Thing-a-Day 02: Quick Business Card Refresh

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.


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.


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!


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!


  1. Gary 9 years ago

    I really like the simplicity of these and, or course, your slightly mischievious brand photo. Where did you get them printed? Curious, as I’m about to do the same thing before the end of the year (card refresh).

  2. Author
    Dave Seah 9 years ago

    Gary: Thanks! I’m getting them printed at 4over, who printed my last set of cards. There’s another printer in Korea that I’ve been meaning to try out, though I can’t remember the name of it (I have samples from them too).

  3. I love this. And not because of who took the image, but because that image is so jovial and friendly. That card would make me smile if someone gave it to me. It instantly breaks the “stranger” connection. It reminds me of the first time we met and discussed robots.