The business card may seem like an antiquated relic in the age of the internet, but it is one of the most powerful and used personal branding tools in the business. Those in-person connections are still valuable to have, and a well-designed business card may connect you with your next sale, commission, or exhibition.
What should you include on artist business cards?
Design and cardstock are important, but the most integral part of your artist business card is the information on it.
Your name. Your artist business card must have your name on it. If you use a pseudonym to promote your art, make sure the name on your business card is the same as the name on your website and social media pages. It should be the same name that you sign your work with – or at least relevant (if you sign your art with your initials, that’s different than if you sign your name “Lucy” but put “Trevor” on your business cards).
Contact information. A card is completely pointless if it doesn’t tell anyone how to reach you. A phone number and e-mail address will ensure that you can “continue the conversation” with anyone who’s interested in your work.
Website. Your card should also have your website on it, or a place where your work can be viewed online. You should never try to fit your whole catalog onto a card, or turn your card into a catalog, so by putting your website on your card, you’re telling people that there is more to see and showing them how to see it.
“Artist.” You don’t need to write the word ‘artist’ but your business card should clearly express to anyone that you are one. You can have one of your artworks act as the background, or include a universal graphic icon, like a picture frame, paintbrush, camera, or chisel. If you have many different styles of art (like if you are both a commissioned portrait painter and an abstract expressionist), it may be useful to have two different designs based on the relevant practice you are trying to promote.
The following things are not required, but may be useful information to your business card:
- Services you provide
- Your address (if you have a studio or business)
- Fax number
- Social Media icons
“Should I include a QR code on my business card?” No! QR codes will waste unnecessary space on your card and it’s likely nobody will ever scan them. Simply including the URL of your web page will do everything your QR code wants to do, and it’ll do it in a more attractive way.
Design & Size
If there was a standard design for an artist business card, we’d say you should ignore it. Make your card stand out from the crowd. After all, your art does. Still, there are certain design elements that you should keep in mind, or your business card might offend more than it attracts.
Stay small. A business card can vary in size and shape, but it should never be larger than 3 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ or 8.5 cm x 5.5 cm. This is because this size business card will fit in most standard wallets and pockets. If you print a business card larger than these dimensions, they can become burdensome to the recipient and they might just throw your card away!
Keep it clean. We’ve given the same advice for artist websites, artist statements, portfolios, and just about every blog post we’ve ever done. Do not over-clutter your business card with too much information, or it will look unattractive and confusing.
Keep it clear. Use simple fonts that are easy to read, especially for your e-mail address. If you ever want anyone to contact you, they’ll need to be able to clearly read your e-mail address, or else you might as well not have given them a business card at all.
Use no more than one artwork per side. Your business card is small and your artwork needs to use all the room it can to make a statement. If you are incorporating artwork into the design, allow it to fill the length or height of your business card. It will be bold and impactful. Do not force multiple works onto the card or it will look over-cluttered and unprofessional.
Use strong paper. This will cost more, but strong paper lasts longer and gives a better feeling of professionalism. It shows people that you take your art seriously enough to invest in a good quality business card. Strong paper also tends to retain color better, which will make your artwork look great!
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Fun Artist Business Cards Ideas
Diversify. If you really want to show off your 50 great paintings, then print 50 great different business cards and let people chose which business card they want to take from you.
Shape-ify. Everyone’s expecting the rectangle, but you can do interesting things with printers these days. Whether you’re rounding the edges or changing the shape entirely, make sure your cardstock is heavy enough to withstand the unconventional shape.
Fancy Materials. We once met an artist whose wood business cards did great justice for their wooden sculptures. You can use many different materials to make a great business card: thin metal, textiles, sandpaper, plastic, the list goes on! We love this post of the World’s Most Clever Business Cards.
Interactive Business Cards. While it’s a good idea to have several stock ready-made business cards available, one great thing you could do is to have some blank business cards with your website and information on it that you can draw personal one-of-a-kind designs/artworks on. Met a collector at an art fair? Draw their portrait on the business card you give to them! This can be a great gimmick, especially for artists with a focus on drawing or portrait.
Looking to enhance your career and build a presence in New York? Submit your portfolio to us and get the opportunity to present your work to a broad range of national and international art collectors and buyers. Visit our Gallery Representation And Artist Promotion page for more information.
A good business card should make a good impression. Tell us in the comments about the best business cards you’ve ever seen!
This post is also available in: Spanish