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If you hire a graphic designer to design some business cards for you, here are a few questions you should ask to make the process go more smoothly.

Where are you printing your business cards?

There are a plethora of options when it comes to printing business cards, including printing the business cards yourself. If your priority is making sure the color matches your brand color exactly, then I would go with offset printing. But if you are a small business owner and more conscious about money, I would go with printing digitally. Another option within digital printing is to get cards printed online. Companies like Moo and Minted specialize in printing business cards.

Printing online

If you decide to go with an online digital printing company, then you can tell your designer which company you have chosen and the designer can then use the templates and guidelines set forth by that company to prepare the artwork.

Printing at a local printer

If you decide to print at a local printer then here are a few pieces of information to gather in order for your designer to prepare your files appropriately.

What is the size of the final business card?

Business card sizes vary from country to country. Ask your printer what size the final business card will be cut to. Also ask your printer if the artwork should include a bleed or not, and the amount of bleed needed. Cutting business cards is not an exact science and if artwork is too close to the edge then it has the chance of being cut off. Another design element to avoid is to put a thin rectangular frame too close to the edge—any slight mistake in cutting will make spacing issues around a thin frame look horrendous.

What colorspace does the artwork need to be?

Generally, artwork for print is prepared in CMYK colorspace and artwork for the screen is prepared in an RGB colorspace. However, there are times when printers will ask for the artwork in an RGB colorspace even for a print job. Check with your printer to see if there is a preferred color mode. If unsure, then I would go with CMYK for your local printer.

Which file format does the printer need?

Printers vary in which file formats they prefer. Some printers prefer PDFs because they are editable. If you give the printer a PDF make sure your designer also provides you with the fonts used or has the fonts outlined in case the printer needs to make some changes. If the printer asks for a JPG then make sure you also know the color mode and size of the JPG required.

So have fun with your new business cards and don’t forget to tell your designer the following:

  • where you are printing the business cards
  • size of artwork (including bleed size)
  • colorspace (RGB or CMYK)
  • file format