In a socially-distanced and more virtual world, the need for business cards may have taken a backseat over the last couple of years. But now that the world is opening back up, in-person meetings and events are making a much welcomed comeback and along with it, plenty of opportunities to network and strike up long lasting business relationships.
In these settings, your business card is often the first thing you give to someone you meet in a professional context. As such, it is also the first time someone may encounter your visual brand, making it an important tool for creating a lasting impression.
Each year, we seek the insight of our global community of freelance creators working on 99designs by Vista to collect the business card design trends they predict will shape the year ahead. While being on brand is the number one priority when it comes to business card design, it’s also important that it is memorable. Tapping into some of the latest visual trends can help you dazzle and impress new contacts, and ensure your card stands out from the rest.
Whether you are making a business card for the first time or looking to refresh the box that’s been collecting dust over the last two years, here’s eight trends that will help you up your professional game.
Cards That Speak for You
There used to be an expectation for a certain level of formality for business interactions in many industries. But as startup culture permeates corporate America and younger demographics enter the workforce, that expectation is waning. A growing trend towards more conversational business cards that bring out the human side of a brand—or speak for you—is evidence of that. The best approach in adopting this trend is to infuse your business card with language you might use to greet someone in person, in a font that matches the tone of your business and brand voice. The message can be either short or long, as long as it is friendly and approachable. Given the personal touch of this trend, it is especially suited to service-based businesses where the people and conversation are part of your key value proposition.
Design by Awesome Designing on 99designs by Vista
Softie Styles Glow Up
If casual conversation doesn’t seem quite up your brand’s alley, but you’re still looking for a friendly design, the modern spin on the softie styles of the 70s could be your ticket. Better known now as ‘bubble lettering’ this style uses marshmallow-like, puffed out letter forms with rounded edges. In 2022, the trend is a little less soft – still featuring those recognisable thick typefaces, but now with sharper edges and fewer curves. Paired with bright, saturated colors, it feels both familiar yet modern. If your company is on the more playful side or has a retro vibe, consider giving this style a try.
Design by sashadesigns via 99designs by Vista Design by Mr.Mockup™, via Dribbble
Sometimes brands need a clean and clear business card with just a hint of boldness to catch a viewer’s eye. For this, look no further than modern-day modernism. The trend channels the modernist design style of the 1990s, which prioritized function over form, or rather purpose over creative flair. However, don’t mistake this style as being rigid or boring. Modernism simply believes that all elements should serve a purpose, whether that is legibility or to stand out from the crowd. Featuring primary colors, clean-cut shapes like circles and triangles, maze-like grids, and most importantly, bold sans serif fonts, this style is ideal for wallet-sized cards across a whole range of industries.
By HYPdesign via 99designs by Vista By duwi.sleman via 99designs by Vista
Wrapped around your little card
While not a particularly new trend, wrapping an image, illustration or typeface around the front and back of your business card is set to become design staple in 2022. This engaging visual tactic makes the card more interactive, because it feels as if one side is connected to the other, drawing a reader in and prompting them to turn it over in their hands. What makes this approach even better is that it is infinitely adaptable: the design can be as intricate or basic as you want, and this style can work well for both serious and playful brands as a result. There is total freedom as to which design element you choose to wrap – whether it’s your logo, a small illustration, or your business name, the fundamental mechanism is still really effective.
Design by Terry Bogard via 99designs by Vista Design by Prozmajevski via 99designs by Vista
Another visually mesmerizing style worth experimenting with in 2022 is patterned line art for a modern, slightly futuristic look. Think non-linear or even erratic lines on repeat – not a far cry from Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures cover art. Setting these patterns against a black background can look edgy, innovative and intriguing, whereas playing with bright colors can create a more youthful look. Embossing or debossing the pattern also creates a striking 3D effect and adds great tactility to your card too.
Design by Prozmajevski via 99designs by Vista Design by Ian Douglas via 99designs by Vista
When it comes to broader design trends in 2022, we are seeing the industry as a whole rebelling against the traditional – and business card design is no different. They may still have your contact information, but anti-cards are anything but conventional. Designs are often quirky in shape, size and color, and usually involve some kind of visual pun related to your industry or brand. Injecting humor to elevate your visual brand is a great way to connect with a more youthful, forward-thinking audience, so it is a great choice if you’re looking to target that demographic.
Design by Rose* via 99designs by Vista Design by green in blue via 99designs by Vista
Read Between the Elements
For brands that want to be creative, but don’t want to go as far as an anti-card, try mixing things up by blending text with the other visual elements of your card design. This trend is about giving your business card some extra oomph without sacrificing the legibility of your contact details or being too “out there” on the creativity scale. You can experiment with textures, backgrounds, vibrant colors and unique typography – whatever feels true to you and resonates with your brand and target audience.
Design by nevergohungry via 99designs by Vista
Turn up the Contrast
In 2022, we’re also going to see plenty of business card designs that leverage high contrast, both in colors and typography, to stand out. While overlaying dark or bold backgrounds with splashes of bright accent colors is a good start, this trend goes one step further by also contrasting the size of the elements on the card to create a truly dynamic look. Pairing large and small lettering makes for a much more visually interesting card and can influence and direct a reader’s attention in smart ways.
By Rose* via 99designs by Vista Design by CH-LAB DESIGN STUDIO, via Behance
While your business card’s primary function is to make it easy for people to get in touch with you, it is so much more than a way to share your contact details. Think of it as a portable billboard with prime estate in someone’s wallet. That tiny piece of paper says a lot about you and your brand, and can have a huge impact on the person you’re handing it to. So, whatever design style you choose for your new business cards, before you press print make sure that it’s telling the right story about your brand.
By Shayne Tilley, Head of Marketing, 99designs by Vista