Design a Clean Striped Business Card in Illustrator

In this tutorial we’re going to be creating a sleek striped business card from scratch in Illustrator CS4, using various tools and techniques. As well as creating this business card yourself, you can also download the business card for free along with a corresponding letterhead.

Step 1

The first step, as with any tutorial, is to create a new document. Open up Illustrator (I’m using CS4) and go to File > New. Illustrator CS4 has a handy option that allows you to have more than one artboard in one document, meaning we can see both the front and back sides of our card on one screen, instead of having to create seperate documents for the both of them.

For this document, I’m going to use a common business card size of 85 by 55mm. This particular business card is vertical instead of horizontal, allowing us to do a bit more with the stripes. Set up your document the same as I have set up mine in the screenshot below, remember to add bleed lines (you may want to check with your printers what bleed size they like).

Step 2

With your document now set up, it’s time to add a nice background. Select the Rectangle Tool and drag out a shape from corner to corner of the bleed line.

We’re going to add a subtle gradient to the background. To do this, all you need to do is click on your shape and then click on the gradient preview in your gradient window.

It’s time to change the colors of our gradient. Before that, change type of gradient from ‘linear’ to ‘radial’. To change the colors, simply drag and drop the relevant swatches (from your swatch window) into the gradient color squares. I’ve used a white (left side of my gradient) and a very light grey, made up entirely from just 5% black (right side of my gradient).

Copy your new shape by going to Edit > Copy and go to Edit > Paste in Front to paste the selection in the exact same place.

Using the shift-key and cursor-key combination, shift your new shape across to the other side of your business card (this is why having multiple artboards in one document is so handy!), making sure it is aligned perfectly with your bleed lines. This is a good time to save your document!

Step 3

With that done, it’s time to place your logo or companies name. In this case, I’m just going to use a mock-up logo that I made earlier. You’ll want to use your own logo, though! Go to File > Place to locate and place your logo into your document. Resize it and center it by selecting ‘Align to Artboard’ and clicking on the ‘Horizontal Align Center’ button. Shift your logo down a little so it’s not touching the top of your card.

For this particular card, we want the logo in the exact same place on the other side of our card. Simply copy and paste the logo in place and align it to the center of your artboard, with the back of your business card selected, of course!

Step 4

Select the Rectangle Tool again, with this we are going to start creating our stripes. Drag out a rectangle the touches both the top and bottom bleed lines of your document. Don’t make it too wide, though! My rectangle is 3.142mm wide (yes, very random!). Align your new shape to the center of your artboard.

Copy and paste your new shape in place, and using just the cursor keys shift the shape to the right 14 times (or whatever distance is right for you!).

Copy your new shape, and repeat the process.

Repeat the last two steps, this time shifting the shapes to the left side instead of the right.

Select all of your rectangles by either dragging across all of them, or selecting one and then holding the shift-key and clicking to select the others. Once you have selected them all, go to Object > Arrange > Send Backward until the shapes are behind your logo but above your background gradient.

Step 5

It’s time to choose a color scheme. I am going to use a scheme called “I Demand A Pancake” which you can find at COLOURlovers.com. Select one of your shapes, and apply a gradient to it. Use one of your colors on the left side of the gradient, with a pure white or very light grey on the other side. Select ‘linear’ as your type of gradient, with a location of 18%.

Click on your next shape and apply the same gradient, replacing the color on your left side with the next in your chosen color scheme.

Keep repeating this step until all of your rectangle shapes are filled with a gradient.

Step 6

Now we’ve got our stripes sorted, it’s time to add a bit of lushness to the design using a glow. Copy all of your stripes and paste them in place. Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

Enter a radius of about 20 pixels, and hit the OK button.

Move your selection behind your original stripes by going to Object > Arrange > Send Backward.

In your transparency window, lower the opacity to around 60%.

Step 7

Select the Rectangle Tool (again!) and drag out a small rectangle from left to right bleed lines, making sure it’s also touching the bottom bleed line.

Add a radial gradient to your new shape, I’m using a medium-grey for my left color, and a dark grey for my right color.

