My philosophy of self promotion differs from some designers. I believe that doing a project for yourself can be as important to your portfolio as any client job. But on the other hand, design (in its most pure and functional sense) is not a form of self expression. I feel that a lot of designers in my age range tend to forget this, or where never taught this in the first place.
For years I’ve been printing my cards online with various vendors, and if you’ve met me in person over the last 2 years, I’ve almost certainly handed you a Moo Mini Card. I really liked those mini cards, I think they’re interesting and functional, a wonderful conversation starter. But they didn’t embody my design sensibilities or transmit the proper message to people when I handed them off.
When I started thinking about designing new business cards a few weeks ago, I wanted to do something unique and thoughtful, but not overtly expressive. The Moo cards were great for giving people my information, but they didn’t display the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that I attempt to put into my projects.
So I started from scratch.
I figured, why not make my cards by hand? I don’t hand out that many, so it would be totally worth it to have a story to tell when I do. My process began when I was researching printmaking techniques that would work well in a small format. I decided that I absolutely needed to emboss my logo onto my card.
This would give it the tactile, realness that I wanted people to experience when they take my card for the first time. They would touch it and, feel the relief in the paper, look at it for longer, and remember it for its strength and quality.
Then I designed the information side of the card, laid everything out in illustrator and, printed them 10up on graph paper.
I printed registration marks onto the sheets and chopped them down to business card size.
This was the easy part.
The hard part was figuring out how to get the graph paper onto the card stock that my logo was embossed onto. A double layered card is not something that you see everyday, but it’s certainly something that stands out. I came up with the idea of wheat-pasting the paper onto the cards.
This worked out great. All I needed was a bit of flour, some warm water, and a brush to paint the paste on. After all the cards had been dried and flattened under a 10lb pane of glass, I finished them off with a sharpie. (Black corners … sexy.)
At the end of all of this, I ended up with around 100 cards, and the entire process took about 4 hours of work. Totally worth it in my opinion. And now that I have a card that is made by hand, with love, I can explain to people how much I value their business, and their relationship to my design. I may not give these cards to everyone, but I don’t want to be in everyone’s rolodex. These cards are for people that I have a genuine interest in working with, and I’m happy to spend time getting my hands dirty get that point across.
I’ll be posting a short video of the wheat-pasting process soon.