“Inspiration can be a fickle thing,” says Cameron Chapman of Smashing Magazine. Like any creative process, inspiration doesn’t solely come from within. Sometime it takes exterior sources to spark an idea. There is a lot more to designing a business card than what meets the eye. What do you want your business card to say about your company both literally and metaphorically? What color scheme best captures your audience? How funky can you be without crossing the line of unprofessional? Are they easy to read?
How does one make these decisions?
1. Take a look around your office.
Analyzing your office layout may give you some insight into the overall “feel” of your company. Become familiar with the color schemes, the structure and “format.” Is your furniture round or angular? Is it pristine or laid back? Is it crowded and “collage-y” or orderly? What is the style of your interior design? These are all things you should be taking into consideration before designing your business card. It should be an honest process, depicting your company for how it is.
2. See what others are doing and talking about in your industry.
Not that you should be copying what others are doing in your industry, but examining trends can be incredibly insightful into understanding what works and what doesn’t work. Aside from doing the initial Facebook stalking, business card accumulating and other initial investigations, it might be beneficial to read some of the content that those companies put out. Check out if they have a blog. Language is incredibly powerful, and understanding tone won’t just improve your business card design, but will improve your company’s overall effectiveness.
3. Put on a record.
Listening to music can be an awesome way to overcome a creative block. Not to mention, records are an awesome way to listen to music – for a few reasons. For starters, a lot of work goes into the way a record cover is designed. Just there, you may find some unlikely inspiration. “Think through what your project is really about, and then try to tailor your music to the feeling you want to create,” says Chapman.
4. Read some of your favorite old illustrated picture books.
Children’s book illustrators are some of the most talented artists in the world. Not to mention, the typography and the page layouts can be equally as valuable. Investigate the colors, fonts, sizes and positioning on the pages. How much of the page is covered in text versus illustration? Plus, it is always fun to take a trip back in time and read some of your favorites.
5. Reach out to a professional designer.
It’s okay that this process doesn’t come naturally to you… it’s not your job! But there are people out there who specialize in JUST THIS. They understand the difference between raised ink and letterpress and the effect it has on the viewer. Receiving some guidance may be all the inspiration that you need, and allow you to focus on other aspects of your company.
For more information on designing your business card, check out www.japanprint.com.