June 2, 2017

Artist Business Card Do's & Don'ts

Business cards may sound boring and corporate, but they are an important tool no matter what industry your in. For artists, they are the best way connect with potential buyers and keep your name top of mind when they are ready to buy. This is especially true for window shoppers at art events. You need cards that are Simple, Striking, Informative and Memorable to help yourself stand out and take the first step toward building customer relationships. I've collected quite a few business cards in my day, and I've got a wide range of examples of what works. Check it out.

I. NAME: How do you want to be remembered? If you use another name besides your own in representing your art, include both on your cards, i.e. your art business name and your name. That way people connect the two and know the artist behind the art.

II. VISUALS: The look and feel of your cards should match any brand image you’ve already established in the marketplace.

  • Ideally you should feature some of your work on your cards so anyone who picks one up can quickly tell what makes you unique. 
  • Bonus points if you can incorporate your chosen medium or technique in a clever way. For example, a laser cutout card or hand painted.
  • If you have more than one area of artistic expertise that aren’t closely tied or encompassed under one umbrella concept, I recommend separate cards. You may have different audiences for each type of work and want to focus your show presences or you may at some point change your offerings.

III. JOB TITLE: For the sake of simplicity and flexibility, you may prefer to use just "Artist" or "Owner" as your job title, but consider including a quick description of what you do to differentiate yourself. This can be as simple as your medium or technique of choice, "Painter," "Potter," "Mixed Media Artist" or a several word phrase as long as it's related to your work and not too obscure to understand, "Photographer of Lost Places," "Shaper of Characters in Clay," etc.

IV. CONTACT INFO: In terms of contact information, you should have your website (or web presence such as Facebook or Etsy) at the very least so people can look you up after meeting you.

  • It’s great to include other details like an email address or phone number, but only if you are willing to respond to direct outreaches. Otherwise, a contact form on your website should be enough.
  • Be sure to prioritize information on your card by prominence and text size.

V. SOCIAL MEDIA: If you're active on social media, include logos of which networks or your usernames so you can be found and connected with.

VI. MATERIAL, SIZE & SHAPE: Unusually shaped, weighted or textured cards can be memorable, but also expensive. You’ll want to have cards in ready supply for any potential fans or customers you meet. If they are too costly, hard to make or difficult to carry, you may find yourself limiting who you give them too, which limits your exposure. With that said, professional printing, even at the more economy price ranges goes a long way.

VII. PROFESSIONALISM: Proofread, proofread, proofread to make sure there are no mistakes and no missing details that would require you to write them in to maintain a level of professionalism in your self promotion.

VIII. TRACKABLE OFFERS: If you're showing at an art event and want to track how many purchases result from people you meet there, consider adding a show specific discount code that they can use when shopping online at a later time.

IX. AT EVENTS: Always have business cards at a show. We all run out from time to time, but plan ahead as much as possible so that you have some handy for everyone you meet. Plenty of people go to art shows to window shop before making a purchase. If they don't have your card, they're far less likely to track you down afterwards to buy.

X. FLYERS: If you have announcements such as upcoming shows, those are better suited on a flyer you can hand out in addition to your cards instead of printing this on your cards because they will become outdated after the event.