Designing your own custom business card is not as hard as it may seem. You can have yours ready in less than an hour. Let’s see how you can do it with the open-source and free Scribus.
Scribus is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. You can download the exe/dmg/tar file from its website.
If you are using Ubuntu, Scribus is already available in Ubuntu Software Center, so you can install it from there. If not, open up the terminal and enter:
After the installation completes, find it in your Applications menu and run it.
If Scribus doesn’t present you with a “New Document” window, choose “File -> New” or press Ctrl + N on your keyboard to create a new, blank document.
We won’t use margins for our simple business card design. So, zero all “Margin Guides” values on the bottom left of the window.
When printing content that will be cut into smaller pieces, use bleeds to avoid wasting paper and ink.
“Bleeds” are a safe space included in your design. They’re there to ensure that when you cut your business cards to their final size, you won’t be cutting dangerously close to useful information.
For that, move to the “Bleeds” tab on the bottom left of the window. Enter a typical value of “0,1250 in” for all of them.
One of the most popular standard sizes for business cards is 3,5 x 2 inches, but that’s without taking bleeds into account. So, enter “3,75” as your document’s width and “2,25” as its height (actual card size + bleeds).
Click OK to accept the settings.
A Classic, Simple, Eye-Catching Design
Your card will appear relatively small in Scribus’s workspace.
Keep Ctrl pressed and use your mouse wheel to zoom in. Use Space to switch to the move tool. Pan the screen to center your card. Press Space again to revert to the previously-selected tool.
The easy way to import a logo you have in image format is to drag and drop it from your favorite file manager on Scribus’s window.
Is your logo’s frame too small/large? Right-click on it and select “Image -> Adjust Frame to Image.”
To resize your logo, left-click on one of its bounding box’s corners and drag. Keep Ctrl + Alt held while doing it to keep its proportions and avoid any distortion.
With the Select tool active (C on the keyboard), move your logo where you want it on your card. We intentionally placed it on the top left, to then balance our card’s design by adding the rest of the information to the bottom right.
Note: don’t place anything useful, like the logo or your details, outside your card’s bleed limits. They are “the red outline in your workspace.”
Select the Shape tool (S on the keyboard) and define a rectangle covering the top half of your card.
If you can’t see the Properties window on your screen, press F2 on your keyboard.
Expand the “Colors” category, and from the “Fill” tab, select the color you’d like for your rectangle. We went for a classic black. Move to the “Stroke” tab and set it to “None.”
Scribus places new layers in front of existing ones. That’s why your newer rectangle will be covering your already existing logo. To fix the problem, “send your rectangle layer behind” your logo by right-clicking on it and choosing “Level -> Lower to Bottom.”
Choose the “Text Frame” tool (or press T on your keyboard) and define a text frame where you want your details. We chose the bottom right to, as we said before, keep our design balanced.
Type your name inside this frame. Since we wanted our details to appear on the right of the card, we also went for a right text alignment. You can find those settings, together with options for the font family, type, size, etc., in the “Text Properties” panel.
Continue by adding your contact details. Use a different line for each piece of information to keep them easily readable. Select them and reduce their font size, keeping your name – the most important element on your card – larger.
Preview your card with the shortcut Ctrl + Alt + P. Press it again to return to the normal editing mode. If you don’t like how your card looks, you can play with the arrangement, placement, and size of its elements.
When you’re happy with the results, export them to an image file for printing using “File -> Export -> Save as Image…” or by pressing Ctrl + Shift + E on your keyboard. You can also export your document in EPS, PDF, SVG, or XPS formats if you prefer to keep its elements scalable.
The final step is, of course, the printing itself. If you do it yourself, you’ll be able to immediately see the results and, if needed, stop the process and apply adjustments. If you use a professional service, it’s better to ask them for a sample or start with a small test batch. It’s a shame to pay for thousands of printed cards that don’t look as you imagined.