Be Smart About Art

Business card UX

written by: Susan Mumford Feb. 5, 2017 Sunday blog - The art world in bite-sized stories 1501 views

Business card UX

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Have you ever been given a business card that looked impressive, yet you couldn’t make a handwritten note on it owing to the laminate finish? How about being handed a card with a black background that appeared smart at first glance, yet much like the one with the laminate coat, you couldn’t write on (this time because of the dark background)?

Much like a website, you want a business card to impress while simultaneously providing a seamless ‘user experience’ or, in tech terms, UX.

An apt art world analogy is a viewer’s experience of a piece that’s been effectively framed. Say you’re walking through a major museum retrospective that spans the life of an artist. Effective framing shows pieces at their best, enabling you to focus on the works of art without being distracted by the frame. In short, the best frames are so well done that they’re almost invisible in context of the art they accompany.

Similarly, a considered, professional business card will not prompt the recipient to think about the care that’s gone into making it.

Think about these three ‘invisible’ UX aspects to business cards:

  • Font type (readily legible)
  • Font size & colour (large and visible enough to not need a magnifying glass)
  • Light background & not coated in plastic (making it possible for a recipient to make notes)

And then there’s the basic information you provide, enabling people to get in touch with you:

  • Your name (and business name, if different from your name)
  • Website / blog
  • Email
  • Social media handle/s
  • Telephone / equivalent

For that matter… While going through business cards from the most recent Miami Art Week, I discovered that one Canadian gallery had entirely omitted their email address. Whoops! Had I not personally connected with that individual, it’s doubtful I would’ve been able (or bothered) to follow up. Thankfully, the email address was clearly stated on the website’s contact page (noting that it’s even better to have the email address presented on every page of a site, which trust me, can be done tactfully).

As for being memorable?
Since you’re in a creative field, you’re brilliantly positioned to present visual examples of your own creations, a self-portrait or even a portrait made of you. Something that some speakers and entrepreneurs do is present a profile image akin to a social media headshot. My personal observation of business cards today is that we’re seeing an increase of little printed headshots, likely a result of social media profile images (both because we’re used to seeing them and already have professional images as they’re needed online anyway).  

And last, but certainly not least, how do you make use of the space and reinforce your brand?
Savvy networkers not only use both sides of the business card, they infuse their brand throughout. This ‘brand’ element can incorporate logo, colour, card format, font colour and style – you name it. There’s a great freedom in expressing who you are and what you do in such visual representation, rather than making a business card that simply looks like everyone else’s.

So then, business card UX… You express your brand identity, provide key information, make use of available space and ensure that it’s presented in a way that’s user-friendly. Like a work of art, it might look easy, however a lot of care and consideration was taken to make it appear this way.  

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