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Business Card Design Walkthrough

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

Several months ago, Dawghouse Design Studio held a custom-designed business card giveaway to its readers. Our lucky winner was Greg Pettit of Monkey House, his personal blog about parenthood and family.

In this post, I will be giving you a walkthrough on the entire business card design process that I did for them [ … ]

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

Monkey House needed something to brand themselves. Of course, when I thought of initial concepts, I could only think of a monkey illustration. Greg provided me with a couple of monkey head illustrations that he liked and from there, it was fairly easy to understand what he was looking for.

Below you can find the original monkey head sketches that I did. It took me only a few sketches before I came up with something that I really liked.

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

I scanned the sketch, imported it in Illustrator, traced and did the coloring.

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

Now to create the actual business card, I created a new document in Illustrator with dimensions 3.625 x 2.125 inches. Since this artwork was set for printing, the color mode of the document was set to CMYK.

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

The next step was to add the bleed. A bleed is a term in printing that refers to what goes beyong the edge of the document after trimming. The entire artwork should exceed the bleed area so that when the document is trimmed, no thin white areas will be shown. AllBusinessCards, the printing company, required a bleed of 0.125 inch on all four sides leaving the finished business card size to 3.5 x 2 inches.

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

Now for the design of the business card, I played around with a few ideas before settling for something both Greg and I liked.

On the document, I drew a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) without a border and with a fill of Pantone® color 4975 C. I thought that with a darker background, this would emphasize the monkey illustration more.

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

I imported the monkey illustration onto the new document and just played around with it. Somewhere along the way, I decided that three monkeys may be better than one, did a little more playing around until I ended up with below.

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

For the Monkey House typeface, I wanted something that looked playful to match the monkeys yet legible and bold. After a few searches and trials, I finally settled with using Berlin Sans FB Demi.

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

The last step before sending the final file off to the printer was to convert the text to outlines (Type > Create Outlines). This ensures that the exact same typefaces are used just in case the printing house doesn’t have them.

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough

After a few weeks, the business cards arrived and the final output was exactly how we both wanted it to be. We’re happy of how it turned out!

Business Card Design Process Walkthrough



Great walkthrough! The monkeys are very cute!


i agree with ilovepurple. the monkeys look too cute. thanks for sharing this tut

nur shuhada

hey there, just curious how did you trace the drawing and fill the color? Did you use Illustrator or plus other software on the market? I may sounds like a noob coz i’m a noob.teehee.just started to learn a few photoshop technique here N there.


nice monkey.looks cool.

Jan Cavan

@nur shuhada: For tracing the sketched monkey, I actually used the Pen Tool (P) in Illustrator. The monkey did not have any outlines so I disabled the stroke from the toolbar but made sure there was a fill color.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions.


Nice cards, did you guys print them as well?

nur shuhada

thanks! nice tut btw.

Jan Cavan

@james: did the printing for us :)

Thanks for all your comments everyone! :D

Hilda B

I love the facial expression on your monkey

Mondo Print Louisville

Wow. Great tutorial! If you are in need of a good printing company that is very affordable, check out


Cool design


This is great. I love the monkey design. Illustrator is really useful for designing business cards.


Thanks Jan. I like the way the monkeys peek out and that you were able to add a playful nature to the design. Banana….anyone?


lovely business cards

love to your post