Thing-a-Day 02: Quick Business Card Refresh

Quick Business Cards

Today’s Commentary

It feels good to be making things again, quickly and without a lot of agonizing over how the work might come out. Today’s project is a good example of something quick that I wanted to do: new business cards. The entire day up to around 7PM felt kind of wasted, but producing something and sending it to printer felt GOOD.

Today’s product isn’t a downloadable thing, unfortunately, but perhaps the process of making it will be an interesting read!

Today’s Product

So why make a new business card when the old one looks just fine? Well, I just felt like making a new one because I’m trying to move away from strictly being process-focused. I’ve been grumbling about this for the past few months.

The shift in focus can be characterized as follows:

  • 2012 was notable in that I recognized and embraced my own process, characterized by the explore-learn-build-share cycle I put on my business card. In those two years, I slowly made a series of website improvements to make it more supportive of my mission by being better organized and easier to follow. I’ve still got a lot of work to do here, but I’m feeling that the blog is overall better than it was before.

  • 2014, by contrast, has been marked by both a desire to start expressing my personal interests more directly, talking less about process and more about what I find interesting and inspiring. This reflects a larger desire to make tangible, physical goods and tackle harder long-term projects. It also reflects a recognition that I’ve been stymied by the uncertainty and challenges inherent in achieving these kind of goals.

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p>In other words, I’ve shifted my emphasis from embracing my process to pushing myself through uncertainty to make stuff, I’m feeling my current business card no longer fits what I’m doing. I have to admit I’m a little bored of it too, and seeing that it no longer really fits the way my website looks, this seems like a good time to make something new for today’s challenge.

Design Thoughts

I may revisit the card later, but for today I am listing a few qualities I’d like the card to have.

  • Match the Website
  • Evoke a sense of optimism, process and low-key adventure
  • Encourage contact and smiles
  • Evoke the sense of the physical
  • Evoke an appreciation of paper
  • Evoke an appreciation of personal gadgets

It’s important to note that the new card does NOT have to represent me as a “work for hire” or “contractor” role. I just want a card that I can give to people so they know how to contact me via email or by website. I also want the card to be easy to write on the back like a notecard, yet substantial enough in the hand to feel like something worth hanging on to.

Design

So I powered up Illustrator and retreated to Starbucks so I could be “alone with people”. Sunday night is particularly good for this at my local Starbucks.

STEP 1 was just to pull some elements from the existing website: a picture of me, and some purchased typefaces that I use all the time for my design work, the “Proxima Nova” family from Mark Simonson.

STEP 2 consisted of feeling not very creative. I made a bunch of dumb layouts as shown below:

Unfunky design So uncreative! So lacking in color! Blah! But after staring at them for a while, I realized that the card really did fulfill a role: providing a picture of my face, some key words to remember me by, and my contact information.

STEP 3 was to embrace the simplest, most straight-forward design, and then order a run of 250 of them printed on 100-lb coverstock for $6.50 + $4.50 shipping. For around $10, I will have some physical cards to throw around and see what sticks. The design isn’t super, but you know what? It’s good enough for today. I can always make new cards. I actually am not sure if the coverstock I chose will look good, as I have misplaced my sample kit for this printer, but OH WELL. I will use them up!

Ready to Print

Bonus Thoughts

As I went through the print setup and submission process, it occurred to me that there were quite a lot of printable project options available, if I were to just get off my butt and do something with it. Perhaps I will print a run of some cards and try to roll-up something that’s more fun!

UPDATE 5 DAYS LATER

Here’s how they came out!

Printed Results I’m not too happy with the color or the cardstock, and I find it a little embarrassing to have my face on something, but overall I think the design works. I’m also pleased that the hairlines show up and are crisp.

The uncoated 100lb cardstock feels a little thin to me, and it’s glossy in a way that makes it unpleasant to write on. For the next iteration I’ll reprocess the source image and convert to CMYK more carefully, and go through the sample book. I think a UV coat on the front probably is the way to go, and then leaving the backside uncoated. Or possibly I can put something on it like the original “explore-learn-build-share”: cycle. Or a cool logo. I don’t know yet :-)


About this Article Series

I'm challenging myself to create something new every day for the month of November 2014! The November Challenge Page lists everything in one place...check it out!