Creative Business Card Designs

Great business cards communicate a whole lot of information — both directly and indirectly — about the people and companies they represent. The average person thinks of a business card stating the standard name/address/e-mail/phone data (does anyone use fax anymore?) information. But as a designer, we know creative business card designs convey personality, philosophy, attitude and brand. Along with interesting printing or production techniques, a business card can leave a lasting impression on your company. Here are  few things to consider when designing your next business card.

friesen_cards

Sleek and Shapely

Business cards which are not rectangular in shape or have designs cut in them are made through a technique called die-cutting. The process is simple but will cost a bit more than regularly shaped cards. The process is kind of like a hole puncher one would use on paper to go in ringed binder. A template is made of the required shape which is used for cutting.  Similarly, card exteriors could be cut in any shape as well. This technique are attractive to the eye and are much more dynamic.

 

 

Letterpress Option

5a0dd5dac0d7228666aede3a89998befThe letterpress printing technique gives an elegant look to the business card. This is done by pressing the paper through an inked raised surface, this gives the business card color and depth. The letterpress business card combine the craftsmanship of traditional letterpress with the modern ease of digital printing.

 

 

 

 

Lift with 3D PrintingLift-it-with-3D

Using an embossing technique in printing gives your business card a three dimensional effect. There is a certain die used similar to die-cutting, one for pressing the paper, which gives three dimensional, lifted look.

 

 

 

11-Liverpool-Foil-Business-Cards-aFoil Stamping, Transparent Prints

You have the option of giving more grace to your business card by applying foil to desired areas. The foil has a shiny look and could be used in cards which have plain solid color. With foil stamping, you get an irresistible focus point, and a unique effect that you simply can’t achieve with metallic inks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vintage Revival

The Vintage Revival stemmed from a series of themed events that was promoted with vintage design elements. The month of events ranged from retreats to fitness to barbecues. It was important that the events were obviously a part of the same effort, but also catered to the individuality of the events.

Why has vintage design become so popular? What elements should be considered when designing for a vintage theme? How difficult is it to make something vintage, but feel modern as well?  What vintage trends should I consider including? These were questions I took into account before putting the designs together.

Based on my research, this is what I found:

Badges and Circles

The badge concept lies at the very heart of most vintage designs. Designers typically shoot for a nice, simple shape that can be stamped anywhere and on anything. Circles are by far the most popular shape for these badges, but you’ll also find plenty of hexagons, shields and diamonds.

Handrawn Vibes

The hipster movement embraces all things handmade, therefore vintage designs have a sketchy or hand drawn look that fits really well into this aesthetic. The artistic talent in this category is really impressive. Though vintage collections tend to be quite masculine in appearance, so it’s nice to see designs that push back just a bit on this trend and add complex floral arrangements and beautiful, muted colors.

Industrialesque

As we look back at early to mid 20th century design, we see simple designs without gradients, feathered shadows, or three-dimensional  renders, but they still make bold visual statements. The main icons that are used are hammers, axes, wrenches, and factories. Our tech savvy generation is drawn to visuals that remind us of the industrial revolution.

Featuring Nature

A lot of vintage design treatments feature animals like deer, moose, elk, etc. If it has antlers, it’s in. This lends to the overall outdoorsy trend in vintage designs (featuring mountains, trees, tents, etc.). Also, nautical themes are extremely popular, such as anchors, fish, and ropes.

A PhotoLogo

When we look back at how vintage logos were displayed ten years ago, we would typically see a solid background or maybe a gradient. The bright, colorful and complex Internet logos of the time looked too busy for anything else. In today’s age of design, our monotone, hipster logos are very simple. But look fantastic when simply overlaid on top of a great photograph.

Simple Line Art

Design trends change how we create vintage graphics. Now that flat design is trending, vintage design often feature thin lines and simplified illustrations.

With all of this in mind, I developed a series of promotional fliers that consistently represented the theme, while appealing to the modern eye. Vintage design trends are continuously developing. Take inspiration from different designs, color choices and create something beautiful.

 

Branding/Package Design: The London House of Coffee by Reynolds and Reyner

Through my experience in design I have done very little package design. In efforts to stay versatile. I research and play around with services in the field that I don’t get a lot of exposure to. Which leads me to the branding and packaging the London House of Coffee, designed by Reynolds and Reyner.

Reynolds and Reyner is a design studio in the Ukraine who’s philosophy is rooted in the true power of design. They design with the belief  that it is less about making high quality brand experiences and more about the process at which they engage in, to create a real relationship between our brands and their consumers. Go and check them out at their website.

