We all know that business cards today are incomparable to the boring monotony of the plain white paper business cards of yesteryear. Today, you need a more impressive design that’s downplayed enough so it’s not too loud or flashy. The key is to create something sleek, smooth and ultimately modern.
So, in this simple tutorial, we will teach you how you can achieve that impressive and sleek effect on your own personal business cards. Now, it does not take a lot of skills to do this. You just need to follow the instructions below as you use Adobe Photoshop. If you are ready, then let us get started.
First is follow the settings indicated below for a Standard-Sized Business Card:
a. Width: 3.5 Inches
b. Height: 2 inches
c. Resolution: 300 ppi
d. Color Mode: CMYK (for four color printing)
Now, the first design step is to actually color our background. Plain colors of course are not enough. What you need is to use a color gradient. Just look for this tool in the tools panel, alongside the paint bucket tool. Just set it to radial, and of course set the color gradient to one very dark and one lighter color. For our example we used a dark blue and a slightly lighter blue. We then just inscribe the gradient from corner to center. Make sure the dark color is at the edge with the lighter color at the center.
Duplicate this background layer by simply pressing CTRL+J. Then in the layers panel, change the color mode of the duplicate layer to “color dodge”. This gives us a nice more intense center for the business card.
Afterwards, create another new layer again. This time press CTRL+SHIFT+N to create the new layer. Name the layer any name you want, for our example, we named it Clouds. THIS IS IMPORTANT, press the “D” and “X” keys. This sets your foreground color to white and then your background color to black. Then go to Filter -> Render -> Clouds.
You should then get some random cloud effects on the whole of your design. DO NOT WORRY! This is the effect that we want.
Now, to easily integrate this into our design, simply select the cloud layer on the layers panel and then set its blend mode to overlay. You should also reduce its opacity to 30% to get the right integration of the clouds.
After applying the cloud effect, of course you will notice that everything is noticeably lighter. To make our glow effects effective, we will need to reduce that brightness a little. To achieve this we do two things. FIRST, with the eraser tool, we set a soft round brush and then select the SECOND background layer (set to color dodge). We erase parts of its edges to make those edges darker, just like in the original. Also, we reduce its opacity by 40%.
Now, we will add our glowing lines. To do this we will use the “PEN Tool”. Just look for it in the tools panel. It might be an unwieldy tool at first, but all you have to do is to click and drag the tool in different anchor places to achieve some great curves. Just test it out and experiment with it until you have the first curve line that you like.
Now, create a new layer for our glow line. Then, first select the BRUSH tool. Right click on the canvass to start choosing a brush type. Just select any of the soft brushes. Set its size to 3-5 pixels (depending on the thickness that you want) and then make sure that the hardness value is at 0%.
Now, click on the PEN tool again. Right click on our curved path and when the context menu opens, select the option to “Stroke Path…” Once the stroke path window opens, select BRUSH as the tool to be used and click on the tick box for “Simulate Pressure”.
The result is then a nice wispy line. To see it fully, simply go to the paths panel and deselect the path we just established. Of course if the line is too thick or thin for you, simply redo the process and just change your brush size as needed.
Next, we will add our glow elements to our light curve. To start applying these, just double click on the layer of our curved line. The layers styles window should open. The first effect that you should apply is the “Outer Glow” as this is the most obvious effect that we need. Simply click on its checkbox and use the default values it has.
Now we will select an unlikely effect. The “Drop Shadow”. Click on it and the change the following settings in its properties.
a. Blend Mode: Color Dodge
b. Color: YELLOW
c. Opacity: 100%
d. Distance: 0px
e. Size: 6px
f. Leave the rest as the default.
Finally, we will change the color of the glowing curve. Just click on the “Color Overlay” effect. Then just click on the color box and change the color of our glowing curve to something for yout theme. In our example, we are using a very light yellow.
Once you press OK on the layer styles, you should see our finished glow effect.
Now, all you have to do is to repeat the process for all the other glowing curved lines that you want. To make things faster take note that you can easily copy and paste Layer styles. So, once you have created another layer with another curved (and stroked) path, just go to our ORIGINAL glowing curve layer, right click on it and select “Copy Layer Style”. Then you can right click on the new curved layer and select “Paste Layer Style”.
Just keep doing this until you have all the glowing curves that you want for your design. For our example, we just created a total of 3.
Great! Now, we will add our text. Just use the Type tool to write in what you need for our business card. Right now, the color does not matter really, but make sure you choose a nice and sleek looking font style. Vary the size when appropriate.
Now, just like with the glow lines, you can also copy paste the layer style when appropriate. We have done this for the name on the business card. We however adjusted the outer glow value as it was far too bright for the text. We reduced its opacity to 60% and reduced the size as well to the outer glow value.
Then, using the same concept we also paste in the layer style to the other text on the card, adjusting the brightness when needed.
Then, create another new layer. Then using a small and soft white brush, we paint in soft spots on all the intersections of our glow lines. Change the blend mode of this layer to “Pin light” and reduce its opacity to 76%.
Finally as an accent, we create ANOTHER new layer. In this new layer we use the “STARBURST” brush built into Photoshop to add some stylistic twinkles and shines. Vary the size of the starburst effect to make it look better and more natural.
Congratulations! That finishes our tutorial with sleek glow effects. With these tricks, you should now be able to create nice, fancy and very modern and sleek full color business cards like this one.
Author’s Bio: Irene Thompson is a professional writer and a graphic designer. She’s addicted to Photoshop for a long time and been focusing in the area of print designs. She works at PrintPlace.com, a trusted online printing company that offers high quality business cards, brochures, and other powerful printed marketing materials. You can get in touch with her company through Facebook.