[Nancy Wu] As this is my last Felt & Wire article, I want to leave on a positive note by sharing 12 lessons I’ve learned via some of my favorite business card designs. I’ve picked up much along the way in both school and work, and I continue to learn more every day. I also tell my students that personal education should never end just because the formal education did. The usual resources of books, magazines, courses and the internet add much to our knowledge base. However, there are those discoveries we come across through those we meet—mentors, students, bosses, colleagues, clients—or even triggered by simple, daily life observations. You may not apply each lesson every day, but making these goals part of your life’s modus operandi never hurt where personal growth is concerned. Let’s begin….
Editor’s note: Yesterday, Nancy Wu shared the first half of a set of business cards she’s been collecting for many years that show the evolving identities of a number of Vancouver, B.C., creative professionals…including herself. The graphical changes these designers have gone through reflect both stylistic developments and their own evolving career destinies. Here’s Part 2 of Nancy’s collection, beginning with a firm she wrote about at the end of Part 1, Ion Design. Furthermore »
[Nancy Wu] 1983: I was in high school and got my first business cards printed, 100 linen cards for $15. Yes, I know, my first attempt is so bad. And not Michael Jackson BAD. The type was created via dry-transfer lettering sheets from Radio Shack, and I drew the logo by hand. (Not terribly original, but I was told initials work well as a mnemonic device.) Many years have passed, as have the various card designs…interesting that I came full circle unintentionally, and yet the change in how the current design works is much more satisfying.
[Nancy Wu] I design logomarks for a variety of clients, both big and small. Usually I start with hand-drawn sketches, and I often think of how a logo will look in black only. Even if modern technologies of the interweb (ha!), mobile and tablet apps, and digital printing provide an unlimited color range, there is something wonderful about black. It’s serious. Modern. Mysterious. Classic. Sophisticated. Bold. And beautiful. Furthermore »
[Nancy Wu] Your client says plain 2D printing won’t cut it. He wants something special — something tactile, out of the ordinary — and money is no object. Then you wake up from your dream and come back to reality. Thankfully, there are print techniques for that special quality and irresistible (to the touch) detail that digital may never emulate. There is the affordable option of foil stamping, and the more expensive — yet distinctive — option of engraving. Or if money is an object, and you like to work with your hands, how about adding a stamp or a label to a business card to give a sense of handicraft or a functional purpose?
[Nancy Wu] Cardboard is probably the last thing one would think of to print business cards on. It’s brown, it’s bumpy, it can have an inconsistent finish, it’s really cheap, it’s dead simple to find, and … wait. Perhaps those are precisely the reasons why designers choose something other than a no-name white stock. These days, cardboard — or its thinner version, kraft paper — is often used for shopping bags, shoe boxes, book covers, furniture and packaging design (this includes self-shippers, wrappers or various structures to hold food, discs, computer software, and gift products). Did I also mention it’s recycled and recyclable? It’s great for the environment, but most of all, it can look great when in the trusted hands of a meticulous designer and an experienced printer.