Which Tool Should You Use to Design Your Next Business Card?

Business Cards are an essential tool for exchanging contact information. Customize your business card and be remembered. Make it dull and you’ll be disregarded.

The quality of the business card shows the quality of the business. Designing a professional business card can be relatively simple with some creative tools.


Photoshop or Illustrator?

Photoshop and Illustrator are the software giants of digital design applications. It’s important to understand what both of them do and where their strengths lie. In some areas, the lines between the two applications can be blurred in terms of features and capability.

Photoshop was built to edit pictures and images. Illustrator was built for vector design including shapes, icons, and typography. While they are both very capable of creating business cards, the optimal application depends on the style and model of your design.

Business Card Design in Photoshop

Consider whether your business card consists of a lot of photography. This could include images on the card or any sort of background image. In the case you will be editing photos and images in your design, it would probably be best to consider using Photoshop. Along with image editing, Photoshop still allows you to add shapes and typography to your design.

Below are some examples of business cards that could be created in Photoshop.

The Emporium cards on the left have a background image on the front and back, the Remax cards in the middle have an image of an agent on the front, and the K-Line cards on the right have a landscape banner image on the back.

Each of these sets of business cards includes images that likely needed to be cropped, scaled and have other applied effects for appearance.

While these business cards could have been created in Illustrator, Photoshop provides simple editing tools that are specific for images that make the designing process much easier.

Business Card Design in Illustrator

If your business card has a basic layout involving a logo, shapes, text, and colors then Illustrator is your best option.

Designing in illustrator is nice because it allows you to work with vector graphics that aren’t limited by the number of pixels on the screen. Instead, curves, edges, lines, and shapes are determined mathematically. This means you can scale up your design to whatever size you want without increasing the file size and still maintain a clean, sharp look for your business card.

Below are some examples of business cards that could be created in Illustrator.

The business cards above each have a collection of different shapes, icons, and text fonts. Illustrator features a collection of tools that allow you to create complex shapes with simple editing tools. Bezier curves, sharp edges, and other dynamic paths can be created in simplicity that would otherwise be more difficult to replicate in Photoshop.

Flattening Your Design

Both Photoshop and Illustrator work with layers. Whatever program you use, once you have finalized your design, you will want to export your file in a flattened format. The reason for this is that when saving your work as a multi-layered file, Adobe might change some features of your design like the font since not all typekits are available on all printers.

Flattening your final design ensures you’re not surprised by any changes made by a printer that didn’t feature your desired font or other settings.

Once your business card design is complete, in Photoshop, simply click on the Layer tab in the navigation menu (whether or not you have a layer selected) and select Flatten Image towards the bottom of the drop-down menu. This will flatten your design into a single layer that you can then export for printing.

Illustrator follows a similar process but requires a few more steps. When you’re ready to export, go to File > Save As to give your document a new name before flattening your image. This will allow you to go back and make any edits to the previous file. Next, go to the Select tab at the top of the navigation bar and click Select All, next go to Object > Flatten Transparency.

You can now export your file as a PDF for printing.

In the end, Photoshop is best for editing photos, and Illustrator is best for creating shapes, icons and other geometric graphics. While they can both be used to create business cards very well, the best application to use depends on the style and model of your design.

For more information, please visit our Business Cards page.

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