How a “Simple” Business Card Brought Clients, Fame & Awe
Business Cards for Freelance Creatives
Chad Michael, a Dallas packaging & identity designer, hit a home run with his intricate business card. New clients found him. He won his peers' respect. It brought him massive publicity.
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Chad could have made just another business card, but he didn't. He created the most bad-ass business card ever. He transcended a simple business card to a conversation piece, both in real-life and online. It went viral. Even loved. Both HOW Design (“The Most Beautiful Business Card Ever”) & Under Consideration featured it. Next, those two articles brought this self-promotional project over 1,000 shares on social media, mostly on Twitter and Facebook. Results well worth the extravagant $1.80 he spent on each card.
The publicity brought in two new clients, intrigued by Chad's intricate design. When looking for ideas, potential clients browse the same inspirational media as designers do.
Design sites are constantly on the lookout for good creative work. Submit your work! Chad submitted his work to both sites that later published him:
We discovered it (the business card) while judging one of our design competitions, and were blown away by it. I’ve still got one sitting on my desk. He entered it into a competition. It was so striking that we couldn’t help but pull it out of the submissions.
Zachary Petit, Editor, HOW
Now! Lets's have a chat with Chad about his business card project:
Hi, Chad! What Was Your Goal?
My goal was to showcase a brand and design that displayed the three keywords I consider myself being: ‘Passionate, Meticulous, and Conceptual'.
Every choice from the placement of logo elements, to the size of the card, to the print finishing was carefully considered and selected. I wanted to make obvious my scrutiny for detail and give a small nod to what I love designing most, liquor design.
In the end, I wanted the business cards to be something that you couldn't simply tuck away in a wallet and one where you couldn't bring yourself to throw it away.
Who Did The Project Target?
The project's was aimed at two different groups. One being prospective clients and the other being designers.
I wanted to gain the attention of new clients immediately and have a business card that served as an ‘ice breaker' for initial meet & greets.
Since it was one of first independent projects outside of an agency setting I also wanted to create something that resonated with designers. If you can impress respectable designers and have them think “I wish I would have thought of that” then you've done your job to the fullest extent possible.
Did You Reach Your Goal?
Absolutely. My business card gained traction and notoriety as I never would have predicted. I have given out my card to many exceptional and renown creative directors and designers during a first-time meeting. After visiting their offices a second time, I found it displayed on their desk or stuck to their monitors. That is the greatest compliment a designer can receive. No words are needed.
What More Has the Project Brought You?
The business cards have led to two custom playing cards projects. Both for renown playing card companies. One of which has already been designed and produced, NoMad Luxury Playing Cards, for Theory 11. The other is still in development and is for Dan & Dave Playing Card co.
Clients find me through magazine publications, website, referrals, awards. etc. I'm sure both companies found my work on some design blog. My business card design is quite intricate and has a playing card like quality. It is even the same size as a standard US playing card.
The business cards have also led to magazine and book publications as well as a ‘Outstanding International Design Award' from HOW Magazine.
How Much Did the Project Cost You?
The production time was 3 weeks from start to end. 1,000 cards cost $1,800 to print.
What Did You Learn?
This project reinforced a philosophy I live by in regards to all design. Be passionate about everything you take on and the results will be rewarding each time. If you care about something it shows through the work. A love for design is something that cannot be faked.
For more marketing ideas for freelance creatives, check out 18+ Marketing Ideas Actually Used by Freelance Creatives! Check out some more business cards for freelance creatives here.