Join Steve Harris for an in-depth discussion in this video File setup and considerations for business cards, part of Developing Brand Identity Collateral.
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When you're setting up your business card, you'll need to consider a variety of things in your design. These may include how you're going to print them, meaning a digital printer versus a printing press, what kind of paper you're printing on, whether you're printing on both sides or the front, etc. Here's how I set up the Red 30 business cards. First, let's open a new document in InDesign. We need to make some settings in our New Document dialog here. First of all, we can change the preset if we have a preset already set.
I'm going to create this from scratch. Next, we'll leave the Intent set as Print. This means it's going to be a high-resolution file. The other options would be Web or Digital Publishing. I'm going to set our Number of Pages at two. This is because I'm going to do a front and a back to the card. We'll turn off Facing Pages. Facing Pages is used for books where you've got a left and a right side that makes a full spread, but these are individual designs. Next, we're going to change our Page Size. InDesign, by default, uses picas.
You can see that we have here 51 picas and 0 points. I know that six picas equals one inch, but I'm not even going to use that unit of measure. In our Width, let's just type in 3.5 and let's just put double quotation mark for inches. When we click out of that box, InDesign automatically changes it to picas. We'll set our default to inches later on in the video. Next, we'll set our Height to 2 inches. Now, when we click out of the box, it changes as well, and InDesign has detected that this Page Size is commonly used for U.S. business card.
We didn't need to manually enter those in. We could have clicked on the dropdown and selected US Business Card, as it is a preset in InDesign. Next, we can set the Orientation of our card. So, if we want a portrait orientation or a vertical card, we'd select the Portrait button, and you can see the width and the height flip. We're going to leave this set at Landscape. I'm not going to use any columns in this design, since we don't have a ton of text. We'll leave our Columns just set at 1, the default. Lastly, I'm going to turn on some margins.
We want to use margins as a safe area for printing. So when your card is professionally printed, it's possible if you place text too close to the edge, it might get cut off when they trim out the cards. So, let's just go ahead and set a 0.25 inches margin all the way around. By ensuring that the Make All setting is the same kind of chain icon here is selected, once I entered in one box, it's going to change throughout all the boxes. Now, we can select More Options here, and this is going to give us the options for our bleed and a slug.
I'm not going to use a slug, but if we're professionally printing this card and we want to use a bleed, which means we want colors to extend off the edges of the card, we'll need to set up a bleed. Depending on the size of your file, your printer might request a different print bleed size. But for a business card, I'm going to use one-eighth of an inch, which is 0.125 inches. I'll enter it in the first box and when I click to the next box, they've all automatically updated. Now, we'll click OK. You can see our file is set up here as we hoped.
The red line is the bleed line. This is the area that's going to be cut off. The black line is our actual document edges, so this is the actual edge of the card. The purple line inside is our margins. This line is not going to show up when we print, but we can use this as a guide for our text, and let's just make sure not to place anything outside of this margin. Finally, we could load in our swatches. Let's bring out our Swatch palette, click Load Swatches, and select the colors we set up earlier.
Now, we have our Red 30 Orange and Brown colors ready to go, and we can get started with our design. Setting up your file properly is important for your cards be printed and trimmed out by a professional printer. There is nothing worse than designing a beautiful card only to get them back from the printer to find out that an important piece of information has been cut off, or you have a thin white line around the outer edge because you didn't include a bleed on the file. Spending some extra time on this step could save you money and precious time reprinting in the end.
- Setting up file dimensions and resolutions
- Using consistent fonts
- Creating custom swatches
- Designing the front and back of a business card
- Integrating a logo in designs
- Outputting files for proofing and printing
- Finding branding inspiration