The Perfect Business Card Design for Each Industry

The Perfect Business Card Design for Each Industry

Read Time: 4 Minutes


08 Jan 2020

Have you ever wondered what makes the perfect business card design? From the colour choices and the option of double or single sided, to the shape, texture, and overall finish – there are lots to consider. 

To help you with your next design, we thought we’d delve into this question a little deeper, sharing our top business card design tips that could benefit your business.

We surveyed 2,000 UK adults working in different industries and found that more than a third (40%) had a negative perception of a company because of the quality and design of their business card alone! Could the reason you’re not securing new clients or winning those all-important pitches really be down to your stationery?


chart showing the likelihood of a negative perception of a company based on their business card designinfographic showing that men are more likely to perceive a company badly over their business card design

What We Did – Biometrics Testing

Using specialist equipment from GazePoint, we examined the reactions to different models of business cards in different industries. We tested initial reactions, including eye-tracking and heart rate, to find out what attracted those taking part to different cards. 

We set up an eye-tracking camera, biometrics dial and heart rate monitor to a PC, then set up testing using 7 business card design variations per 10 industries (70 in total). This allowed us to see what grabbed the attention of our test subjects first, their overall eye movement and what their initial impression was of the individual cards.

Each person had to sit directly in front of the GP3 eye-tracking camera, allowing it to focus on the user’s pupils using infrared. They were then asked to place their index finger into the heart rate monitor and place their other hand on the 0-100% dial, rating how they felt about each design.

Once calibration was complete - an important part of the process to ensure the tests are fair - tests then took around 5 minutes per person and finally, the results and eye/heat-tracking map footage was exported. 


What Were Our Findings?

From the collated data, we found there was a range of all elements of a business card that people responded well to. But what industry preferred bright colours over monotones? And what were people’s preferences on logo placements?

(Watch our research team in action!)  

Bakers and chefs – perhaps unsurprisingly, our bakers and chefs, who often have creative roles in their establishments, responded better to bright colour schemes. They also reacted more positively to having a company logo either left or centralised – which gives you more room to do what you’d like when designing your artwork. 

Designers – this one may shock you! Those in the design profession much preferred neutral or primary tones when it came to colour palettes and would much rather the logo was either placed to the right or the left. None of the designers reacted favourably to business card designs with centralised logos. They also thought the company info should be right or left-aligned on the opposite side to the logo and that the fonts should be simple and evenly spaced. 

Estate agents – the estate agents reacted much better to big bold colours and prominent logos. They really didn’t react well to neutral tones and a must for them was to have the contact details prominent; front and centre as well as being bigger than the logo itself.

Personal trainers – the personal trainers preferred business card designs to be simple and to the point, bright and bold or monotone, with a big logo front and centre. Ultimately your logo is your brand as a trainer and that’s certainly how they seemed to want their business cards to look too.  

Marketing agencies – our marketing agencies reacted well to simple and stylish cards with neutral and pastel colour schemes. Much like the designers, they too preferred the logos to be placed on the left or right, with the contact information on the opposite side.

Photographers – slightly different to the rest, the photographers we tested liked both neutral and bold coloured business card designs - and they’re completely flexible when it comes to the positioning of contact details. 

Sales – those in sales like to keep it simple and fuss-free, with either the logo on the right and details on the left, or vice versa. Like designers, salespeople also showed no reaction to centralised logos. 

Hairdressers and barbers – led by style, our hairdressers and barbers favoured both the monotone and bright colour schemes. For them, the perfect business card designs feature a large logo, placed either centrally or to the right.

Taxi drivers – reacting much better to monotone and bold colour schemes, our taxi drivers reacted well to contact information being placed on the left of the card, with the font being more modern and eye-catching.

Tradespeople – just like personal trainers, their logo and branding helps to set them apart from competitors, so it’s no surprise that our tradespeople prefer their business card designs with large logos, boldly placed either centrally or to the left.

For the experiment, we also surveyed a further 2,000 UK adults who fell into sectors such as law, accounting, education, retail, hospitality, health & social care, construction, public sector and more. 


What We Can Take from Our Findings

With a wealth of data collected, one of the commonalities was with the colouring of business cards. From our tests, we found that yellow or white are the most attractive schemes when it comes to the background shade. 

According to instantprint’s eCommerce Manager Jennie, each colour comes with a wealth of different meanings that you may have to take into account when striving for the perfect business card design. For example, white represents pureness, innocence and precision – so, if your brand’s personality doesn’t reflect these notions, it’s probably best to avoid this in your design.

Yellow, another of the most popular colours from our test, represents optimism and cheerfulness, and is often considered a free-spirited and happy colour. Yellow is also the most visible colour from a distance which is why it’s used in a lot of street signage. It can also be associated with mental clarity and intellect – ideal if you’re a law firm or education provider. 

If you’re wanting to evoke a sense of prestige and wealth, green is the perfect colour for this. Think deep, darker, richer greens to reflect a sense of wealth and stability. Or, on the other hand, if you’re looking to use green in your design for your eco-friendly or sustainable business, lighter, brighter shades can help to represent nature, growth and vitality. 

Want to opt for a universally preferred colour? Blue should be your go-to. As versatile as they come, blue conveys a sense of reliability, trustworthiness and communication. It’s also often used by businesses wanting to boast calming and harmonious qualities, for example if you’re a yoga studio or perhaps offer therapy services. 


best colour business cards revealed as white yellow green peach and blue


Our Key Takeaways from the Scientific Research

According to nearly half of Brits (45%), traditional layouts and an accurate representation of what a company does are the most popular aspects that make up the perfect business card design – while a creative and unique design was only favoured by a mere 23%! A no-frills approach to your next artwork may be what sets you aside from your competitors, as almost a third of Brits prefer cards that keep it simple. 


pie chart showing business card design features most loved by the UK

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those working within the design sector are the most likely to have their thoughts on a company altered thanks to the design or quality of their business cards, with 6 out of 10 employees within the industry agreeing. On the other hand, if you’re targeting those working in public sector roles, you may have a lot more flexibility with what you do, as this group were the least impacted by these issues; over 80% said they’d never been affected by a business card’s design!

If you are targeting designers, and even those within the construction, finance and law sectors, these industries much prefer the simple approach when it comes to business card design. Opt for a simplistic design or something which has a fairly traditional style and layout, and you’ll never go wrong! 

However, if you’re networking and meeting up with clients in retail, media or communications, the more creative, the better. These industries love a quirky business card design and bold colourings. 

If you’re struggling to get your ideas down onto paper, why not check out our collection of business card designs in our template library? Alternatively, get in touch with our expert team, who are always on hand to help. 


Top 3 Designs by Industry According to Scientific Research

Below are the top 3 highest ranking designs by industry. These business card designs are laid out in ascending order according to their rank. 

Top 3 Bakery Business Cards Designs

1)  2)  3) 

Top 3 Graphic Designer Business Cards Designs 

1)  2)  3) 

Top 3 Estate Agent Business Card Designs 

1)  2)  3) 

Top 3 Gym Business Card Designs 

1)  2)  3) 

Top 3 Marketing Professional Business Card Designs 

1)  2)  3) 

Top 3 Photographer Business Card Designs 

1)  2)  3) 

Top 3 Sales Business Card Designs 

1)  2)  3) 


About the Author

Hi! I’m Laura and I’m the Head of instantprint. I’m dedicated to using my experience to help small businesses make the most out of their marketing.