Using Psychology in Your Business Card Design

Using Psychology in Your Business Card Design

Business cards are one of the most important tools in B2B marketing. From making that first impression with a potential new client at your next industry conference, to tying up the end of a meeting with a simple, professional touch; business cards are one of the most affordable and important marketing tools available. Yet, business cards can be tricky. A poor design, a flimsy paper stock or even the careless choice of typography can often have disastrous consequences with potential clients.

So how can you ensure that your business cards meet the expectations of your potential clients? Well, when designing a business card, just like any marketing campaign, it is essential that it meets the needs and wants of your target market. Thus, when designing your business card, this will involve considering the psychology of each of the elements that make up a quality business card.


One of the most important elements of a business card is colour. Colour will generally make up the base of your design and will also play an important role in helping you send the message you want your potential client to perceive. Now, for most people, you'll simply utilise colours from your logo or business design, but for net-workers, freelancers or the modern business professional, designing your business card with colour psychology in mind can make your business card a highly targeted marketing tool. Consider business cards designed in shades of blue or purple for example; these colours induce trust and help the client to associate your business with confidence and prestige. Perfect for anyone working in the financial sector or an industry where credibility rises above all others. Alternatively, if you're working in the financial sector you may want to avoid using an abundance of white on your design. As a colour white, although often associated with clean and quality, can often be perceived as cheap or simplistic. Not the message you want to send to potential clients. For more on colour psychology read this article.

Paperstock and Finish

Another important element you have to consider when designing your business card is the paperstock. Although sight and the general layout of the card will play the most important role in your design, how often do you get the chance to impress clients through the touch and feel of your cards? Ditch the flimsy cardstocks and invest in a higher quality paperstock with a particular finish, as this will show your client that you're willing to invest in the relationship. Look for certain glossy finishes that can create a sense of the card gliding through the hands. This is the perfect way to give the impression that you're easy to work with. Alternatively, to help the client perceive elements of prestige and quality, look for soft touch options that create a soft, sensual touch to the card, exuding luxury.

Typography/ Suggested Image

Font and typeface can also play a huge role in a quality business card. Not only do you want to choose a font that is easy to read, but you will also want a typeface that corresponds with the certain characteristics your potential client would like to perceive. Take a Script font like Clicker Script for example, if you had to describe the character of clicker script what would jump to mind? For me, flair, royalty, excitement. If they capture the idea you want a potential client to perceive, then go with it. Alternatively, take a graphic designers best friend, Helvetica font, known for its simplicity, quality of print and clean font. Although the font may lack flair and excitement, this font would be perfect for someone providing freelance writing services, as it brings to mind simplicity, quality and cleanliness. When choosing a font try to go with your first instinct, but always think carefully before making a final decision.


One of the first elements you may think about when mulling over your business card design is the shape of the card. Back in the day, rectangle standard cards were all the rage, but today you can have a business card in nearly every shape and size. The important thing to keep in mind is the type of vibe which the shape will give off to your potential clients. Take Square Business cards for example, they may seem like a simple, yet fun way to stand out, but as a versatile marketing tool, do they help your client associate your business in a trusting or confident light? Probably not. Alternatively, say you're a freelance graphic designer for example, no doubt you want to help clients perceive creativity and excitement from the moment they see your design, so perhaps the square business card or something even more eccentric may be ideal for you.

With these ideas in mind, take a glance at the next business card you receive. What does the colour say to you? Did the paperstock make you sit up and pay attention, or did it simply get stuck in the pack? What vibe or character can you perceive from the typography?

The idea behind these tips is to make you think carefully about your design. Most people won't. They'll possibly choose a simple template or outsource the design to a department or friend who doesn't really understand their business or clients needs. Apply the basics of colour, paper and shape psychology and take a psychological stance to creating your business cards.