Design is a funny thing … there are rules, theories & concepts but ultimately I think you don’t really notice good design but bad design will capture your attention & not for the right reasons – bad design distracts from your message.

That is why every so often I ask a client if I can review a design project I worked on for them as a case study.

Megan is the solo business owner of Tech Coach HQ. She is a speaker & does a lot of networking so business cards are an essential part of her marketing tool kit. She was running low on the cards she designed in the early days of her business & wanted to tweek & freshen the design. That’s where my design studio came in.

First things first, we jumped on skype for a briefing meeting. Megan had had her logo professionally designed & could supply it in a vector format*. She had a brand kit stored in Canva (for work) which included her brand colours in HEX** format & her fonts. She also had a limited number of professional headshots.

Megan is the solo business owner of Tech Coach HQ. She is a speaker & does a lot of networking so business cards are an essential part of her marketing tool kit. She was running low on the cards she designed in the early days of her business & wanted to tweek & freshen the design. That’s where my design studio came in.

Headshots in Canva for work
Headshots in Canva for work

First things first, we jumped on skype for a briefing meeting. Megan had had her logo professionally designed & could supply it in a vector format*. She had a brand kit stored in Canva (for work) which included her brand colours in HEX** format & her fonts. She also had a limited number of professional headshots.

Branding in Canva for work
Headshots in Canva for work

Megan had a few ideas of what she wanted & send me through a mock-up she had done in word.

Business Card mock-up concept

Before I could do anything I needed to find out what her colour codes were in CMYK (these are the way printers mix colour, it stands for …Cyan | Majenta | Yellow | Black). I have special tools to do this but you can do it almost as well with the help of an online colour converter.

Inputting Megans colours gave the correct printers codes (ie Fire Brick or #B4031F is 0|98|83|29 in CMYK).

Headshots in Canva for work

Next was her photo – she had 6 photos but all of them cropped the top of her head off, so rather than having her floating in the middle of the card, I moved her head to the very top of the card. However this meant she was cut off just below the shoulders which is why I decided to crop her into a circle. Her logo fitted beautifully into the side of her neck. So far so good but it was very top heavy. Bringing colour gradient seen in the logo into a heavy line at the base of the card provided balance & an area for a tag line. Then, add the contact details & the front of the card is done.

Next I moved on to working on the back of the card which was clumsy with no cohesion or balance between the elements. After a lengthy discussion about the value of QR codes we decided that removing the cumbersome QR code left room for Megan’s zones of genius.

Finally the first draft was ready for comment.

Headshots in Canva for work
Headshots in Canva for work

Megan was pretty happy with the first draft but had a few ideas she wanted to see visually … this is really common & it is worth playing around trying to get all yours idea out .. what if we do this, move that to the right, change that font … etc etc.

Headshots in Canva for work
Headshots in Canva for work
Headshots in Canva for work
Headshots in Canva for work
Headshots in Canva for work

So there was a bit of too-ing & fro-ing trying different ideas. By repeating the heavy bottom bar we could invert the social media icons so her brand colours were maintained. Much thought was put into the text & language.

Finally we came up with the perfect solution. The result was sharp, elegant & clean.

The card was printed on a heavy bright white card, matt laminated. The logo was overlaid with a spot varnish – to just give that point of difference.

At the end of the day you have to be totally & completely excited to hand out your business cards … you should love them, be proud of them & your poential client should want to take notice of them. That’s when you know you have a brilliant business card, when people look at it, admire it, read it, talk about it.

GLOSSARY:

* Vector files such as AI, EPS & SVG can remain editable so you can open them back up in Illustrator and edit any text or other elements within the graphic. Then have clean edges & are fully scalable which is why they are great for logos. Images that contain text & are saved as a JPG, PNG or GIF are not editable. They also use a lossy form of compression when being saved which creates a loss of quality.

** The HEX (Hexidecimal) numeral system is used in websites so browsers know what colour to show.

 

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