Create a Slick Business Card Design with Stunning Typography

Create a Slick Business Card Design with Stunning Typography

Whatever profession you’re in, there’ll come a time when you’ll need your own business card. This graphic design tutorial will show you a way to create a standard two-sided business card design in Adobe Photoshop that you can take to your printer.

Final Result

Final ResultClick image to enlarge.

Set up the Photoshop canvas

1 Open a new Photoshop document that is 3.75 x 2.25 inches. Make the resolution 300 pixels per inch and set the color mode to 8-bit CMYK. A typical business card is 3.5 x 2 inches; however, to optimize the card for printing, there needs to be a quarter of an inch space along each edge called a bleed. Whatever is located in this area will not be shown in the final print.

Apply a radial gradient overlay

2 Fill the canvas with a radial gradient overlay. To add a gradient overlay layer style, double-click on the Background layer, make it editable and then double-click on it again to open the Layer Styles dialog box. Check the box beside Gradient Overlay, and in the Styles option dropdown, select Radial. Use white for the lighter, innermost color, and #c6c5c5 for the darker, gray color.

Apply a radial gradient overlay

Apply a radial gradient overlay

Creating the red warped rectangle shape

3 With the Rectangle Tool (U) from the Toolbox, draw a long, thick rectangle on the canvas like shown in the following figure. The color doesn’t matter since we will be applying a layer style to it.

Creating the red warped shape

4 With the rectangle shape layer selected in the Layers Panel, push Ctrl + T to enter Free Transform Path mode (alternatively, go to Edit > Free Transform Path) and right-click inside the transform box that appears. Choose Warp from the contextual menu, and from the Warp Options bar, choose Rise as Wrap type dropdown menu. Warp the rectangle shape using the transform controls until you have something similar to this.

Creating the red warped shape

5 Apply a linear gradient layer style to the warped shape. Use #841618 for the darker color in the gradient and #e82d33 for the lighter color. Once that’s done, use the Move Tool (V) to move the shape near the bottom of the canvas.

Create a Slick Business Card Design with Stunning Typography

Create a Slick Business Card Design with Stunning Typography

6 Duplicate the rectangle shape by pushing Ctrl + J on your keyboard. Then drag the duplicated layer below the original layer to move it behind. On this new duplicated shape layer, apply a linear gradient overlay layer style to the new shape. Use black (#000000) for the darkest color and #2b2b2b for the lighter color. Use the Move Tool (V) on this duplicated warp layer to move it so that only some parts of the top is showing.

Create a Slick Business Card Design with Stunning Typography

Create a Slick Business Card Design with Stunning Typography

Creating the person’s name

7 Use the Horizontal Type Tool (T) and type "John" and "Smith" (or your own first and last name) in black on two different layers near the upper left corner of the canvas. Use 25 pt, bold, Myriad Pro for "John" and 25 pt, Myriad Pro Condensed for "Smith". This font family comes with newer versions of the Windows operating system, but if you do not have this font, use something clean and professional (a sans serif font family will do the trick).

Creating the person's name

8 Apply a gradient overlay and stroke layer style to "John" text layer. On the gradient overlay, use #df1f26 for the lighter red color and #811517 for the darker color.

Creating the person's name

9 Also apply a Stroke layer style on both the "John" and "Smith" text layers. The stroke size is 1px and its position should be Outside. For the Fill Type stroke setting, choose Gradient from the dropdown menu. The gradient used for the stroke can be found in the Metals gradient preset, to access it, click on the rightward pointing arrow in the Presets box inside the Gradient Editor dialog box, this will show a contextual menu where you should be able to find Metals. Replace the dark gray color stops with the color #838484. For the "Smith" layer, just apply the same stroke settings, but don’t apply the gradient overlay.

Stroke Preset

Creating the person's name

Creating the person's name

Creating a text dropshadow

10 Select both name text layers in your Layers Panel (hold down Shift and click on each on of them) and duplicate the selected layers by right-clicking, and choosing Duplicate Layers from the contextual menu that appears.

11 Right-click on these new duplicated layers and choose Rasterize Type from the contextual menu that appears. Right-click once again and choose Merge Layers to combine them into just one layer. Push Ctrl + T to enter Free Transform mode and shrink this layer vertically using the transform controls until you have something similar to shown. This will become the text shadow.

Creating a text dropshadow

12 Double-click on the text shadow layer to enter the Layer Styles dialog box. Apply a black (#000000) color overlay to the text shadow layer and move it behind the original name layers.

Creating a text dropshadow

13 Apply Gaussian Blur by going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the blur Radius to 4px. Then, set the layer’s opacity in the Layers Panel to 30%.

