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Business Card Design Starter Kit: Showcase, Tutorials, Templates – Smashing Magazine

Professionals in any field should always keep business cards on them because you never know when you’ll meet a potential client, partner or like-minded person. Despite their small size, business cards are one of the most powerful and handiest marketing tools. Not only do they create a link between you and your new contact, they’re also a quick way to give a great first impression. Business cards promote your skills and achievements and serve as a little container for big ideas.

Don’t underestimate the process of designing business cards; a well-made card does not just share your contact details: it generates further sharing and buzz. Like any self-promotion tool, designing a business card requires solid brainstorming and careful implementation to get the best effect.

Further Readingon SmashingMag: Link

This post targets a diverse audience. It features a collection of remarkable business card designs that could help you in your search for creative ideas. The round-up of fresh tutorials and business card templates further down might come in handy for those who don’t have the skills or experience to design their own.

Showcase Of Original And Memorable Business Cards Link

Letterpress Cards Link

Letterpress printing has actually been the only form of printing text and images since it was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. Because of its distinctive qualities, such as crisp and tangible impression onto paper, letterpress work is now widely used for branding and identity development. Letterpress gives stronger visual definition to type and artwork and has a special touch, which is why it’s a popular technique for business card printing. Below you can see some beautiful examples of letterpress business cards.

John Henry Donovan5
On this business card, the fine design created by Irish designer and developer John Henry Donovan6 is complemented by the printer’s excellent choice of paper and inking.

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Greg Anderson8
This card works because of the stylish dirty texture, good use of color and, of course, letterpress. Designed by Thomas Guy.

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Chris Piascik10
The funky typography of freelance graphic designer Chris Piascik11 is set off well by the letterpress work on his business card.

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Space 15013
This stylish letterpress business card was designed for the creative agency Space150 by designer Evan Nagan. The card is part of the agency’s periodic general redesign, which it conducts every 150 days. The elegant constellation theme and high-quality letterpress printing make for an excellent card.

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White Rabbit14
This card promotes the portfolio of the German photographer Florian Muller (aka the White Rabbit). The use of the negatives pattern incorporates the card owner’s occupation well, and the surface is enhanced by an embossed rabbit.

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One in Zero16
The business card of Hong Kong-based idea firm OneinZero is minimalist: the focus is on the letterpress type and paper texture.

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Christian Garibaldi
The effective combination of blind and ink debossing, along with the subtle coloring along the edge, makes for a clean and exquisite business card that perfectly conveys the aesthetic of the photographer’s online portfolio.

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Montage 18
Dallas Graham of Montage Creative has a simple and strong business card.

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Paper Monkey Press20
Some filigree letterpressing is evident on the card of Paper Monkey Press21.

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Second World Design
The guys over at Second World took their branding very seriously, resulting in the clean beautiful letterpress card you see below.

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Kinetic Lens23
This card was designed by photographer Riley Maclean for his company Kinetic Lens24. Combining various letterpress techniques and a great set of red tones, this business card has a multi-dimensional feel. It’s printed on thick 220-pound-bond cotton paper.

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Laura Moretz26
A good use of letterpress on the front and back of this card and the labels make this card memorable. It’s printed on French Speckletone #140 stock.

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23rd And 5th28
Here is a beautiful business card showing fine typography and two-color letterpress. It was designed for the staff of the 23rd & 5th branding agency. This business card for the Director of Development features a QR code that drives contacts to a dedicated mobile website optimized for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android.

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Die-Cut Business Cards Link

Something else that determines a business card’s memorability and appeal is shape. Today many individuals, businesses and organizations die-cut their cards, going beyond traditional dimensions. Die-cutting is an effective way to make a business card eye-catching, unique and even interactive. But remember that a die-cut card should still be compact enough to fit in a standard wallet or card holder. Alternatively, you could suggest some other way to carry or hold your card. Some noteworthy die-cut business cards are showcased below.

Derrick Mitchell
Derrick Mitchell, a designer from Kalispell, Montana, creates his business cards by hand with chip board, screen printing, labels and stamps.

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Popupology 30
This cute die-cut business card is done entirely in-house by designer Elod Beregszaszi31.

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Dyalect33
The chic design of this business card is accentuated by the custom shape and 16-point silk matte finish card stock.