Grab the Text Tool and make a small text box in your new rectangle shape. Using a color from your color scheme, type some of your services. In my case I’m going to use the words “photography ~ design ~ illustration”, using the font Georgia set to 7pt. Align the text to the center.

Copy both the rectangular box and the typography and paste it in place, use the shift-key and cursor-keys to shift the selection over to the other side of your business card.

Step 8

Select the Line Segment Tool and drag out a horizontal line whilst holding the shift-key to keep it straight. Add a 0.25pt stroke to the line with a medium grey color, and align it to the center of your artboard. Copy and paste the line in place, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Apply a blur with a radius of about 10px and adjust it so it is beneath your thin stroked line. You may want to nudge the “shadow” down a little as I have done.

Step 9

Grab the Text Tool and drag out a new text box. Align it to the center of your second artboard, and start typing in some of your details. In this case, I’m going to use my name, my (fake) email address, my Twitter account, my Flickr account and my web address url. Play about with typography settings to get your typography looking right. I have used the font ‘Georgia’ again, using font sizes 6pt and 8pt. I also hit the tab key before my details, as this is where I’m going to add in some stylish icons to add a bit of “oomph!” to our design.

Step 10

Head over to Smashing Magazine and download their awesome “Flavour Extended” icon set. Choose a few icons you want to use, and place them all on your artboard by going to File > Place. Align them nicely next to your typography using the cursor-keys.

To make our icons come to life, we’re going to add a special little touch to them. Select the Ellipse Tool and drag out a small selection over each one of your icons.

Select all of your icons at the same time, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Add a blur with a radius of about 5 pixels.

Go to Object > Arrange > Send Backward until all of your mini blurred circles are below your icons. Lower their opacities to about 50%.

Step 11

Once you’re happy with your card, it’s time to prepare the file for print. This is surprisingly easy with the new Illustrator, especially if you used document bleeds when you set up the document! Go to File > Save As. Select .PSD and click the save button.

Select “Press Quality” from Adobe PDF Preset drop-down menu. This basically sets the file up for you!

Select a standard from the Standard drop-down menu. This is one thing you may want to check with your printers, as different companies use different versions of software (they’re not all up to date!). For this tutorial, I’m going to be using the standard PDF/X-4:2008, which is compatible with Acrobat 5 saving a PDF 1.4 file.

One last thing to do is to set up a few printing options. Click on the tab “Marks and Bleeds” in the left menu, and make sure “Use Document Bleed Settings” is selected. This is important, otherwise it will completely cut off your bleed! You could set up the entire print file by adding crop marks, registration marks, color bars and page information, but this is something that the pre-press guys will want to do at your printers (unless you’re using an online printers), so leave this up to them. As I mentioned earlier, all printers use different software, settings and hardware, and they all do things differently!

Hit the “Save PDF” button and we’re done!

We will release these business cards together with a matching Letterhead. Enjoy it and use where and how ever you want as long as show some love and link back to this post

Join testking web designing course and learn how to create creative business cards in illustrations using Testking 642-982 tutorials and free Testking 1Y0-A09 resources.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 at 09:27 and is filed under Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Callum Chapman is a self-employed designer from Cambridge, UK. He is also an author, regularly writing for huge design-related blogs. Callum lives at Circlebox Blog, a design related blog offering articles, tutorials and freelancing advice. Drop him a line at Twitter!

About the author Published by Callum Chapman

11 Responses »

  1. A plain, boring tutorial. Nothing special here.

  2. Very simple result no so bad but ive seen better…

  3. It’s about the techniques you learn, not just the outcome of the tutorial! :)

  4. Im sorry your right man, i havnt read it yet, but i wasnt saying its bad but that i have see work of yours thats better.
    Thanks for the tut

  5. Nice tutorial Callum :D!

    If you find this boring there is a simple and great way to stop viewing the tutorial its called the back button ….

  6. No not at all, i love this stuff.

  7. You could certainly see your skills within the paintings you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart. “Until you walk a mile in another man’s moccasins you can’t imagine the smell.” by Robert Byrne.

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