Designing for Myself

A friend of mine recently started his own business. He was in the midst of designing his business cards, so I quickly mocked some design options up for him. (Not sure if he wanted my help or not…but he got it…☺ ) I had such a good time making up the designs that it inspired me to come up with some business card designs for my freelance work.

I already have a logo that I made some time back, so it was really just a matter of using that design to make some business cards. I’m pretty happy with the result.

An interesting dilemma came up as I was designing them. Should I focus more on design, or on usefulness? I suppose at some level, this dilemma comes up for all designers. Everyone wants to create a sense of awe when someone looks at your design. In fact, deep down, you’re hoping that someone will give you a job just by looking at your business cards, or single piece of work. But if a user can’t figure out how to contact you later, they might just give up.

The problem I encountered was deciding what information to put on the card. Will someone be upset with me if I don’t put my phone number on there? It’s not that I mind giving out my phone number – but it just wasn’t fitting in the design. What if the font size on a non-crucial element is too small? Will people be turned off and chuck the card in the bin?

In the end, the design trumped. I realize that most designs for clients require a bit more pragmatism when it comes to information, but if I can’t push the envelope for my website and marketing materials, then I don’t think I could be very happy with myself. And since I’m the client in this case…I aim to please.

The focus is on the most important aspect of the card – my website address. When someone references my business card, I want him or her to go to my site. That’s where they can get more information. I think about the way that I use business cards. I take a quick look, put it in my pocket, stick it in a drawer, and eventually throw it away. If I do see it again, I use it to look up information about the contact…on the web. Rarely, if ever, do I keep a card to reference someone’s phone number.

Anyway, feel free to give me your thoughts.

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