For some people, a business card is just a simple piece of paper that holds some important contact information to be passed on and saved into a phone or address book later on. It doesn’t necessarily hold any long-lasting meaning. As a graphic designer however, we design other people’s business cards for a living, and so we are super critical of how this can best be achieved. We are constantly looking of better ways that this tiny card can make an impact. What’s more is we become even more critical when we are designing these for ourself.
It can be an agonising process when designing for yourself because all of a sudden you become your own client and this is an opportunity to showcase some of your own skills. You start questioning what sort of designer you are. What makes you so special? How can you show that you are unique without limiting your audience? When and to whom are these cards likely to be handed out anyway? All these questions start arising that would normally be directed towards the client. On one level it’s amazing to have such creative freedom. A mini project that you can drive and steer for yourself. But we can be our own worst nightmare.
Perhaps the most difficult client I will ever work with is myself.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I found myself criticising my own work even more harshly that I do some of my client pieces. There was no one to give me that brutally honest feedback or to make the ultimate final decisions but myself. Sure I could call on some of my graphic design friends, some of which have been great. But to get an idea of how critical us designers can be, check out this clip from American Psycho (2000):
So here is what I have ultimately learnt from this experience:
- Keep it simple and professional.
- Make sure it is ultimately something you are proud and comfortable to hand out to people. If you are not overall happy with the design then chances are you won’t even hand them out anyway!
- Don’t follow the trends of others – make it unique to YOU, that way people will remember YOU.
- Print and paper quality is important – sometimes it’s worth splurging on this so that the cards will last and keep for longer in your wallet. You won’t want to be handing out one that’s all roughed up and bent (especially if your are a perfectionist like me). Perhaps even worth investing in a good card holder to keep your cards nice and crisp.
- When designing for yourself, if you are ultimately not happy at the end result, well you can always have another go! (I did!)
- By doing these mini projects for ourselves it can only make us better graphic designers and ultimately better able to serve others with practice of our own unique skills.
So if you’re a graphic designer or creative and thinking of creating your own business cards or mini project, What are you waiting for?
Go on, get out there and give it a go!
Here’s a few links I found online for some inspiration to get you started:
Thanks for reading and you can see more of my latest personal business card designs here.