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Business Card Tips for Artists

August 18, 2010

Most professionals agree that a business card is one of your most valuable marketing tools. It’s small, portable, relatively affordable and can be given to anyone and everyone you meet.

The trick, of course, is getting your business card to work for you.

Design

Some people will tel you that artists are not graphic designers and that you should hire someone to design your business cards for you. Others will say that as an artist you’re in the perfect position to design your own promotional material. My stance? It depends.

If you

  • have access to a program like Photoshop, Gimp or Coreldraw;
  • have some experience with said program;
  • are comfortable with designing your own products;
  • and have extra time to devote to the design process

by all means design your own business cards!

I design my cards myself for a variety of reasons: it’s inexpensive, it gives me complete control, and I enjoy it. As with anything, there is a learning curve. My business cards of several years ago definitely look less professional than those I have now, and in a few years I’ll probably look back and say the same thing!

If you’re hesitant or uncomfortable on the computer, you may want to look into different options.If you decide to hire out, make sure you work closely with your designer to get the look you want. Artist business cards are slightly different than other run-of-the-mill cards and need special considerations.

Graphics

Personally, I like to keep graphic elements to a minimum. Unlike other businesses, you don’t need any kind of logo or other designs. The most prominent graphic on your card should be your art. Let me emphasize: your art should be on your card! If there’s no art on your business card, you’ve done something wrong already!

Make sure you start with a good quality image, then build your other design elements around it. Your card should compliment and showcase your work, not compete with it.

I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to design. My advice is to not get too fancy; sometimes the simplest layouts are the most effective.

One option to showcase your work is to crop it to create a “detail” view. You can then use this detail as your background. Another option is to feature your art on one side of the card and have your information printed on the back.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these creative business card designs.

Essential Information

Remember that your business card is a pretty small space to work with. You don’t want to cram everything about yourself onto it. Instead, stick with the basic, essential info and include it in a way that is clear and logical. You don’t want people to have to search for anything.

The most important information is your name, phone number, e-mail address, website (if you have one), and possibly your mailing address.

Remember:

  • keep fonts legible
  • make sure your text stands out from the background
  • use a big enough font size (no smaller than 10)

If people can’t read your business card, you’ve failed!

Tweak It

I have always found that my first design is always a bit flat and lifeless. The second design is always better! Don’t be afraid to move things around and try different colour combinations. If you need cards for an event, make sure you leave yourself enough time to tweak the design.

Printing

Once you’re perfected your design, you will need to decide if you want to print your cards yourself or have someone do them for you.

I’ve always printed my own cards. Here’s why:

  • I can print small quantities of cards
  • I can change my design frequently to reflect my latest work
  • I can print multiple designs to feature different artworks
  • I have more control over the process

To print business cards at home, you will need a decent printer. For paper, I recommend the business card paper you can get from almost any stationery store. The one I use is a heavy, white, card stock that easily snaps apart without any perforations. I’ve always had great experiences with this! It can even be printed on both sides.

Conclusion

Whether you design and print them yourself or have them done professionally, the purpose of your business card is to show peole what you do (your art), who you are (your name), and how they can contact you (your info). Include those elements, arrange them in a tasteful, legible, pleasing way, and you’re on the right track!

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3 Comments
  1. I know that I design my business cards featuring my artwork in my shop on zazzle.com. I put a high quality image on the front of the card of one of my paintings and on the back I pick a complimentary color for the background color. Then I type in the bare minimum for contact information. I too like to keep it clean and simple. I’ve received many compliments on my business cards. Zazzle has excellent quality and great prices and if you watch you can get discounts quite often. 🙂

  2. Hello:
    I am a mixed media artist and I would like to say that I really enjoy your blog. It is very informative and I have you saved under my bookmarks for easy reference. I wish you much continued success & thank you for the knowledge.

    -lab

    • Thanks for the great tip, Itaya. I’ve never ordered from Zazzle, but I’ll have to check it out. Sounds like a cool site!

      Lacye, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Hope to see you back here soon.

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