Business Card Designs & Mockups (B7)

Project Introduction

It’s time to get back to business, literally. We will create a set of business cards for our Design Brief, to add to our ever expanding branding. These designs can be challenging for new designers, due to the small canvas you have to work with. The different sizes and small print can be tricky, and cards with too much information can be cramped. Use every tool available to you to produce beautiful, attractive and most importantly, FUNCTIONAL business cards. When you are done, mock them up nicely to show off your work. We will want these mockups later.

You will make at least three two-sided design variations for a standard US Business Card using InDesign. Each design will be unique to one another, but all belong to the same branding techniques. This way, your client will be able to pick the design that suits them best, or offer feedback on what updates or changes they would like to see made to your designs. In addition, make sure that you make use of vertical and horizontal designs to increase variation. By the end of this project, you should be very comfortable with making use of full bleed designs, even better with Photoshop mockups, and even know some places to get downloadable design templates to get started from.

Lastly, you will need to get used to saving your work in lots of formats, in order to showcase them in your portfolio (mockups), as well as send them to the printer correctly in a zip folder that has all the required assets and files for print. Since this is how we would send the files to the printer, is a very important part of the process.

“I strongly suggest you search for terms like “bad business card designs” and “good business card designs“.  Knowing how to spot the differences between what makes a winning card, and a losing card is absolutely crucial.” – GD

Business Card Design Examples

Here you can see I designed three versions of cards for the Forma Design Brief, including a horizontal, vertical and another that is a folded version, for use by the company to insert into shipped purchases (for a discount on next order). All of the mockups have a similar background, scale and use the same fonts, colors and are consistent with the branding that I have been building this far. I did more than three mockups, to show off all the different styles in different ways, so that the client can really get the sense of what I am designing here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Project Requirements & Helpful Links

  • Minimum of 3 Double-Sided design variations of a standard US Business Card (3.5″ x 2″), CMYK Color Mode for print (don’t forget to save out RGB versions for your mockup work!), 300dpi, and built for a full bleed print.
    • A mix of horizontal and vertical designs, with emphasis on consistent brand elements, to ensure they all belong together.
    • Mockups:  Saved and optimized for web, on your portfolio.
      • 1920x1080px, RGB, 72dpi, jpg.
    • Print: Export print ready PDF files, at full print standard, with a downloadable link to your ZIP file on your portfolio, with your mockups.
      • Standard US Size, CMYK, 300dpi, PDF, in a ZIP file that is neatly organized.
      • The ZIP file should contain any custom fonts used in your design, and a folder for each design variation with the front and back files easily locatable.
  • Make sure you find sites that offer templates for you to start from, to make sure that your bleed, crop and safe zones are taken care of from the start! Sites like, or will give you PSD, AI, ID or JPG templates to start with.
  • Your finalized mockups should be posted to your online portfolio, and a link sent to Google+ as well as directly to the Instructor.

Project Grading Rubric

The grade you receive for this project is based on overall creativity, technical perfection, file management, and of course seamless branding for your design brief. Be sure to follow the directions very carefully to make sure that you have created mockups, print files, zip folders, and made all the links correctly for delivery to the Instructor.

Student showcased absolute mastery over the project, and excelled both technically and creatively. Student provided above average business card designs, missed a few requirements either technically or creatively. Student demonstrated an acceptable amount of skill, but could have done better either technically or creatively, or didn’t quite turn the files in correctly. Student followed directions, but provided poor examples of professional business card designs or did a sub-par job of completing the assignment. Student did not follow directions, did not demonstrate proper use of the tools, or did not complete assignment completely.