Business cards are easy to distribute and create new opportunities for your brand, so you’ll want to make one that’s creative and represents your mission.
For those with little design experience—or those who need to print a design easily and quickly—check out the top online business card printers to get maximum print quality and value.
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a business card using Adobe Photoshop CS5.
(Note: These steps are the same for most versions of Photoshop, such as CS4 and CS6.)
Step 1: Create New Document
In Photoshop CS5, select “File” ➝ “New.” This will bring up a New File window where you’ll select the properties of your new document. Standard dimensions for a business card are 3.5″ by 2.” Set your resolution to 300, and make sure the color mode is CMYK, and the background contents are Transparent.
Tip: If you do not want to have a white border around your card, you will need to add “bleed.” A bleed for this project would be 0.25″ of extra space around the document, so it can be printed and cut down to the finished size of 3.5″ by 2.” Discuss this with your printer before you finalize your order.
Step 2: Set Your Margins
Now that you have your blank document, set the margins. If you don’t have bleed, you should set your margins at 0.125″ and not put any content outside them. If you do have bleed, you will have your bleed margins, as well as a 0.125″ buffer where you should have no text. This will ensure that no essential information or design is outside the print area.
Go to the “View” menu and select “Rulers.” Click on the ruler on each edge, and drag the blue lines to the appropriate measurements.
Step 3: Create A New Layer
Go to the “Windows” menu and select “Layers.” Click the “Create a New Layer button” at the bottom of the window.
Tip: Use the Windows menu to open the sub menus for Characters, Paragraph, Layers, and more.
Step 4: Background Color
If you want a background color, select the “Paint Bucket” tool. Be sure you have “Layer 2” highlighted.
Step 5. Select Color
To choose the background color for the “Paint Bucket” tool, double click on the “Foreground” Color, which will pull up the “Color Picker” menu. Click anywhere on the slide of colors to choose the shade you want, then click “OK” when you are ready.
With the paint bucket tool still selected, simply click anywhere on the canvas to fill the background with your selected color.
Step 6. Create a Footer
To create a footer background color, simply repeat the steps of creating a new layer. With this new Layer 3 highlighted, use the “Rectangular Marquee” Tool, click and drag to select the area of your footer.
Again, use the “Color Picker” and the “Paint Bucket” tool; click the “Paint Bucket” inside the marquee you created to fill in the footer with your selected color.
Step 7: Insert Text
To insert new text in your document, repeat the steps to create a new layer. Then select the “Horizontal Type” Tool and click on the area of your document you would like to insert the text and start typing.
Tip: To move the text you have just typed, move your cursor down until it changes from a text cursor to an arrow, then click and drag the text.
Step 8. Change Text Color
To change the text color, select the “Text” tool and highlight the text. Go to the “Text Color” box at the top of the screen and double click to pull up the “Color Picker.” The top of the screen will also now display the drop down menus for Font, Font Style, Font Size, and Paragraph Orientation.
Step 9: Insert an Image
To insert an image, such as a logo, go to the “File” menu and select “Place.” This will bring up a browsing window where you can locate the image file you would like to place, select the file, and click “Place.”
Step 10: Re-size Image
Depending on the size of your image, you may need to re-size it to fit on the card. Hover over one corner until you see the double sided arrow. To re-size proportionally, hold the shift key as you click the double arrow and drag to the desired size. To move the image, simply click and drag.
Step 11: Place Image
Now that your image is sized and moved, you are ready to place it. Go to the “Move” Tool (the first tool on the left tool bar) and select it. That will prompt a window asking if you are ready to place the file, click “Place.”
Tip: Once you have placed the file, it automatically creates a new layer. To re-size any layer, you can select that layer and go to “Edit” and “Free Transform.”
Step 12: Tweak Your Design
Now that you have the basics, you can add more elements, create the back side of your business card, and enhance the elements that you have. By double clicking on any layer, you will bring up the “Layer Style” menu, where you can add shadows, glows, outlines, and gradients.
Tip: Whenever you want to make a change to any layer, be sure to have that layer highlighted in the Layers window.
Practice Makes Perfect
Using Photoshop to create business cards will allow you to be creative while producing a finished product that looks professionally polished. As with any software, practice will help you fine-tune your Photoshop skills. Use the menus and the tools to test out Photoshop features, and draw inspiration from other designs to see if you can replicate something for yourself.
Once you have the skills to make a business card, look for a good printer to bring your designs to fruition. You can take your Photoshop knowledge and apply it to other marketing materials for your business.