March 27, 2006

Short Run

After I returned from SXSW, I had a bunch of requests asking how I created my business cards. I am but a mouthpiece, so I will tell you; also because it is no great mystery anyway. Since I only needed a small print run to dole out to friends and potential bill-payers, I decided to get away from the computer and do something a bit more fun (albeit time intensive compared to sending something off to the printer).

Jason Santa Maria, now in... one color.

This all started back when I was designing our wedding stuff. We had ordered an ordinary self-inking stamp to put our return address on invitations. I set our address in the font Mrs. Eaves, and was so impressed with the quality of the stamps that I immediately started thinking about what else I could do with them. Mornings are when I do my best thinking: I often come up with (what seem like) good ideas as I zone out in the shower or while walking in to the office. So, the idea to do the business cards came to me when I thought of a good way to reduce my logotype to one color. The rest just sorta fell into place: silkscreen large fields of color (with the help of The Sutter) on 20” x 30” sheets of hot press illustration board, cut sheets down to as many 3.5” x 2” pieces as you can (I got around 70 nice ones from 2 sheets), shape each corner using an affordable hand corner rounder (by the time you get to corner #280, your hand hurts), and finally, stamp.

I was very pleased with the results, I think they came out professional and unique (every card was a one-of-a-kind). It was fun watching it dawn on people and seeing them stroke the card to feel the texture. Here’s a shot of the materials and some sample cards. Go forth and promote thyself.

Commentary (32):

1. Phil says… mar 27, 2006 | 10:12 am

Thanks Jason! Good insight, nice cards!

2. Nathan Logan says… mar 27, 2006 | 10:23 am

I’m bummed I didn’t snag one of these from you at SXSW. Oh well, an excuse to go again next year. ;)

3. Anton says… mar 27, 2006 | 10:26 am

Although I didn’t get one, I did get to see how it turned out and thought they were brilliant.
Really one of those “Damn, I wish I’d thought of that” kind of moments.
See you next year?

4. bandelin says… mar 27, 2006 | 10:34 am

well color me impressed, those really are cool.

5. Julian Schrader says… mar 27, 2006 | 11:23 am

Cool! That looks really great - and every card is unique!

6. Jeff Smith says… mar 27, 2006 | 11:27 am

Very, very cool. The finished product looks awesome. Very original in a world of so many digital-printed business cards.

I’ve been looking for an excuse to do a bit of screenprinting (haven’t touched it in well over 5 years) and this looks to be a pretty good way to play around with it a bit.

7. Brandon says… mar 27, 2006 | 11:43 am

Those are great &mdash and an excellent train of thought to boot! It’s about time we all stepped away from the computer for a good old-fashioned design project every now and then.

Now if I only had my own screen printing studio…

8. Patrick Haney says… mar 27, 2006 | 11:47 am

Somehow I managed to not be on the receiving end of these cards, not to mention the fact that I never even got to see one of them. How’d that happen?

9. Ryan says… mar 27, 2006 | 11:59 am

Where did you order the stamp from? Someplace online?

10. Ian Muir says… mar 27, 2006 | 12:29 pm

Those cards rock!

It’s always good to work with your hands. I know that when working at Circus Some of the coolest stuff our designers made was done with an X-Acto knife and A glue gun not a mouse.

After seeing this, I think I just may have to go paint something. Thanks for prompting me to unplug.

11. NickS says… mar 27, 2006 | 12:52 pm

great timing on this! I’ve had the itch lately to do up some personal cards - no good reason other than it would be fun.

this is a great idea, and the product looks very cool.

I’ll second the question - where’d you get the stamp from?

on the software side, SOHO Business Cards is a decent app I’ve used off and on if you can’t peel youself away from the computer… (I have no vested interest in mentioning that, just sharing is all)

12. Jason Santa Maria says… mar 27, 2006 | 1:32 pm

Brandon: I hear that! I think now that we have a house and a bit more space, I might try to annex some space in our laundry room for screen-printing.

Ryan and NickS: I actually got it from my lovely wife and her company, but there are loads of places online, and they are all reasonably priced.

13. Jesse Gardner says… mar 27, 2006 | 2:27 pm

Beautiful. The mark of a true artist.

14. Eric Meyer says… mar 27, 2006 | 2:45 pm

How did you keep the stamped text from being stamped at an angle to the card’s horizontal axis?

