Amateur's business cards

altsan's picture

Sorry, yet another novice's business card question. :)

Last summer, I was leaving my job in Japan, and needed to give various acquaintances some kind of 'business' card with my name & email address (it's the done thing in Japan, you gotta have a business card!). I rather hastily put something together, based on the fonts I had on my laptop:


I don't pretend this is up to graphic design standards, but I hope it doesn't commit any truly egregious errors.

Since I got back I've also found the need to hand out personal contact info to people at various receptions, functions, and whatnot. So now I've been working on ways of improving the design a little.

Is the 'AT' logo an improvement? I'm worried it's too dark for proper balance (which is why I widened the text to try and compensate). It's a modified tracing of two letters from Goudy's original "Goudy Text" designs in The Alphabet & Elements of Lettering. (My sister subsequently pointed out that, quite unintentionally, it kind of forms all of my initials: AWLT.)

I'm also working on an actual business card for my current freelance consulting work, which I'll post in a followup.

altsan's picture

OK, the actual business card design I'm working on.

Does Avant Garde (well, technically URW Gothic) actually work here? I wouldn't really have expected it, but of all the combinations I tried this seemed most convincing.

I previously tried the following; personally I think it's a little too monotonous, but it's a possibility.

I don't have much of a budget for new fonts at the moment, so I'd prefer to stay with widely available ones (or, in a pinch, at least widely usable fonts which I could buy for general use as well).

I haven't decided where to fit in the phone number yet, but probably just above the email.

J. Tillman's picture

I'm not a designer, but I'll comment anyway.
Re: your first post, I do like the second darker logo. But I would raise the two san serif lines a little. And I would kern the Ta in your name to push the a under the T a little.
Re: your second post, these two cards do not say "technical and up-to-date" to me.

altsan's picture

In print the kerning actually looks much better for some reason.

In the personal cards, I've raised the sans lines as you suggest; I also changed their font to Candara.

In the business cards, interesting point. How do you define looking "technical and up-to-date"?

If there's a message I want to send with the latter, it's more like "intelligent, but tasteful and conservative/restrained". I don't want to appear flashy or trendy.

altsan's picture

OK, I think this one may be a little sharper...

Catharsis's picture

From reading "Design for Non-Designers", I recall that all-centered alignment often feels boring. I'm getting exactly that impression here — the flush-left alignment in your first two images strikes me as more interesting and more confident than your last design. In particular, the list of three items with nothing but spaces in between feels loose and haphazard. I suspect this is why your previous design seemed "monotonous" to you.

I also found the humanist serif font in your previous designs a nicer choice than the portly modern you use now.

Oh, and lose the drop shadow. IMHO, shadows should only be used to increase contrast (e.g. for light writing on dark background). Here, it just makes the text look less crisp.

altsan's picture

I do kind of see what you mean. The humanist font (which is Mythology, by the way) is still used for the subtitles in the new design - I do want to keep it somewhere in there. Using it for everything doesn't seem quite right, though, hence the title change to Bulmer.

I rather thought the sterility of a modern would subtly accentuate the pen-formed quality of the remaining text. You're probably right in that I should experiment with something other than an all-centred layout, though.

I've realized I should also make the email address more readable for the benefit of older customers. :)

Letterpress1964's picture

Hello Alexander

The key points to think about after you've fine-tuned your artwork are:-

1. Card thickness/colour/texture - Colorplan 540gsm is arguably the best option with a choice of 50 shades http://gfsmith.com/paper/colorplan

2. Print process - letterpress or hot foil printing adds so much character to any professional minimalist or contemporary business card http://www.deeplyimpressed.co.uk/

- David

http://www.ultimatebusinesscards.co.uk/

altsan's picture

Well this job's only likely to last until I go to grad school so I don't need to invest too much time and expense into them. But I'll take your suggestions under consideration.

altsan's picture

Perhaps this is an improvement...

altsan's picture

The above seems promising, actually. I changed the middle initial to my other one (goes with my domain name) and tried tweaking the optical balance. Not sure it's quite there yet, but I'll work on it.

If I had access to letterpress or professional printing I probably would do that instead of the drop-shadow, but since these come out of my own laser printer at the moment I think it's better than nothing.

mch's picture

Very nice, all the best!

StefanR's picture

Looks like something from American Psycho.

Jesus. That is really super. How'd a nitwit like you get so tasteful?

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