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Kaman35
This concept-based business card was designed by Mehdi Tuchak for the Iranian multimedia company Kaman36.

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Sean Gerety38
This lovely business card mimics a Moleskine notebook. While the front is glossy, the back is matted and can be used as a note card.

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Amundson Films40
Cheap card stock and moderate-quality print wonderfully fit the aesthetic of this vintage movie ticket business card. Great job, Alice Cho!

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Alteroy
This die-cut masterpiece belongs to the Israel-based designer Alteroy. The cardboard icons can be separated. Much effort was put into this business card, and the result is absolutely worth it.

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Carlos Vazquez42
This super-cute business card might be the shortest route to any Mac fan’s heart.

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Herbert Martin44
Besides containing the contact info of German dentist Herbert Martin, this business card has another cool function: it helps you check your bite by way of a die-cut stencil. Designed by Petra Penz45.

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Truf47
The business card is square and “combines a hand-crafted feel with the style of Russian propaganda posters.”

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Classic, With a Twist Link

Most of the business cards below have a classic rectangular shape and standard dimensions… but that is where their classic-ness ends. Creative ideas and skillful implementation make these cards look anything but ordinary.

Coco49
The amazing identity concept for COCO was created by Polish designer “Wallstreet Different Creature.” This business card, as part of the overall branding, is pure style and beauty.

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Erich Hartmann51
Erich Hartmann52 designed his business card to spell out a bunch of his skills, along with his main occupation. This clever idea is nicely visualized by way of a two-sided card, with an offset logo on the front and letterpress on the back.

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Fran Rosa54
Motion and graphics designer Fran Rosa55 takes different angles on both his website and business cards… literally.

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Grill Me 57
To see the info on this business card, grill it against a fire, because the card is stamped with lemon juice for ink. Quite an original idea, but using this effect for non-essential information or for an image, rather than contact info, might be more reasonable.

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Luciano Ferreira59
A lovely typographic business card made by Brazilian graphic designer Luciano Ferreira for promotional purposes.

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Sandra Boils61
This elegant business card was made for Spanish jazz vocalist Sandra Boils by graphic design studio Estudio Menta62.

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Stepan Prokop
A beautiful artistic business card by graphic designer Stepan Prokop.

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Synchromatik64
The rich grass texture makes the card of designer Marko Manojlovic65 look fresh and beautiful.

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Van Der Buzz67
This transparent business card, mimicking an X-ray, belongs to Ukrainian advertising agency Van Der Buzz.

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What What69
These cool playful business cards were created by twin brothers, designers John and Edward Harrison, also known as What What70.

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Combining Techniques Link

When it comes to developing promotional material for a brand today, the variety of choice is impressive. With all the different printing techniques, the loads of diverse paper and material available and relatively cheap digital technology, the process of designing a business card is limited only by the designer’s imagination. The following business cards rely on both paper quality and printing methods to create a memorable experience.

TAM Cargo72
Traditional at first glance, this business card can be transformed into a little cargo transport box. The card was design by Brazilian advertising agency Y&R73 for TAM Airlines.

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Cinch Creative75
Design company Cinch Creative printed its business cards on 60-point Blotter paper with a fine natural texture. Thanks to this and the debossed logo and text, the card is a pleasure for both the eyes and hands.

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Feelme Crew77
This creative business card in the shape of a clapper board was designed by Ralev.com for Bulgarian multimedia agency Feelme Crew.

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Fiverr79
Here’s a green approach to business card design. The cards for Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman are made from recycled paper and cardboard. Moreover, the cards are completely hand-made. See details on Kaufman’s Facebook page.

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Groundflights81
This card, inspired by a boarding pass stub, was created by creative agency R3M1X3D82 for transportation company Groundflights. It is a successful mix of letterpress printing and die-cutting.

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Herofilm84
A beautiful business card stylized as a film frame. It was designed by Jimmituanart for Herofilm Productions.

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Philosophy Communications86
With a squeezable circle built in, the business card of PR company Philosophy Communications is a two-in-one solution. Brilliant work, wouldn’t you agree?

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Rhino Studio
Premium paper, imitation rhino skin and a stylized typographic logo make this card chic indeed. Designed by Contreforme.

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Paper Fortress
This vintage-looking business card, which features die-cutting, embossing and high-quality paper, was designed by the studio Second World for the film production company Paper Fortress.

