Q: What does your business card look like? Surely an artist like you has put some creativity into your own advertising.
A: Until this past June, I hadn’t had a business card for over ten years. I just felt there was no need for it. Serious clients contacted me through either another art director or via one of my marketing efforts like a direct mail piece or a sourcebook ad. It seemed like the only people who asked for a business card were ones I didn’t want to hear back from… generally people who wanted a caricature of grandpa for Christmas or an artist to draw at their kid’s birthday party. That’s not the kind of work I am interested in these days, so business cards seemed useless.
However when I designed this site I also redesigned my business logo to use as a branding image, so I had this business card made up at the same time:
My contact info is on the back in yellow letters on a maroon background. Pretty plain, isn’t it? No wacky caricature of me or any use of my artwork. I didn’t see the reasoning behind doing any of that kind of thing. A 2″ x 3.5″ card is hardly a good showcase for any artwork. I thought it better to keep it simple and use the card for it’s main purpose… to give someone my contact information.
You would think that illustrators would have some pretty fancy and visually interesting cards, wouldn’t you? The opposite seems to be true. Most of the successful illustrators I know have very plain business cards. Mort Drucker‘s card is his signature in black ink on a white card, and his contact info. That’s it. C.F. Payne‘s card reads thusly: “C.F. Payne, Illustrator” and his phone number in Helvetica black ink on a white card with a little raised rectangle. Big name syndicated cartoonists may have a little drawing of their character in the corner, but that’s about it. I think it’s a sign of success that the simpler the card the less you are feeling the need to shout your name. There are few illustrators out there who’s names are big enough to stand on their own on a card like Mort’s and Chris’s (I am certainly not one), but many artists seem to take a low key approach to their business cards.
Thanks to Garrett Williams for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here! I’m running low!
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