Smart Business Card Design for the 21st Century Artist

24 08 2008

As independent artists, we are trying to make a name for ourselves. The first step starts with identity. One of the most important things and artist has at his disposal is a business card. Of course, you could hire a graphic designer if you are not one yourself–and just because your are an artist, doesn’t mean you are a designer–but that takes money… a lot of it. Since the phrase “starving artist” can be pretty true, it may be more productive to make your own logo and business card.

It is prudent to do some research before you start. Look around on the web for examples. What logos catch your eye? What color combinations express you as an artist?

Regarding laws in your country, it is especially important to use free fonts, unless you wish you purchase the rights to use one. You do not want to be using Helvetica and suddenly find yourself up against a lawsuit for using a copyrighted font.

Once you have your logo completed, it’s time to start your business card. There are certain parts of a business card that can be disposed of and some that are must-haves. With this list, hopefully you can pick and choose the ones that most fit you.

1. Name of the Artist
Not every business card needs to have an individuals name, but as an artist your name really is your identity both figuratively and literally.
This should be the most prominent text on your business card.

2. Logo/Business Name
A logo that is used consistently throughout your card, website, and other print materials will help establish your identity as an artist. You may not have your own business, but it can be helpful. It is up to you to choose which should be more prominent, your name or your logo. For some people their name is their logo. So don’t beat a dead horse, choose one or the other.

3. Address
A physical address can be an important feature of your business card. This could be either your home address, studio address, or even a mailing list. You can omit this part of your card if you work entirely online.

4. E-mail Address
In this day and age, almost everyone has an e-mail address. This is a vital piece of information for web-based artists. You may choose not to include this, but that is not recommended. Create an e-mail account specifically for your business, and use it only for business. Keep your personal e-mails separate. This comes in handy in the long run.

5. Website
This is an essential part of any business card whether you are a web-based artist or not. If you are creating a business card, you are serious about your work and if you are serious about your work, you MUST have a website.

6. Phone Number
This is a toss up. Typically, if you do not work from home/have a studio phone line you should add that phone number to your business card. Web-based artists may find adding a phone number unnecessary.

7. Job Title
Not necessarily needed, but it might be helpful to state that you are an artist, designer, painter, sculptor, etc.

8. List of Services
Lists clutter up a business card. If you find it absolutely necessary to add a list of what you do, feel free as it can add to the usefulness of your card. However, if you can avoid it, do so.

9. Graphics
Last but not least are purely decorative graphics. However, be careful not to overdo it.

Now that your business card is complete, give it to everyone! Include it in the package if you ship a commission, give it to potential customers, friends, family, neighbors, whomever. Get the word out there about yourself and you will be surprised at how quickly you see results.

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