Design Professional Business Cards in 7 Easy Steps

Design Professional Business Cards in 7 Easy Steps
  • SumoMe

Do you want to save some money and design your own professional business cards? The following tutorial will take you through the necessary steps for setting up a template, adding a background with a nice glow effect, and adding text. Of course, you can choose your own colors, font, and other design choices, but this tutorial should show you how to set up a design for simple business cards and get it ready to send to the printer.

Step 1

Open Photoshop. Create a new document with a width of 4.5 inches and a height of 3 inches. This size will allow for you to bleed your background beyond the final business card size. This way your business card will have graphics that seamlessly cover the edges. At this point, be sure to also set your Resolution to at least 300 pixels per inch. You will need to convert to the CMYK color mode before sending to print, but for now we need to use RGB. Certain effects we will be using are not available in CMYK.

new document specifications

Step 2

Now you will need to set up the guidelines before beginning the actual design. Make sure your rulers are showing; if not, go to View and click on Rulers. With the Move Tool selected, click on the side ruler of the document and drag along the document to “draw out” a new guideline. Release the mouse to drop the guide into place.

drag for guidelines

Then set guidelines as shown in the image below. For the horizontal guides, click on the top ruler and drag down the document.

placement of guides

For reference, the outside lines are your bleed lines, where you want to extend the background and graphics. The middle lines are where the printer will trim your card to size. The inside lines are the safety lines; you will want to keep any text and other important graphics you do not want cut off inside of these safety lines.

Step 3

To create the background, begin by first creating a new layer. Click on the Create a new layer icon in the bottom of your Layers palette (to open Layers, go to Window>Layers).

create new layer

Double click on your Foreground Color icon and enter #d57815. Then change your Background Color to #ef9d0e. Remember that you can use whatever color you desire, not just those used in this tutorial.

choose colors

Select the Paint Bucket Tool, and click on your document. The guidelines you created should still show on top of your colored background.

color the background

Step 4

Now go to Filter>Render>Lighting Effects. Use the same settings as in the image below or play around with the oval handles to create a unique lighting effect for your business cards.

lighting effects

Step 5

Next you may want to add texture. You can look up free textures online if desired, or download the following pattern that I created from a metal texture I found from

background texture

Simply save the image above or your chosen texture onto your desktop. Then open the texture in Photoshop. Hit Ctrl+A to select the entire texture, then hit Ctrl+C to copy it. Now go back to your business card document, create a new layer, and hit Ctrl+V. You should now see the texture on top of your background.

add texture

To fade your texture, first change the Fill box in your upper right corner of your Layers palette to 30%. Then select Overlay from the drop down menu in the upper left corner of your Layers palette.

lighten texture

Step 6

Now we will add text. Create a new layer and choose the Horizontal Type Tool. Choose your font, size, and color using the type toolbar at the top of the page; this tutorial is simply using Arial so you will probably want to choose something a bit more unique.

type toolbar

Then type your first line of text. If you do not like your font style, simply highlight the text using the Type Tool and dragging across the text. Then make the changes in the toolbar.

first line of text

For each line of text, make sure to create a new layer. This way you can easily move them around. Keep in mind that you will need to click on the Move Tool and click on another area of the screen before creating a new layer to deselect your most recent line of text. Or you could simply click on another layer. Your text may look something like my following example:

all text added

Step 7

Now you only need to get your business card ready for print! First of all, make sure to save a copy of your design so that you can later edit your business card if needed. Then in your Layers palette, click on the drop down menu and choose Flatten Image. All of your layers should now be merged into a single layer.

flatten image

Finally, you need to change your color mode to CMYK. Go to Image>Mode and select CMYK Color. If a box appears asking your permission, click OK. Be sure to save this flattened version in the format your printing company requires (JPEG, PDF, etc) and you are done!


Keep in mind that you can arrange your layout, choose colors, and add effects in the manner you desire. This tutorial, though, should give you the basic guidelines necessary for creating great business cards in no time at all.


final blue

final green


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Tara Hornor

Tara Hornor

Tara Horner writes about graphic design and marketing trends for design contest marketplace DesignCrowd
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  • Online TV

    Pretty neat and timely post. You can do a lot with this if you use your imagination (asides from changing the colors and patterns).


    Tara Hornor Reply:

    Thanks, Online TV! I am hoping that this tutorial gives beginners some simple tools that they can use to create their own design, basically use their imaginations as you suggest.


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  • Ayden @ Look At BigCommerce

    Hey Tara, I’ll leave this to the experts. I’ve tried this one before but I failed miserably! :(
    Thanks for the info. I’m sure someone with a little better design and common sense skills will be able to put it to good use.


    Tara Hornor Reply:

    Ayden, I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you! Is there anything specific I may be able to explain better?


  • suraj

    Nice tutorial! I think if we used some attractive fonts then it will look more attractive.


    Tara Hornor Reply:

    Yes, I greatly encourage using a different font, something more unique. I chose Times New Roman simply for it’s easy formatting and readability, but every company needs to choose something that matches their brand and is much more original than Times New Roman. Thanks for pointing this out!


  • inspirationfeed

    Great tutorial, retweeted!


    Tara Hornor Reply:

    Awesome! Thanks!


  • Gonzo the Great

    … eeehr?! Buzzcard design in PHOTOSHOP, .. ya must be kidding (deadly sin no.1)?

    Please .., next time do it right and make a tutorial for a vector-based software-prog! Cheers & Ciao ..


    Tara Hornor Reply:

    I know that many designers prefer to create business cards in Illustrator because of the helpful packaging features. However, there are many business owners out there who only own Photoshop or are more comfortable with Photoshop. Then there are designers who begin in Illustrator and finish in Photoshop, so it could be argued that which program you use is simply a matter of preference. Thanks for sharing!


    Gonzo the Great Reply:

    Hi Tara,

    thanks for your reply, but really there’s just one kind of software that is suitable for buzzcards, logo design, etc. – and that is vector-based software (I preferably use Illustrator)

    If business owners don’t have Illustrator or don’t know how to work with it, please hire a professional designer! It will save you a lot of money and troubles when you want to (offset) print your buzzcards!

    Cheers & Ciao ..


    Creative Director Reply:

    Not true I have worked for a printing company before and I have seen a lot of great things printed designed in PS. I would use AI first but some people like using PS. If you use PS the only thing that can go wrong is the text is not clean but @ 300 res you should be good to go, which must things print are 300 res.

    Peter Reply:

    Yeah have to disagree as well. I’m far from being a professional designer but have been a hobbyist designer for several years and have produced many BCs for myself and friends using just PS with no trouble. I think for people that know PS it’s not necessary to learn new software such as AI, unless perhaps you’re looking to create some fancy vector logos and such. Thanks for the tutorial, Tara!

    Tara Hornor Reply:

    Thanks, Peter!

    @Creative Director – Thanks for reminding to use 300dpi, and the warning about fonts. Great pointers!

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  • Postcard

    Tara makes some valid points here and definitely some that i’ll take on board.