Branding is important to any new product, company, service, etc. Branding is a true everlasting identity. Products have life cycles but branding outlives products. Meanwhile packaging also plays an important role as a medium in the marketing mix, in promotion campaigns, as a pricing criterion, in defining the character of new products, as a setter of trends and as an instrument to create brand identity and shelf impact in all product groups.

Here is a look at the branding and packaging of the London House of Coffee. You can really see how true Reynolds and Reyner stayed to the process and how their ideas and project evolved.

Sketches

Branding

Packaging

The London House of Coffee

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london-34pk copy

Advertising

london-future_ads

Overall a very good example of the stages of creating effective branding and package design. Please check out Reynolds and Reyner’s website.

RETRO Designs Are the New Trend…

Using retro themed design elements is the latest trend in graphic design. Retro designs can be characterized by period icons, vivid graphics and pale colors.

Although I’ve noticed this trend in layout design as well as advertising and logo design, I’ve chosen to include images of logos particularly.

Why the New Trend?

I believe retro designing interweaves time, styles, tastes and ages. Mixing modern graphics with old designs helps to create a vintage appeal. People often associate “value” with old things. While value element helps draw in visitors, the  modern design elements help keep them hooked. Maybe the fact that a lot of us think that life was much more simple “back then” has something to do with the design’s popularity. Perhaps retro and vintage designs take us back to a place where life was much more relaxed than it is today.

Design Elements to Retro Design

Retro designing has several elements are often repeated. Handwritten scripts are very popular. Some designers use old cars, retro product models, old fashioned photographs, early electronic devices and other such old images for creating retro look.  Some designs reflect the celebration of sixties to space travel while others prefer to highlight post-war optimism and ad campaigns of ‘50s. The use of military themes like old war planes and badges are also very effective. There are certain elements that contribute in making a design retro.

Here are some examples:

1. Using Shapes

Vintage Labels-Wallace_05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Color Schemes

VintageColourPalette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Typography

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4. Textures

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So whether using these retro elements in designing is an attempt to bring back the memories of past or just to keep up with the trend – either way the outcome can be quite eye catching. When a designer purposely develops an old design and blends it with a modern appeal, we get true retro effect.

The Perfect Spring Palettes…

As Spring is here and the April showers begin, new fads and color palettes are on the rise. Just like every other element of graphic design, color palettes follow are constantly evolving. This year’s color trends are as diverse as they are compelling; brights and neons combine with greyscale to add some zing to clean, modern styles, while pastel palettes lend a softness to playful designs.

What’s great about these new color trends is that they all combine seamlessly and help distinguish important elements and break up sections as well as conveying a style or mood, which is essential in graphic design.

Here are some inspirational Spring 2013 color palettes that I’ve noted:

Colour Lover also offers a huge selection of color palette suggestions:

Colour Lovers Spring Palettes

The Innovative and Creative Photoshop Brush…

I use Photoshop for many reasons throughout my regular workday. But recently I’ve stumbled upon a new innovative use of the brush tool that I can’t help but share. I was working on a logo for an event coming up and the client requested a very unique background image that I wasn’t able to recreate easily or find through stock photos. Luckily, I found a free Photoshop brush to download which made the logo design on A LOT easier.

The Photoshop brush is one kind of plug-in which you can be used as an add-on. However, you will find yourself limited when choosing from the default selection. If you, like myself, desire to be more innovative and creative then consider searching online for a Photoshop brush download. Some are free and some are for purchase. I’ve included some visuals of some designs that can be created when using this tool.


Here are some links that offer FREE Photoshop brushes for download:

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/50-free-photoshop-brushes-you-should-bookmark/

http://www.brushlovers.com

http://melsbrushes.wordpress.com/page/3/

http://arbent.net/blog/over-550-brush-packs-free-for-commercial-use

A REAL Fresh Beginning…

Ahhh, and finally it is a brand new year! A chance to go out with the old and come in with the new. Typically at any given point in time, we as people can make changes in our lives from day to day. But for some reason, it is the beginning of a new year when we feel changes are much more REAL and profound. A REAL fresh beginning.

Having said that, I have chosen not to blog about something design specific, but about something that overall shapes my drive to become better at my profession every single day and that is inspiration. My inspiration comes from a very wide variety of outlets. Advice and the success of others being two of the more apparent outlets. I am sharing some advice that I’ve taken in for the new year of 2013.

Hopefully you can gain something from this and make tomorrow better than today.

