Can business cards be creative?

Happy Monday, ifriers!

Are you as perplexed and overwhelmed by the thought of your own marketing materials as I often am? Do you find it difficult to describe who you are and everything you do on a 2″ x 3.5″ double-sided card?

It is a problem I have and it’s a problem I find common amongst other creative folks: how to market yourself effectively, how to create your own identity, how to sell yourself. We do it for other people all the time, creating awesome logos and web pages and letterhead for the less creative. For some reason it’s just really, really hard to do it for ourselves.


So when I stumbled upon this article by artist/designer John T. Unger, about business cards, I was pleased to find creative suggestions I could use. Like, why just have one design, when you can have ten? This can be especially useful if you work in several different styles, or have design or copywriting skills in addition to illustration. Clients can choose the card design that best suits their needs. See John’s below:


And then, don’t you love it when a useful article links you to more and more interesting and fun things (especially on a Monday)? John T. Unger led me to the site of Hugh MacLeod who creates and sells business cards with a cartoon on one side. Customers purchase these in bulk and print their contact info on the blank side. Hugh has found a way to make business cards fun, unpredictable and memorable for himself and others. Which makes me think, “how can I do the same thing, but in my own style?”

I also found this gem on Hugh’s blog, “How to be creative.” Hugh offers 31 suggestions for those who wish to be original, starting with:

1. Ignore everybody.
2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change the world.
3. Put the hours in.
4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.
5. You are responsible for your own experience.

The list goes on and is followed by very insightful explanations of each statement. It’s a good read and it will excite you.

So I guess if you really want to be creative with your business cards, it’s best not to use a variation on Hugh’s business card cartoon idea at all, but rather to reinvent the entire idea of the business card to your own liking. And how fun is that?

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Posted by admin on 05/21/07 under artists,cartoon,design
No Comments

  • rama

    i love the ideas in this post and the idea that your next business card doesn’t have to be your forever business card. once i accepted that, it opened up a lot of possibilities. my current cards were the only thing i could do with a delapitated printer and they came out pretty cool!

  • Kate Hamilton

    Right on. Would love to see those cards!

  • Josh

    This guy hit me in a lot of ways. Amazing article. It really has me thinking. Thanks for the great post, Kate.

  • Kate Hamilton

    Glad you got something out of it! I’m guessing that you’re referring to the “how to be creative” article? Got me thinking too.

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