Thoughts on New Business Cards

Thoughts on New Business Cards

I’ve been needing to get new business cards for a while, but haven’t been sure what they should say. This comes back to thorny issues about identity, business offerings, and making a good impressions. Since I’ve been blocked on this for weeks, I’m going to apply a jam-breaking 15-minute brain dump and see where that gets me.


What goes on a business card at minimum?

  • Name
  • Contact Information
  • Website

What would give it some zazz?

  • Some graphic element
  • Novel presentation or typography

Why do I even need a business card?

  • It’s usually so people can have my contact info, so they can look something up later
  • It’s rarely to sell a service on its own
  • It’s sometimes a keepsake for people that I meet, when we exchange cards

Do I need it for actual BUSINESS?

  • The way I sell myself is usually by being knowledgeable and helpful. Sometimes by being interesting in some way.
  • I don’t sell myself based on a particular service

What about memorability?

  • The design and feel of the card should impart a sense of my values and aesthetics. So, it will be clean, largely typography, with some spot colors of the orange and blue persuasion.
  • The title I give myself should be interesting, but somewhat professional.
  • It certainly should impart a certain explorative, analytical, and openness to wonder and possibility
  • It should also feel precise and confident
  • It should make the reader work a little harder to understand it, but not too hard, because we want them to get it

(5 minutes elapsed)

So, how about some actual ideas?


Ok, what about the title? That’s the big thing.


In the past, I’ve used Investigative Designer as a title, and that’s worked well conceptually with some people. However, it doesn’t seem to fit what I’m doing now. I’m not actually sure what I’m doing now, so let me list what projects are on my mind, and what projects I’d like to pursue:

  • Realtime Interactive Development for Museums and Informal Science Education, that pay well
  • Maintaining the Journal of Exploring, Learning, Building and Sharing
  • Pursuing Excellence through Mastery of Skills
  • Looking for Connections with other passionate, conscientious, explore-build-learn-share type people.

A more generic term might be “digital media designer”. I want to avoid any mention of websites. There is also an element of creative strategy in what I do.

How about using my diagram of explore-learn-build-share? How would I sum that up? Probably with a hyphenate tagline: interactive design – creative thinking – productivity tools

That sounds like something worth approaching!

(whew, 15 minutes expired just now!)

Two Hours Later

!@(images/12/0820-business-card-dr01.jpg:F popimg: “Business Card Draft”)


  1. James M 12 years ago

    I prefer the “B: All Process” card, but I like the word “Workflow” more than I do “Productivity.” Not entirely sure why. Stands out more to me.

  2. Geri 12 years ago

    I like A: Passion Hearts!

    How about Design for Productivity, Workflow and Learning?

  3. Hana Candelaria 12 years ago

    I like the hearts, but not the red. Seems distracting: what if they could be the same color as the arrows shown in the ‘all process’ model?

  4. Author
    Dave Seah 12 years ago

    James: Workflow sounds better to me too, but I changed it on the theory that people understand “productivity” as something more desirable than “workflow”. For example, I want to be productive! I want to learn! seems more immediate than I want better workflow, which is a more process-oriented concept. Then again, I’m not yet exactly sure which potential clients I’m trying to appeal to yet. The process of picking is just getting started. Thanks for your input!

    Geri: That does have a nice ring to it. I’ll have to go to two lines, but it’s worth a try!

    Hana: That’s a good observation! Let me give that a try and post another round Wednesday.

  5. Mark 12 years ago

    How bout something like:

    Design [Workflow,Productivity,Learning]

    And I like the triangles better.

  6. Kristin 12 years ago

    With the classy lines throughout the design, the words following your bold prompts not lining up distracts me. I like the hearts but the triangles are much more professional IMO. Perhaps the color shift would lend it some gravitas. Definitely include “workflow” somehow, it goes fittingly with the graphic.

  7. Allen 12 years ago

    I like the triangles. Also how about “Design for learning and performance?” For the back could you fit something they can use? Kevin Mitnick’s lock pick tool business cards are an over the top example, but quite memorable. Is there a way you can get them thinking in the right direction with a question, template, list, or some example of your work?

  8. Author
    Dave Seah 12 years ago

    Mark: Heh, that’s an interesting construct you’ve come up with! I like how it reminds me of a computer language closure or data structure. As I read it, I feel my mind slowing down to parse it. That could be a good thing with the right people. My preferences for this card seem to be developing toward simple as possible, with as few words and punctuation marks, as possible.

    Kristin: The words inside of the orange boxes not lining up, because they are centered? I thought the boxes would control that, but I’ll see what it looks like with left justification applied universally in case I’m wrong about that. You never know! Test test test! :) I’m not sure that workflow is really what that diagram is about…it may LOOK like it, but actually it’s a diagram a creative flow state. Maybe they actually are the same. Workflow I tend to think of organizational process, which is not a field I want to target. That is also why I have let some “unprofessional” elements like hearts and certain phrases in, but then I have to ask myself what do they point to? I don’t think I have actually answered that question explicitly…hmmm!

    Allen: That’s a very interesting phrase. It rolls off the tongue nicely. I’ve been wondering about the back of the card too…I’m thinking of leaving it blank, and printed on uncoated 14pt stock, so I can scribble notes on it. That’s been something I’ve sorely missed in my current cards. Maybe I could just print a dot grid on it :)