from #808080 to #4C4C4C. And that’s it!
We’ve finally created our modern and stylish business card design in Photoshop. Congratulations! :) I hope you enjoyed the tutorial as much as I did creating it. Of course, the PSD is free to download! See you next time!
Download the PSD for free
Click the button below to download the FREE Modern Business Card PSD!