Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Handmade Business Card Tutorial

Handmade business cards are a great way to put your art into the hands of potential buyers. They're relatively easy to make, totally customizable, and worth the effort. Although I'd used traditional business cards before, they really didn't communicate graffiti fusion, at least the way I wanted them to. If people ask what kind of art I do, usually their next question is, What's graffiti fusion? I can describe it, but the better option is showing them an example.

So a few months back, while doing an exercise for Traci Bautista's Discovering Y.O.U. Art Marketing Course, I decided to play around in the studio and make my own with materials on hand.

For this batch of business cards, I first made layered graffiti backgrounds on manila folder. It's one of my favorite materials to paint on, and provided a large surface area for this project. These backgrounds were still in work at the time this photo was taken.

On the reverse side of the manila folder, I glued a transparency I'd painted previously, then added accents with colored tape. This shot shows both sides of the folder. Inspired by something I'd seen around my neighborhood, I bought some "Hello" labels and found a free urban font online, then printed out my business information onto the labels.

Front and reverse of finished cards. Although they're slightly bigger than traditional business cards, each one is a unique piece of art.

I also experimented with different textural backgrounds. This photo shows the labels on dyed paper towels, which were adhered to the manila folder.

For this batch, I stuck labels on a collage of Citrasolv-treated paper and dyed paper towels, backed with manila folder.

If you're looking for a different option than using original backgrounds for your business cards, the following instructions may be a bit quicker.

It's helpful to take digital photos of both your finished work and works in progress. Make photocopies of your work at the copy store. You can then use them for a variety of projects. For this batch of handmade business cards, I adhered a photocopy of my original work with Aleene's Collage Pauge Instant Decoupage to cardstock.

On the reverse, I adhered a black-and-white copy of some original work, and then collaged color copies over it for contrast.

Use colored pencils to highlight a few areas.

Add the labels and maybe a few embellishments...

Then cut them out.

Try making your business cards on a variety of surfaces, incorporating different looks and textures. The idea is to have fun communicating who you are as an artist through the cards. Since making these, I've also designed other reversible business cards that double as ACEOs, using a deck of playing cards. They're just big enough for the Hello label on the front and an original background or photocopy of my original work on the back. Look for these ACEO business cards in The Soundry's Baddie Bags, for the first 25 people to enter Art Carnage this Saturday night.


JessiVille said...

Good timing on this post just as I'm soaking up some graffiti inspiration with that new book I bought. There is part of me inside that wants to get out on a really big wall! When I was at the U of O they had a wall filled with Montana spray paint in all those delicious colors! I have never sprayed a wall, probably couldn't do it without some help - LOL! At least your graffiti fusion style is a little more portable! Great cards!!!

MeUpcycled said...

@Jess: Do the wall! Why not? You could even do a small space within your studio.

@Online: Your link referred to commercial business cards. Might be beneficial to some people, but I'm talking about making them by hand as an alternative to commercial business cards.

Anonymous said...

Karen...FABULOUS post!! Love seeing the process of making the cards. awesome!! xo