The business of business cards

A week ago, I ordered business cards yet again–my sixth such transaction, adding up to 900 cards procured since I embarked on this adventure two years ago.

Business-card iterationThat purchase also represented the third version of my card’s design since my initial market research: sifting through the stack of cards on my desk and determining that those made of unusual materials (not to name-drop, but Steve Wozniak’s card is photochemically etched steel) and those in unusual sizes stuck out.

A different size of paper being a lot cheaper than metal or plastic, I opted for miniature cards–which brought the added benefit of doubling my wallet’s capacity.

The basic design has stayed the same since (for those curious, the image on the back is the photo of the Blue Ridge I picked for my Twitter background years ago, the close-up of a manual typewriter’s @ symbol on the front comes from the too-many shots I took for this blog’s header image, and the text is in Franklin Gothic and Hoefler Text). But I’ve increased the font size on the front after people said that copy was too hard to read; on the back, it’s gotten smaller to leave more room to jot down notes.

I’m sure that I’m overthinking this. But I also like graphic design, and this exercise yields nearly instant, mostly positive feedback from people who see a card that doesn’t look like most.

My cards at the Post weren’t so interesting to look at, especially before a 2009 or 2010 redesign finally put something on the back and added a Web address to the front. But the first set I ever got there was exciting for a different reason.

Back in 1995, my editors had elected to ship me out to Los Angeles to cover the debut E3 video-game trade show–but since I was only a “news aide,” not an actual reporter, management balked at providing me with cards. So my boss (note, no longer at the Post) had a print shop a few blocks away crank out a batch of knockoffs, and nobody was the wiser. Until now.


12 thoughts on “The business of business cards

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