Creating a text dropshadow

You should have something similar to this:

Creating a text dropshadow

Creating the text reflection

14 Duplicate the original name layers again. Rasterize and merge the duplicated layers like before (see Step 11). Push Ctrl + T to enter Free Transform mode, right-click inside the transform box that appears, and choose Flip Vertical from the contextual menu. Move this layer just a few pixels underneath the original text on the canvas using the Move Tool (V) and your arrow keys. Select this layer in the Layers Panel, and then drag it behind the original name layers and shadow layer. This will become the text reflection.

Creating the text reflection

15 Get the Gradient Tool (G) from the Tools Panel. In the Gradient Tool Options bar, choose the gradient preset called Foreground to Transparent and select Linear as the Style setting. Set your foreground color to black (you can do this by simply pressing D on your keyboard to reset the foreground and background color to the default). Make sure the reflection layer is the active layer in the Layers Panel, and then press Q on your keyboard to enter Quick Mask mode. Drag the gradient from the top of the reflection layer to the bottom, then press Q once again to exit Quick mask mode. A selection will appear. Press the Delete key five times on your keyboard, then Ctrl + D to end the selection.

Creating the text reflection

Creating the text reflection

Creating the text reflection

16 Change the reflection layer’s opacity to 20% to finish off the text reflection.

Creating the text reflection

Entering the rest of the business card information

17 In black (#000000), bold Myriad Pro, type "marketing expert" (or your own job title) under the name on your canvas using the Horizontal Type Tool (T).

Entering the rest of the business card information

18 Off to the right of the name, type some of the things you specialize in (see example in the figure below) using black, 9pt, bold, Myriad Pro Condensed Italic. Each line should be a distinct text layer.

Entering the rest of the business card information

19 Type the contact information below the previous layers. Use Myriad Pro bold for the beginning word and Myriad Pro Condensed Italic for the following words.

Entering the rest of the business card information

20 With the Line Tool from the Toolbox, draw a small 2px vertical line on your canvas to the left of the information that was just typed.

Entering the rest of the business card information

The back of the card

21 To make the back of the card, first turn the visibility off in all the text layers, leaving only the business card background. Select the entire canvas by pressing Ctrl + A (or Select > All). Choose Edit > Copy Merged (Shift + Ctrl + C).

22 Now, Create a new document (Ctrl + N) with the same settings as the front of the card. Paste the copied selection into the new document. Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal to flip it so that it’s oriented a different way as the back of the business card.

The back of the card

23 Add your company name and website using the text effect techniques we’ve discussed above. You can use Steps 7 – 16 for the company name.

The back of the card

Share your own work on Flickr

If you followed along the tutorial, we’d like to see what you ended up with. Please include it in the Six Revisions community group pool on Flickr.

Your thoughts? Need help?

What did you think about this tutorial? How was the difficultly level? Did you get stuck on any part? Please let us know in the comments.

Download Source Files

Related Content

About the Author

Dave Martinez is an internet entrepreneur living in Dallas, Texas.  He is the current owner of Card Observer, a blog exclusively for business card design. Submit your own business card through his site and show it off. Also, you can connect with Dave by following him on Twitter.

This was published on Dec 9, 2009


Dear SixRevisions:

When everything is stunning, nothing is stunning.


TwoSocks Dec 09 2009

Creating a business card in photoshop that is actually going to go to the printer is a bad idea, photoshop is an excellent program but you have to acknowledge it’s limits, and one of its limits is the vector side of printing.

You could very well send this card to print and indeed it would print but if you compared this to the exact same card made in InDesign the difference is like night and day!

A better options is to design your business cards in InDesign in the first place, if you have special effects that you want to achieve that only PS can give you then create those elements only in PS and place them in InDesign. As a printer we see plenty of artwork submitted to us and those that preform best are create in a layout program specifically setup for print like InDesign.

If you still feel you must create your artwork in PS remember to always ‘convert to shape’ any text in your document, so at the very least the fonts remain sharp on a web printer, create you document with the bleeds to begin with, and ensure you stay clear of Photoshop Black, instead choose either k100 for text or a rich black for larger areas c45, k100

Jenna Molby Dec 09 2009

Great tutorial, thank you!

Alan Houser Dec 09 2009

It’s not good practice AT ALL/EVER to use hex colors on business card designs, especially when you’re in CMYK. If you’re using hex values, you’re doing it wrong. Sorry to dis, but you will NEVER get the colors you expect, because hex colors are for on-screen display only.  

dayna Dec 09 2009


I agree with you on all of your points; however, I think InDesign is overkill for just one card. Illustrator is sufficient. I would never go with photoshop though.

schmackLab Dec 10 2009

It looks great on screen but the gradients and drop shadows will look terrible in print. Especially at 2×3.5

Prova Dec 10 2009

What? Learn to use a DTP program or do it in Illustrator.

Freddy Dec 10 2009

stunning typography? not sure about that

Ted Goas Dec 10 2009

I love Six Revisions, don’t get me wrong. But stunning typography?? I got my hopes up when I saw this headline only to be let down by an ordinary design.

krike Dec 10 2009

ordinary maybe but still great. I posted my results in the six revision flickr group

Johnny Dec 10 2009

Nice tutorial! I strongly recommend Overnight Prints for ordering business cards. They have great prices.

