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Creating a consistent style across your collateral is critical to building a brand identity that allows your customers to instantly recognize your company and distinguish it from others. In this course, designer Steve Harris shows how to design print assets like business cards, letterhead, and envelopes that build brand awareness and catch the reader's attention. Over the course of the design process, he shows how to create a complete package in Adobe InDesign and output it for professional printing.
Let's get started designing our business cards. I'm going to design the card using two pages: a front side and a back side. Let's make sure that we've included all of the important information on the front side of our card and that we've arranged our content appropriately. First of all, in our new document, I'm going to change the units of measure. We were using picas before when we set up the document. However, if I right-click on the ruler, I can set this to Inches. We'll do that for both sides of our ruler.
Now that we've changed our units of measure, let's just look at our pages. We have two sides set up in this document. We're going to use the back side of the card as an area to place less information. We're going to use more visuals there, more graphics. We want this side to be really visually stunning; however, we need to make sure if we're using this method that the front side of the card contains all of the important information, just in case the person you hand your card to doesn't look at both sides or they don't realize that there's more information on the opposite side.
So, let's get started laying out some text. First, I'm going to just color the background of this card. In our Swatches panel, I'll select Brown, and I'll also going to click our stroke and turn that off. You can see that I've dragged this brown background out to the area of our bleeds. Now, when we preview this--we can preview quickly by hitting W--we can see that the bleed area goes away and we're left with just the preview of the card itself.
So, we'll hit W to exit that view, and next, we need to start laying out some text and placing it in our logo. Let's click File > Place, and we'll select our AI logo that we've created earlier, and click Open. Now, we have a loaded cursor. I'm just going to drop it onto our canvas. We can see that it's a little bit big here. So, if I hold down Command and Shift and shrink the box, we can scale it to about the right size, and I'm going to arrange this logo in the top-right corner.
Once we have that in place, let's draw some text. Now, we need to consider the hierarchy of our text on this card. So, what's the most important thing to include at the top? Well, probably your name. So, I'll draw a text box and we'll include the name Sarah Howard. I'll highlight the text, and let's just shrink it down to be about ten point. We'll select our font, which we're going to use PT Sans, Regular, and we'll change it to white.
Now, we can size this text box however we need. I'm just going to size it so it's nice and tight. Next, I'm going to highlight the text and I'm going to set the kerning to Optical. What this does is make sure that there's even spaces between all the letter- forms, and I always prefer this view on almost any block of text I write. Next, I'm going to duplicate this text below, and let's include our title: Creative Director. We'll highlight it. Let's set our font to PT Sans, Bold, and I'm going to change the text color to orange.
Now, this information is still important, but it's not as important as the name, so it might make sense to shrink this down a little bit. Let's choose eight point for this font. We'll double-click to size our frame appropriately and move it up nice and tight below Sarah's name. Now, we may want to just center these elements with the logo to the right-hand side, and notice how I'm aligning the text to the left-hand margin we created. This is just going to make sure that when we do print the card--and we can preview it by hitting W--that it's not right up against the edge and it's not in any danger of being cut off.
Now, I also noticed that our logo here looks a little bit blurry or pixelated. InDesign has the ability to drop the quality of our preview to speed up your workflow. I'm going to change this by clicking View > Display Performance > High Quality Display. There, you can see our logo now as a nice, crisp format. So, let's go ahead and put in the rest of our text for our card. I'm going to reference our final design, and I'm going to copy and paste some of this text in. So, let's copy the email address and the address information.
We'll go back to our other document. I'm going to use Edit > Paste in Place so it appears in the same spot. Now, when we're styling this text, I wanted to style the red30sarah@gmail text a little bit differently from the address information. That's because this is going to change for all the different employees' cards we have on the company. So, I thought it would make sense for this to be a little bit more prominent. It's also something that your potential customers or somebody receiving the card might need to reference often. Lastly, I positioned the address information and the phone number below, and I just left this text unbolded.
It's important, but not as important as the other information above. One thing you want to be careful about when you're laying out your card is not to mix alignment. So, with our address information here at the bottom, if we were to duplicate this over, highlight it, and now align it to the right side, and position it against the right margin, you can see that we have this mixed alignment, and it creates kind of a weird effect. We want to be consistent in our alignment throughout all of our elements, so, let's undo that.
Let's duplicate it over, and let's just leave it lined up under the logo. Now, if we were to add some sort of vertical divider in that space--we'll just color this orange, and I'm going to remove the fill on it and preview this-- we can see that now our text sits a little bit better together. We're not mixing that right and left alignment. And by just using this vertical break, we've created two sections that we can use different content in. So on this side, you may need to include more phones numbers or more address information.
I'm going to delete this out. And lastly, I'm just going to paste in our tagline. The tagline is only one line, and because it uses this different font, the Lobster font, which was our headline font, it stands out a lot more than anything else on the card. To me, the website address is probably the most important piece of information on the card. It really leads our customer to a place where they could view all of our portfolio, access all of our content information, so let's make sure it's nice and prominent.
Lastly, I just want to talk about using a border on your business card design. It's a really dangerous practice. I'll show you why. If I draw a border on this card--and I'll just change the stroke color here to white--it doesn't look bad. In fact, it looks pretty good. However, the issue presents itself when the card is printed and trimmed out. The person doing the trimming may not be 100% accurate when they trim, and it's possible that they could cut it out crookedly or off to one side.
So, what this may look like is you may end up getting your cards back from the printer, and it looks like this. Now, without the border, you wouldn't necessarily notice it that much. However, the border does nothing but accentuate the error. If they cut it out crooked--I'll just undo that--you may see something like this. Even though it's subtle, you can definitely tell that something was done wrong. It's really quite tight on the left-hand side, and there's a much bigger gap on the right.
You can avoid these errors when you're designing your business card by avoiding border elements or these straight lines that are close to any of the edges of the card. Remember, include all of the most important information on one side of the card, just in case you need to print it single-sided or your potential customer doesn't realize that there's information on the other side. Keep text and important information inside the safe boundaries, as you don't want any surprises when the card comes back from the print shop. Now, let's get started building the back of the card.
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