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Hear88
This fancy silk-laminated card, featuring a spot UV coating, was designed by social media and design company Chase Houston89.

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Gita Ayu91
The cool illusion on this business card was achieved with a thin transparent plate that makes it look as though this faux-3D brick is broken. The amazing card was created by Saatchi & Saatchi, Indonesia, for a karate club.

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Something Completely Different Link

The cards showcased below considerably expand the parameters of the

business card format. It seems that business cards can be grown, played with and even eaten! Look at the craziest business card concepts around.

MODhair93
Not only can you comb your hair with this business card, you can also play a classic rock song on it with your fingernail. The card was designed by Fabio Milito for a Rome-based hair salon.

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Gitam BBDO Spicy
The Gitam BBDO agency uses spice sachets as business cards, associating each of its departments with a particular condiment.

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BC Adventure Survival Training95
The cards of BC Adventure remain extremely useful even in situations where a business card is useless. They are made of organic beef jerky and are good to eat for up to a year.

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RDA97
To promote one of his projects (an interactive chopping board), designer Sam Gough created 20 wooden business cards, carving his project’s title and contact info neatly into each.

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Dept of Energy99
With its business “cords,” Dept of Energy100 shows a skillful play on its identity and style.

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Lush
This business card is a thin envelope stuffed with grass seed. The clean design, clever copy and sneaky seed surprise make for an adorable card. Designed by Brandon Knowlden.

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Taberu Me102
For the most desperate self-promoters, peanut business cards are not a bad idea. Taberu Me103 uses innovative CO2 laser engraving technology to print on the peanuts. But before you hands yours out, make sure no squirrels or chipmunks are around.

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Wes Thomas105
This business card design is an ongoing project of Philadelphia-based industrial designer Wes Thomas. The laser-cut card can be quickly transformed in a cute desktop toy. This is no ordinary concept and is pretty labor-intensive, but who would refuse such a business toy for their desk?

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Business Card Galleries Link

Only the truly unique are remembered. When designing anything for yourself, it’s always useful to look around for fresh ideas. Here are permanent showcase galleries where you can find trends and best practices for business card design.

Tutorials Link

To get you started on your own business card, we’ve selected some fresh and useful tutorials and guides that cover various issues you might deal with in this area.

Create a Print-Ready Business Card in Illustrator116
In this tutorial, well-known designer and blogger Chris Spooner walks you through the process of creating a fun business card with a sketched illustration.

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How to Create a Stylish Business Card Template in Adobe Photoshop118
In this tutorial, you learn how to create an elegant minimalist business card design in Photoshop. The source files are available for free downloading.

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Create a Grunge Print-Ready Business Card
Use this tutorial to create a business card with nifty faded brush strokes in Photoshop.

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How to Create a Nebula Background in Photoshop120
Learn how to design a business card with an astral background.

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Print-Ready Business Card Tutorial122
This tutorial explains how to create a print-ready business card with a clean dark design in Photoshop.

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How to Make a Print-Ready Business Card in Photoshop
In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a two-sided business card with crop marks and bleed.

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How to Design Your Business Card124
This article discusses the basics of business card design and covers some best practices.

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Business Card Design Walkthrough126
Along with other step-by-step tutorials, a detailed case study like this one might be useful to you.

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PSD Tutorial: Design a Dirty Business Card128
Learn how to create a simple business card, complete with grungy texture.

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Business Card Tutorial in Inkscape130
Here is a detailed guide on how to design a business card in Inkscape. While the result shown does not look that great, the principles of working in Inkscape are described quite well, so you can get a better result using this open-source graphics editor.

Business Card131
If you like the business card shown below, learn how to create it in Photoshop in this tutorial.

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Making Creative Business Card133
This tutorial shows how to make a nice business card in a matter of minutes.

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How to Design a Print-Ready Business Card Design in Photoshop135
This business card tutorial includes a couple of bonus templates, which you can download in PSD format and use for free.

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How to Design Business Card137
Learn how to create the unconventional and attractive business card below.

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Grungy Business Card139
Another variation of the grunge design is explained in this guide. The image preview and PSD file are free to download.

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How to Make your Own Photographic Negative Business Cards141
Now, here’s a completely different take on business card design. Photographer Steph Goralnik shares his technique for crafting a unique photographic negative business card.