15. Jason Santa Maria says… mar 27, 2006 | 2:53 pm

Eric: Luckily the plastic frame of the stamp was about the same size as a business card (you can kind of see it in the picture), so it was very easy to just eyeball it. I had originally planned to play a bit more with how I stamped them (angles, croppings, etc), but after I cut down the cards, I felt like there was already enough variation in the design that I didn’t really have to shake it up an further.

16. Daniel Curran says… mar 27, 2006 | 4:04 pm

Nice, Jason. As simple as they are, they are a great idea and turned out cool.

17. cristinamarie says… mar 27, 2006 | 11:03 pm

really nice cards! I like the wash, a textured swipe.. almost like a paint streak of color on the card. Looks really organic.

18. Mark says… mar 28, 2006 | 12:20 am

These cards are super-fly! Mine lives in a place of prominence on my desk (by my red Swingline®).

19. Filosof says… mar 28, 2006 | 2:21 am

Great timing indeed. I want to make my own personal cards too, but I have never realized, that there can be a card with rounded corners. Thanks for the idea.

20. Philip says… mar 28, 2006 | 7:16 am

i can’t quite tell what it says on the stamp. your name, and then *something* graphic designer, followed by your url. what’s the *something*? is it “is a”

21. Jason Santa Maria says… mar 28, 2006 | 7:19 am

Phillip: Yes, the text following the logo is “IS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER” and is followed by my email address. I went the simple route for these.

22. Michael says… mar 28, 2006 | 8:31 am

Simply. Stunning.
A real pitty I just made mine… ;-)

23. Kevin Tamura says… mar 28, 2006 | 12:22 pm

Sweet. I love stuff like this.

24. John Dunagan says… mar 28, 2006 | 3:44 pm

One can also buy a self-inking stamp at just about any small print shop (the brick and mortar kind).

The advantage being that if you wanted to do something completely different than just the line by line, said small print shop’s art dept. could usually help you with that (or at least understand, and understand why, you would want to do it).

That said, very nice business cards. I like that it has the essential info, nothing more (like who uses a fax number anymore?).

25. Bryan says… mar 28, 2006 | 9:20 pm

I have been enlightened. I will cherish that card forever. :) (well, that one and the newsvine one…)

26. Blake says… mar 29, 2006 | 12:27 am

Great stuff, Jason! I love unique business cards. In fact, I think the capabilities of first impressions through business cards are a pretty vast resource, and a helluva creative and fun outlet. When I went to New York last summer I forgot my “beautiful” professional-printed business cards. I ended up going to Kinko’s and printing a template sheet (8 to a sheet) that read: “I am temporary. Blake forgot his professional and expensive business cards at home. Forgive him. Until then, I’m just as useful. So use me, love me, and try not to discard me right away. Thanks.”

I got more mileage and appreciation out of that then my other cards. I make it a rule now to always, always make my own custom cards for the ocassion. :)

27. Shannon says… mar 29, 2006 | 7:57 am

I did something similar a couple years ago, using a stamp and my thumbprint, to create my business cards. I liked the fact that each card was one-of-a-kind … an unexpected move prematurely dated all of my hard work, and I haven’t had the drive to redo! Cripes.

Your cards look lovely; you certainly have a flair for self-branding.

28. Liz the wife says… mar 30, 2006 | 11:34 am

A little shameless self promotion here…Jason got the stamp from me as I am a promotional product and print supplier. For all of you out there who may need such things please feel free to contact me at any time. I partner with the lovely Niff and we are always looking for new business. So next time you are looking for someone to print mugs, pens, shirts, hats, bags, banners, lanyards, sketchbooks, etc. and you want them to be the best and coolest, email me!

29. Jake Ingman says… apr 1, 2006 | 10:09 am

Slick work man, very well done. Your cards easily trump my on-the-spot solution for SXSW - half of an index card. Hey they were one-of-a-kind right?

30. Todd Lambert says… apr 4, 2006 | 11:42 am

Hot Damn… nice cards!

I wish I’d read this before AEA, I would have like to seen one first-hand.

Nice work.

BTW> I enjoyed your presentation at AEA very much - was definitely a high-point for me.


31. Douglass says… apr 19, 2006 | 12:28 pm

Great! I’ve been contemplating some business card business and now I have some easy ideas to work with… and I know who to order stamps from!

32. Chief Show Officer says… jul 2, 2006 | 11:23 pm

Very Cool. A true exception to the rule that you shouldn’t make cards at home. I really like the way the silk screen background is irregular. Great work!