When designing a business card, there are a few important factors to bear in mind in order to ensure that they will be as effective, attractive and impactful as possible. There are four basic principles for all designers to bear in mind when they are drawing up the plans: alignment, contrast, proximity and repetition. This handy guide can help those creating their own business cards to understand the key features of their design, and can help those outsourcing their business card design to better understand their designers when they discuss things such as strategic alignment and white space. Alignment: The strategic alignment of many of the features on a business card can have a huge impact on the visual connection a recipient feels with the card. The proper alignment of text and graphics means that every element should connect with another element. This causes the human eye to follow an invisible reading line where the text and graphics align. Key words to remember in striving for great alignment are ‘unity' and ‘balance'. The card should function as one cohesive promotional tool, rather than a number of facts, graphics and other elements crammed into one space. Contrast: There are many different ways in which contrast can be used to enhance the appearance of a business card. Contrasting elements such as colours, form (shape of the typeface or font), size and white space (the unused space between text and graphics) can have a huge effect on how the card is perceived as a whole. Contrast is perhaps one of the most difficult principles to get right in business card design; it works best only when style elements are very similar, or when they are entirely different. The middle ground can feel either chaotic and unorganised, or bland and plain. Proximity: The grouping of related items on a business card is known as ‘proximity', and this principle is a useful one to create a business card that is coherent and conveys its message effectively. Good use of proximity essentially means that titles and subtitles should be grouped together, contact details should be grouped together, and social media address should be grouped together. Placing related information in a group contributes to the readability of a business card and creates visual balance. Recipients know exactly where they need to look to find the information that they need, and the card is made more attractive with effective use of proximity. Repetition: This doesn't mean reiterating the same points over and over again; repetition means repeating certain aspects of the design to ensure they have maximum impact. Images can be replicated, the typeface should be repeated the majority of the time, bulleted lists increase the repetition factor. Visual interest can be created through repetition, and the use of repetition can tie up the whole business card in a themed, classy package. Repetition also adds to the unity of a business card, which ties in with the alignment principle. Using all four of these principles when embarking on the creation of a printed business card will guarantee an attractive, impactful card, which draws in custom and makes it one of the strongest marketing tools a business can possess.