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How to Choose Business Card Paper
Paper is an important consideration when printing business cards. The right paper can make your card shine, while poor-quality stock can spoil even a top-notch design. Read this article to learn the key points and differences between various types of paper.

How to Choose the Right Paper143
Although quite old, this article contains some useful tips on choosing the right paper for your business card. A solidly written article.

Templates Link

A template is definitely a great option for those who don’t have the skill to create a business card on their own. But even if you’re a professional designer, you may need the job done very fast or simply want to save time making customizations. This is when a template comes in handy. Below you’ll find a selection of well-designed free and commercial business card templates that you can take advantage of in your own projects.

Free Templates Link

Most of the templates in this category are free for personal and commercial use, but please be sure to read all accompanying legal usage notes before downloading the files.

I love dA Business Card144

This nifty business card design was created by graphic designer depart145 on the occasion of deviantArt’s birthday. The template is available for free download in both PSD and Ai formats.

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FreelanceSwitch Business Card Template147
This Adobe Illustrator template can be customized for any freelance profession. The pack comes with templates for writers, coders and designers.

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Bokeh Business Card149 | More
The PSD template for this business card is available in high resolution and is ready to print.

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Free Business Card Template for Photoshop (PSD)151 | More152
This minimalist grayscale business card template is available as a free download at DeviantArt.

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Free Business Card Design Pumpkin
This “Pumpkin” business card template features 300 DPI resolution and CMYK color mode for professional printing, front and back sides and four color schemes: pumpkin, cream, Indian pink and brown.

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Construction Hazard Stripes Theme154 | More155
This print-ready business card template is in Photoshop format.

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Free Abstract Blue Business Card Template157
This double-sided PSD card template includes well-organized layers and is in CMYK color mode for easy editing.

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Die Gallery159
In this gallery, you’ll find some unusual card shapes, all for free. All files are in EPS format.

Business Card Template
Here is a blank template for a standard US business card. Both JPEG and PSD versions of the template are available for free downloading.

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Noise Modern Card160 | More
This download pack includes two full-layered PSD files for the front and back. The dimensions are 3.5 x 2 inches, and the resolution is 300 DPI.

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Minimax Positivo Business Card Template162
The template has six color variations and features a letterpress effect. The template package includes a PSD file, PDF help file and preview image.

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Business Card Template (Vector) | More164
A free Adobe Illustrator business card template in 3.5 x 2 inch format.

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Vertical Business Card Vectors166 | More167
An EPS file containing 18 vertical business card templates with JPG preview.

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Free business card templates169
10 free business card designs in PSD and TIFF formats.

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Seextwood Business Card | More
A minimalist template in CMYK mode and 300 DPI resolution. The dimensions are 3.5 x 2.5 inches.

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4 Blue Personal Business Card Templates | More
A set of four PSD business card templates in blue. The dimensions are 3 x 2 inches, and the resolution 300 DPI.

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Premium Templates Link

Pure Style Business Card Template171 | More185179172
A minimalist two-sided business card design (3.5 x 2 inches) that can fit practically any profession or brand. The template comes in high resolution and requires Adobe Photoshop 8 or higher for editing. Price: $7

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Blue Monster Business Card Template | More174
This funny template is ready to print and can be easily customized in a vector graphics editor. Price: $4

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Business card (set 17) | More business card templates
These cheerful business cards might appeal to people in creative fields. Three license types are available; the basic one gives you this set for $5.

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Typography Mini Business Card175 | More188182176
These bright typographic mini-cards come in two styles, grungy and clean, and include a black and white version for low-cost printing. The templates are print-ready and can be edited in Photoshop. Price: $6

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Tender Flowers Business Card178 | More185179172
An original floral design that would work well for wedding photographers. It is print-ready and can be customized in Photoshop. Price: $7

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Blue Bubble business card181 | More188182176
This clean and airy design will appeal to fans of minimalism. It is in print-ready CMYK, 300 DPI, and includes two PSD files and two high-quality JPG images. Price: $5

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Black Business Card Template184 | More185179172
This business card has a rather universal design and would serve a personal brand, company or other project equally well. It is print ready; all you need to do is change the default text. Price: $7

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The Black Family business Card Pack187 | More188182176
These super-original and cute business cards might be good for showing off members of a creative team. They are two-sided, in CMYK and 300 DPI, easy to edit and print-ready. Price: $6

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