Business Cards for Artists, Why you need one

by Tony Rajer

Does your art career drift along year after year without course or direction? The Business of Art column is concerned with helping you plan, chart, and promote your art career. Having taught ďBusiness of Art ď classes over the years both in the USA and abroad, its given me insight into the creative mind and economics of art.

One of the first and easiest ways an artist can promote their career is to get a business card. Almost any computer program can produce a simple business card, or you can trade services with another artist and get a card designed if you canít do it yourself. Make a collection of business cards by visiting art fairs, and exhibits and acquire examples of good and badly designed cards. Use them as reference material.

Why do you need a business card? You are the CEO of your art career, and the CEO requires a card. Itís your calling card; it symbolizes you and what you do as an artist. Itís your personal propaganda tool. The card stands for you in miniature form so that others can easily find you and refer to your artwork. There is a trend in business cards to put only your name, email, and phone number. Thatís a mistake, it limits the way people can contact you. Use the card as a point of contact so that others can find you in a variety of ways. Make sure to use a simple readable font and use color expressively so that your card stands out. You can include the following items, though they are not exclusive to a card, but helpful for staying in touch in different ways. Include your name, business name if you have one, email, website, phone numbers, (cell, landline, fax) and mailing address. Each form of communication is a different way of connecting with you. It might lead to a commission, sales or exhibit. Use the card to promote your career and always carry them with you. Donít be afraid to hand them out or ask for one in return.

If you have the card printed professionally you can put images of your work or your own photo on one side and the contact information on the other. Please remember that one side can have a glossy finish but the other side should not, as you canít write on a glossy finish but you can on the matte side. Itís my habit when I get a business card to write the date and location on the card. When you contact that person in the future you can say ď I met you at such and such location on.Ē That way you can refer to them in a more personal way in your follow-up.

You can have different cards for different aspects of your work and career. I have four of them for my many interests and activities. You should also refresh your cards every few years and update them, especially if you have art work on the card.

Things to avoid in business cards include illegible fonts, script that is too large or too small, cheap paper, poorly printed images and cards with pen written over email or phone numbers that have changed. Today you can get 500 cards printed for between $50-75. Lastly, remember that the purpose of your business card is contact and communication, make it easy for another person to be in touch with you. Donít miss a chance to promote you and your art; thatís the business of art. Good luck.