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  • Ilene Price

All About You in 2 x 3-1/2 Inches

Business Cards So Tiny and Powerful

There are so many avenues in the field of graphic design, from brand identity, brochures and posters to motion graphics and video. The one piece of printed graphic design that has always fascinated me is, and always will, is the business card. It is your first impression, your calling card as they say. In a small, usually 2 x 3-1/2 inch space, it has to give someone all your pertinent information, but also be stunning and eye-catching in its design.  Think about it, your name, tag line, company, phone, fax, address, website etc.; it’s a lot of information in such a small space. The design, color and logo have to be clear and clever. Back in the day, (and I’m referring to the 80’s) there was on occasion, the opportunity to use both sides and multiple colors when the budget allowed. You could even sometimes use a custom die cut shape, but more times than not, this was too expensive. Most of the time it was just one or two colors on a single side, but with some good design skills, it could be gorgeous.  Some Favorite Horizontal Designs I Have Saved Over the Years With today’s technology and social media, you can have a very simple card with just a website link and email. I've heard some people say they don’t even use business cards anymore. Are they a dying art form? When I started out in design there was no internet, email was just beginning and we didn’t have social media. The business card was everything.

In my early days after graduating from college, I loved designing logos and creating simple identities for clients. Usually, it consisted of just a business card, letterhead, envelope and shipping label. Today a business’s branding can range from these important basic items to huge identity programs including brochures, packaging, signage, media webites and more. Having your identity, look consistent and cohesive across all platforms, printed materials and media is what “branding” is. The fact that  graphic design has moved more into digital media and less printed material does not change the fact that whatever it is you are using for your branding identity, it has to be good basic design. I will always love business card design. I have been collecting them wherever I go since college, whether they’re from restaurants, shops or even a doctors office. I am always amazed when I see a layout or some typography that is fresh and new. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time, sometimes you can use an existing design and add a new spin on it. It’s also easier today to print in multiple colors and use both sides at little or no extra cost these days. But you have to be careful not to over design with those options. Sometimes just a simple one sided, 2 color design is all you need. Some Favorite Vertical Designs I Have Saved Over the Years Good design is about taking the clients needs, being inspired by existing and vintage work as well current and popular trends, and then creating something that is unique from that. I know these days anyone can create their own business cards from templates on websites like Vistprint or Zazzle. It’s a great DIY for the average person who needs a quick calling card with little experience and a low budget. But a really good, distinctive design stands out from the rest when it is created from scratch and the designer took the time to explore and develop an identity. 

As a designer, I feel the business card is a place to showcase your skills in logo design, layout, color and typography all at the same time in the smallest of spaces. I feel if you can master that, you could design anything! Hopefully the art of beautiful business card design is not becomming extinct in the digital age.


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About Ilene

My name is Ilene Price and I am an artist, designer and creative soul. I believe in being happy and doing what you love. Read more...

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