In this post we are going to talk about producing print ready artwork for a simple business card. Hopefully this should save you both time and money in getting it right first time!



 Here at Lancaster we use the Adobe Creative Suite, in particular a business card we design would generally be created using Adobe InDesign. Many of our customers use other software though, due to the cost of InDesign and the knowledge to use it proficiently. Some possible solutions you could look at are:

CANVA - This is becoming very popular and we haven't experienced any problems from files supplied using Canva.

PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS - Priced at a little under £90 this is a lot cheaper than buying the full version and you can produce great results if used properly.



Whatever you choose this guide remains the same.


Getting Started:

First of all you need to create the correct page size for you to start your design. As we are discussing business cards here, these as standard would be 85mm x 55mm. But we need what we call bleed adding so let's create a document including the bleed 88mm x 58mm.


What is 'Bleed'?

Bleed is a printing term that is used to describe a document which has images or elements that touch the edge of the page, extending beyond the trim edge and leaving no white margin.


Getting the colour right:

There are 2 main colour modes to consider when designing anything. RGB & CMYK. Your computer monitor, phone, tablet whatever device you are reading this blog on uses what is known as RGB (Red, Green and Blue) but when it comes to ink on paper we need your artwork in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black). When printed tiny dots of CMYK are applied to create images or graphics, to the naked eye these produce a vast combination of colours. So before your start your design ensure the colour mode is in CMYK.



We've all seen fuzzy or blurry images when looking at brochures or magazines, this is because the image resolution is too low. When you see an image on a website it is made up from 72 pixels per inch, when viewed on your screen it looks sharp, infocus and fantastic, however, Printing, is much higher resolution at 300 pixels per inch. So those blurred out of focus pictures we see in print are probably images taken from websites. Great on screen but not good when they are printed. So best using high-resolution images for the best result.


Stock Images:

Rather than taking images from your website, have a look at buying stock images for a few pounds, a few sites to consider are:


Adobe Stock

If you purchase images they will use the RGB colour mode (more than likelY) so using a photo-editing programme convert these to CMYK. Next job, is check the resolution, if you open these in Photoshop or equivalent, go to the top menu - IMAGE, then choose IMAGE SIZE. What we need here, is the resolution to be 300 pixels per inch at 100% the size it is going to be used at.


Quiet Zone:

I am sure you have seen examples on business cards when some the bottom of words are actually trimmed off, it does look very unprofessional, so in order for everything to be safe, we suggest keeping all important elements such as text or images that do not go to the edge of the page to be within 5.5mm from all edges. The easiest way of doing this, is using 'GUIDES' set a guide from the left page edge 5.5mm from the left edge, then repeat this at the top, bottom and the right and ensure everything is contained within the smaller area.



There are thousands and thousands of fonts to choose from. If you can't find the font you need then it is worth considering buying or getting your hands on a free font:

DaFont is a very good website for downloading free font's, you need to ensure that the font is available for commercial use though. I would recommend you limiting the fonts to 1 or 2 per design, using ten different fonts can look messy. Once you have finished and ready to move on, ensure you save the artwork and outline all the fonts before getting it Print Ready.


Getting your artwork Print Ready

So, you have created your master piece, followed our guide here and now you need to get this into a format ready for us. To do this, you need to go to Save As or Export, look at these setting carefully. Look for High-Resolution or Print Ready, and you need to convert or save your file as a PDF. 


Getting your PDF to us

Once you have your PDF file, then you need to get it over to us, we will then check it all from a technical point of view, we won't be looking at the aesthetics or looking for any potential spelling errors so ensure you have checked it carefully before sending it to us.


The easiest way, is to simple attach it to an email then send it to '' you will receive a Proof back within 24 hours for you to give it the final once over. Not so much of a concern with a business card but if you are designing a booklet then the final size may be to large to email, anything over 10Mb then I'd recommend you using WeTransfer (free to use). Alternatively you can set the job up from and upload it directly to us.


This is too difficult for me - I'm not technical

That's fine, we can provide a full Graphic Design service, to give you an idea of costings, for a simple business card design that we would create for you would be in the region of £20-£30.


Print Costs

All our print costs are available on our website at


If you need any additional help, templates or advice then we are just a phone call away and happy to help, just give us a ring on 01524 509036.


Time to get your creative juices flowing...