Windy May Dec 10 2009

Agreed re: Typography. I was expected something a little more extraordinary – but the type treatment makes for a great tutorial.

I would have used Illustrator for this – suppose it’s a matter of personal preference.

Overall nice work.

Rick Ramirez Dec 10 2009

Great Tutorial, Designing business cards in Photoshop is ok, But I never recommend to my clients. Illustrator is the best way to go.

Skip2vj Dec 10 2009

Great Tutorial.Can i Use this one? :)

Savannah W Dec 10 2009

Thanks for the tutorial… If you save your Photoshop creations that are 100% vector (like this one) as an EPS, your printer will be much happier with you.

However, most people who would refer to a blog-how-to on how to design a business card would most likely use an online printer — most of which accept JPEGs.

emoracket Dec 11 2009

Howdi!!Love this tutorial…

Not to come down too hard here, but “Stunning Typography?” “Stunning Photoshop Effects,” maybe, but the typography is far from stunning. “Designers” ought to know the difference between typography and visual effects.

Shane Jeffers Dec 11 2009

Hey Jacob when you click on the image in this post from the homepage you get a 404 error. Just letting you know. Great post btw!

This was a really great post!
Tutorials are always really useful.
Thanks for sharing this!

Austin Dec 24 2009

This definitely isn’t stunning typography. The reflection is overused so much that it makes the card look pretty amateur. I’d say that the clean design of the card is much better than the typography, maybe the focus should have been put on that instead.

boris Jan 15 2010

Combining reflections and shadows is a bad idea imo. Overall, pretty amateurish…

Ben Stokes Jan 16 2010

Nice tutorial – very easy to follow – Thank you for sharing

Davide Scalzo Jan 23 2010

Your tutorials are always very useful, i learn something every time, thank you!

pakaworld Mar 15 2010

That is the way to write tut. Thank you so much for this.
The card look simple and awesome. I will make my own soon with this simple steps. I normally us coraldraw to design cards but not photoshop so am going to try it for now.

Hi, I m new here..but I like u r work very much.thanks

Ram Krishna Shrestha Apr 18 2010

It’s coooolll..

Gooya IT May 10 2010

is lerning very good

Hossein May 10 2010

hey very very good

ipad case May 12 2010

it’s cool soft. i will test it..thanks for share it

Jakob May 15 2010

Thanks for some tips about Illustrator I didn’t know before :)

Visitenkarten Jul 12 2010

Thanks, Dave. Your article teached me some real new aspects of creating finest business cards.

Martins Jul 24 2010

Thanks for this wonderful tutorial.

sabah Sep 02 2010


Amarnath Sep 11 2010

Though its always advisable to create a business card in a layout program like Indesign, its always possible to make it look high quality by adhereing to certain vector graphic design practises. Thanks

designedbyjackie Sep 23 2010

I agree with most posters. In this particular case and this particular card, i would probably do it all in Illustrator. Same for the color i would use only CMYK colors instead of hex. Hex is great for web but not for print.

The only time i use photoshop in the business card creation is when the client wants a image as a background, then i simply edit the image or fix colors and so forth, then bring that image into Illustrator and then do all the type in Illustrator. Then convert all the text to outlines.

Then export as AI, EPS, and PDF

Mark Card Jan 14 2011

I think the logo reflection will look nicer on a card with a gloss/coated finish.

avigill Mar 04 2011

good work, thanks

ops, i wish i see this post earlier…

we just finished some work about business card design…


Skweekah Jun 20 2011

Dayna, why would never go with photoshop to design this? It can be achieved.

Laura Jun 27 2011

Great tutorial, thanks

solomon Aug 09 2011

I love the tutorial but it’s boring getting started. All the same thank you and kudos to you and your team.

Moskan Aug 10 2011

I like this tutorial.


Jerry Lee Sep 03 2011

As an ex-print designer, we were required to always send vector images and for good reason. This is a nice looking card, but I would recommend pulling any images into Illustrator and then get your fonts and lines.
Thanks for the tut. It’s a lot easier to leave a comment than it is to have the guts to build a tutorial. Kudos.

Carlos E. Quevedo Sep 08 2011

Actually this is my first business card I had done and I am very happy with all I had learned in just one tutorial.
Thank you I will check the other tutorials.

Khayelihle Tshuma Sep 27 2011

This is a great tut..Jerry is right, Its easier to leave comments than do a tut..Id suggest all the other “design gurus” with the suggestions do their own tut with their preferences…But thanks to evry1..

billah65 Oct 20 2011

nice and attractive card. thanks for this design

Judson Nov 08 2011

I went over step 15 many times. I can’t get the reflection to fade out on the reflected bottom half. I’ll just keep at it for now…

Great tutorial..thanks!

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