Out with the Old, In with the New
Here’s the old card from July 26. Click on the thumbnail for a larger view.
Generation IV was my first response to declutter the old business card, which had way too much crap going on. However, I went too small with the font; when I handed it to someone, they were unable to read it without squinting through their glasses. As a concession I increased the byline font size very slightly (8pt to 9pt) in Generation V. Still not really friendly to older people, especially since the small listing of skills is low-contrast gray AND 7pt.
Between GenIV and GenV, there are also some other layout improvement:
- The spacing is more regular in GenV…not perfect, but better. This helps give the information a cohesive, solid feel. It’s probably at about 90-95% of the spacing perfection I can muster.
The hue contrast between the orange dots and the blue information is more interesting…they’re color complements, which adds some energy and visual distinction between the top and bottom part. In GenIV, the use of similar greens as a repeating, regularly-spaced accent color helps unify the layout. In GenV, I purposefully split it again, but use regular spacing to help unify the overall card. It’s a different, more energetic feel. Also, blue and orange are two colors I used a lot on my Apple II back in high school, so I’m rather fond of this combination.
I added a shaded bar to the left to slim up the vertical whitespace, which almost but not-quite-worked in GenIV.
I added a square bullet to focus the eye on the very first line. This compensates for the bold black weighting I’ve put on my name and phone number; ordinarily it probably would get the attention first. I want people to read the little visual puzzle first, then read my name / title to make the connection. I could have made them all equal weight in tone, but that would have looked boring.
I stayed with this is three dots instead of “these are three dots”. I’m thinking three dots as a single group, which makes the wording grammatically OK. The width of the line is more even compared to the following line, which aesthetically makes me feel good. I also respaced the circles so they were more in alignment with the H in SEAH. I probably need to jog them over just a tiny bit to visually align them; it’s looking just a tad pinched.
p>When designing business cards, it’s neat when you can get away with a full-bleed background element. On the particular templates I have, each card touches each other, and that makes registration of the bar a little challenging. The registration can shift by as much as a millimeter or so when I run the template through my printer, so it has to be laid out such that the sidebar edges butt up right against each other. This ensure that the bleed doesn’t screw up, and there is printing all the way to the edge. This is a fun trick…see the image below!
These cards are a bit plainer than the ones I’ve made in the past, but I like the “three dots” story a lot, and adding more elements tends to rob the card of its visual impact. Right now I think I have a pretty good balance between information, whitespace, and story. I’ll have to see how people react to it this week.
The card lacks the elegance of other cards I’ve seen, but it’s moving in the right direction. It just needs the lightest touch of sweetness to round it out. That could be a subtle texture or just the right accent color or spot graphic element. Or it could be better kerning (it’s a bit ragged) or typeface selection (I’m using Helvetica Neue at the moment, which doesn’t work that well with the line spacing I have…I need something with a slightly lower x-height I think). Or I might have to choose a different set of colors (the contrast between orange and blue is pretty extreme. The exact treatment eludes me at the moment, but in the meantime I’ve got a card that I feel OK about handing to people. I will probably print it on Matte stock next time…I just like the way that looks better.
If I go to print, I could move the “three dots” to one side of the card, and buy myself more whitespace to play with. Worth considering!
The design challenge continues in Part III…