This past week the issue of business cards for creative came up when I was out with a friend. I was handed a card by a woman because I had been admiring what she was wearing, but as she handed it to me she stated, “but I won’t have a website until August”. She then tried to explain to me what the web url would be. Not only did her card not have a phone number or email — just a mailing address — she hadn’t even set up shop yet. So why have a card at all?
The business card should be your LAST step when you are in the business of offering anything, be it art, prints, jewelry, clothes, whatever. If you don’t even have a web presence of any sort, don’t get the cards done. People jerk around a lot when it comes to getting a website up and running; I’ve seen some people take up to a year to get it the way they want — and then they never update it. Get a blog address, and Etsy account, even Flickr! Have something to show people what it is you do and maybe provide a way of them purchasing it! A card with your email is nice, but if you do something that is visual, have a way for me to see more.
Once you have a presence of some sort online, if you do something visual, put an image on the card; nothing I can’t stand more than some weird abstracted design that you got from a stock selection when you tell me you are a painter or sculptor. And please for the love of God, don’t be cheap and print your cards on an inkjet with that flimsy paper you can buy at Staples. Not only does the paper quality suck, but the ink runs! I’ve had my fingers covered in ink from the slightest bit of moisture in the air. If you can’t get real cards done, then it says to me you are not serious. I am fanatical about my cards; I get them done on heavy paper and each one has a different image of my paintings on them, so they are like tiny little baby prints and done in a way where people are reluctant to throw them out. I’ve seen them tacked up on people’s computers or propped up on their desks. Heck, someone even emailed this week just to ask me where I got them done! It is also the best way that when someone asks, “what kind of stuff do you do?” I can actually whip it out and show them rather than go into art terms they may not understand.
By the same token, if you have had a web presence for ages, go get a damn card done already. It makes you look fancy so long as you avoid those crap inkjet ones. Now go, go make stuff work! And don’t be a cheap ass. You’ll thank me later.