Here is a link to a blog I found that I stayed on for hours listening to noteworthy advice from business professionals, mentors, and teachers of all sorts. There are some great suggestions here for changes in your life and and things that might spark some thoughts! Thanks TED for this post!

Ted Blog-New Year Resolutions

Less is More…

Doing a lot with very little. It’s a hard sentence to wrap one’s head around, however, it is important, if not the most important thing I’ve learned about design. Many designers have trouble creating a minimalist (simplistic, clean) design; either they have a hard time making a page with so few elements look good or the final result just doesn’t seem “complete” to them.


When you create a minimalist design, the design is at it’s most basic state, free from superfluous colors, elements, and textures,– CLUTTER, if you will. The purpose for this is to bring the most important visual/content to the forefront and minimize distractions for the viewer or reader. When people get distracted they often miss the message in the design or story, because they are confused on where their focus should be. Part of minimizing distractions is creating SIMPLE design by using less texture, color, shape, lines, content or type–kind of like the clutter that I mentioned earlier.

This is KEY: When you as a designer can portray the message you want and bring it to the forefront with as little elements as possible, you have a minimalist design.

When thinking about minimalist design think about accurate use of white space, alignment, movement, and contrast. One last piece of advice for an over-designer, when the thought, “something is missing” enters your head, the first thing you should try is take something out and then go from there, even if that means starting over. There is nothing like admiring basic design elements used at their full potential.

“Design should never say, “Look at me.” It should always say, “Look at this.”

Here are a few to showcase:

Corporate Identities

Why is the branding of a company so important? Among many reasons, people often tend to forget names of companies, however, the brand images or the corporate identity stays imprinted in their memories for a long time.Therefore, selecting the corporate identity is very necessary to find the perfect match between the corporate vision and the design selected. The design should convey the same message which is hidden in the mission statement of the organization. These designs are not only printed on the letterheads rather they are very much found on all official documents including the invoices, receipts, stationery, envelopes, etc.

Here are a few corporate identities that I find inspirational, clean, unique and noteworthy:

8 Characteristics of Badly Designed Logos

How important is it for a business to communicate its messages to potential partners and customers? Very. And what graphic communicates a business’s message and uniqueness?….The logo.

Which is what brings me to point some characteristics of badly designed logos not only on websites, but in the overall creation of a business’s identity.

1. Amateurish design

The point is that a professional website should look professional.

These are a few common reasons why many online business logos look amateurish:

  •  Hiring the wrong professionals. (Printing businesses or web designers are probably not too proficient with logo design)
  • *The company outsourced the logo design project using through a competition, which are mainly attended by inexperienced, amateur designers.

2. Companies rely too much on latest trends

Trends (such as glows, bevels swooshes) come and go, eventually they become too BLAH. A logo that is well designed should be evergreen, and should stand the test of time.

Studying how logo designers work is particularly important in giving you inspiration to come up with a unique style of your own.

3. Contain outdated cliparts and stock art

Logos with boring cliparts are usually made by entrepreneurs who create their own logo or inexperienced designers, who are not aware that cliparts are so 90ish and just yuck!

A logo should be original and unique. Using stock vector images not only looks 90ish but it also may cause you to break rules. Chances are, those vector images have already been used by many people around the world.

4. The logo fails to match the website main subject

Ask yourself if this policy is really appropriate for your website? For example, stylish font may not be appropriate for the website of a lawyer office, duh!

Some professional designers also made the mistake of adding a “signature” in their work. Incorporating too much personality in a logo can be very bad. Stay focused and stick to the website’s main topic.

5. Too complex

Very detailed design won’t scale nicely when displayed or printed in small sizes. KEEP IT SIMPLE! Thumbnails are like fingerprints. You will notice the fine details of your fingerprints by looking at them closely. The same goes for logo design.
A detailed logo carries more information and web visitors need to know. Which may cause them to have the need to stare at it longer rather than continuing to browse the site.
 

6. Poor selection of fonts

When designing a logo, you should choose a font that best matches your website topic. Often, a logo fails completely, because it has wrong fonts (for example, the infamous Comic Sans is used much too often on many websites).

So much of design is based on knowing typography and having the knowledge to make the right choices when it comes to fonts.

Poor selection of font happens because the decision-making process is not taken seriously enough. Many designers choose a font without giving it a second thought.

7. Uses too many fonts

You shouldn’t incorporate too much elements in your logo, it’s confusing…… enough said.

8. Modified from an existing logo

This could be the biggest mistake in logo design. Some designers find no harm in taking a logo from somewhere else and simply modifying it, NO NO NO! That is stealing! A logo should be utterly unqiue and your own!