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Photographic Cards

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Because of recent advances in printing technology, cards based on photography can be printed beautifully at reasonable cost. This has opened a new range of design possibilities.


Gregory Case Photographer business card

This card garnered what has to be my favorite compliment. Gregory’s wife was showing the card to a the teacher of a marketing class, and the teacher asked, “May I have one?” as if getting the card was like getting a gift. The marketing professor went on to say she felt this was the best card design she had ever seen. Which of course, I enjoyed hearing.

The card works is because it instantly says what it’s for. And rather than use a single image, the filmstrip format allowed me to show portraits on one side, and landscapes on the other.

Gregory Case is a fine photographer, partially because he used to be a therapist. This means he’s very easy to work with and helps his subjects feel at ease! Unlike many lensmen, Gregory’s so easy to work with, in fact, that I created a tagline for him: Eye Sans Ego. I added this tagline subtly into the filmstrip itself, as seen below:

Gregory Case Photographer business card detail

Even though Gregory shoots digital, I created a filmstrip because it instantly says “photography,” and despite it being an analog device, no has questioned what kind of photography he does.

Gregory Case Photographer business card side 2

The back of the card, above, show landscape images, with the tagline more prominent, but two important pieces of information are integrated into the filmstrip:

Gregory Case Photographer business card detail
Gregory Case Photographer business card detail

His URL is most prominent, to encourage people to visit his site (which I also designed, but which he has been too busy taking pictures to fully produce himself).

James Nash guitarist business card

James Nash is a guitarist (obviously) who wanted a card that was different. Actually, his significant other hired me as a present. Wasn't that nice? The thing about a musician is that they are selling themselves (I mean this in a nice way), it's their talent that's what's important. So I wanted to design a card that was as much about him as possible.

Since I work remotely, I wasn't near him to take pictures, so I asked him to have pictures taken of his hands playing his guitar, in several positions from several angles. He e-mailed me the photos. I cut one out and gave it a heavy outline, so it would look more like an illustration, then duplicated it in various levels of transparency to add the feeling of action..

His name and the other script type is set in Cezanne (to which I did some manual editing). The small text is Adobe Cronos Swash, a great Multiple Master (now OpenType) typeface with a simple yet elegant swash version.

architect-dog breeder blueprint card

architect-dog breeder blueprint card

Sandra Piscedda is an Italian  architect who raises Rhodesian Ridgebacks, so I combined her two pursuits into a single, blueprint inspired design. The two variations are for variety. The typeface is, understandably, Monotype’s Blueprint, a much more subtle and elegant face than Adobe’s overused Tekton. For more architectural typefaces, look here.

Rick Karvasales band business card

Rick Karvasales is an entrepreneur/realtor by day, singer/songwriter nights, weekends and most holidays. Sometimes the best way to visually express the feeling of a musician’s music is to show the musician! I took this photo of Rick (if you’re in the SF Bay area I can also handle photography aspects of your job), and because he plays the guitar (sometimes solo, sometimes in a group), I used illustrations of guitars for the back side of the card.

I selected shades of sepia to reflect the warmth of Rick’s style. I also designed Rick’s CD package. The typeface on both sides is called Rasta Rattin Frattin, which you can buy here.

Dave Karvasales stylist business card

Dave Karvasales is what’s known in the biz as “a natural.” He has a natural eye for style, which makes him a really fantastic hair stylist. It doesn’t hurt that he looked like a model in these pictures I took, either. Or that he’s wearing my sweater--you know, I think it’s my sweater that makes him look so good, though I’m not sure why it doesn’t have the same effect on me. Maybe I just need better lighting. I should remember to bring it along with me.

I’ve taken portraits of people for many years and, as in design, I enjoy capturing a person’s essence--or at least the essence they want to convey to the world. Dave looks tough here, but he’s really a nice guy. But he wanted tough, and tough he got. the back of the card, with his face peeking into the card looking not unlike a roman statue, is exactly the same photo as the front of the card, but the cropping makes it look quite different. I cropped it this way to make room for him to write the time and date for customer appointments on the card. The cards are printed on glossy coated paper, so he uses a bold sharpie pen which adds even more bold drama.

Why aren’t these photos color? Both black and white, and sepia (as I used in his father’s card above) are not only flattering, they’re more graphic than color. Color photos of people tend to be too realistic. Removing the color causes people to view photos differently--to look at the shapes and the mood, rather than merely the “true to life” factor. And the shattered, deconstructed, very hip typeface is called Base02. It’s not my style--but it is his, and that’s the point.

Ottawa Valley Bookstore Business Card
Arlen Bartsch has bi-continental style. I think of him as a modern day James Bond, if Bond was a brilliant marketing man, a genuinely nice person, and owned a quaint bookshop. Before his shop is in a tourist town, his card needed to be a memorable “keepsake” of his store, one that people would keep, use as a bookmark, and just generally have around when they wanted to buy a book.

I got right to the point and used a book, but it’s an elegant book, with light streaming across the name, and sitting on a burl oak table (the light and the table were added digitally). The typefaces, Penumbra for the store name, and ITC Founder’s Caslon (the most authentic, old-fashioned Caslon you can buy--lovely flaws and all) is used for the text because Caslon has always been a popular book typeface.

Ottawa Valley Bookstore Business Card back
The back of the card moves in closer on the page with a simple tagline I helped him develop for the store. The tagline makes it clear this isn’t a big-box or online book store, this is a traditional bookstore for people who love books (and art, and love, which should include pretty much everybody with any sense who might buy a book). I designed a matching web site with the same photographic book motif, which will go online shortly.

Chainbridge Group Business Card

The Chainbridge Group works with academic and business publishers to help them create new products and market growth. So the card needed to say “books” without specifying any particular kind of book. Since all books have pages, I chose a photo of the side of a book, with the pages opening to give it an instant sense of, “book” combined with a sense of mystery and anticipation--what kind of book is this, what’s it about, is it something new?

Chainbridge Group Business Card

The back of the card uses the same photo, but with text that clearly explains the services they provide. This can be invaluable when the name of your company doesn’t explain your service, or when your services need clarification. How many times have your discovered business cards months after you received them, and now you have no idea what they’re for? That doesn’t happen if you use the back of the card this way.

Nikki Arana card cloud photos

Nikki is an author whose first book, “Winds of Sonoma,” will be published in the fall. She wanted a card that reflected the theme of her book. If you look carefully, you’ll see the words “believe” in the upper right, looking as if they’re made of clouds. The body typeface is Walbaum, but the numerals are ITC Bodoni Twelve oldstyle figures because they were more readable than Walbaum’s. Because Bodoni and Walbaum are both slab-serif faces with similar features, the numbers work perfectly and you wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t told you, would you? I didn’t think so. This card is actually double-sided, with the back having the same clouds and “believe,” but with her book’s URL set large across the bottom.

Rachael Schultz Card

Rachel's painting's are dreams filled with electric color.  I couldn't imagine her card being anything but full-color. I started with photos of the artist--and her artwork. If you look carefully you'll see the artist merged into her own painting in the upper right corner. Typeface:  Pablo.

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