My Badass 1895 Business Card

Amazing how such a simple item can lead you to so many questions. What is the business card for today? What role does it play? Do we even need one? Should it be simple and to the point or should it be attention grabbing? Fun? Classy? Chic?

And while you are trying to cram all of your personality into your card, what about information? Today we have more information to put onto a business card than ever, yet most of it is so much less important than it used to be. Look at these choices: Business Address, personal address, mailing address, name, cell phone number, fax number (maybe, not me), business phone number, personal phone number, e-mail address (which one?), website url, facebook url, twitter handle, or a billion other social networks, the list goes on.

To me, ideally my card would have my website address and that would be all. Somebody would have my card, go to my website address and get all the information they needed there. I mean, everyone carries a smartphone these days, right? They can do it before we’ve even shaken hands to part.

And the worst part of all of this is, how often am I even going to hand my card out? I’ve never been very good about that, and I feel less and less guilty about it every day because lets face it, the art of exchanging business cards has pretty much gone the way of the pager. When a person leaves a conversation with me I want them to know one specific thing about me:

So can I simplify my card to that one thing? Probably. But I’m going to throw in my e-mail and phone number as well. Someday somebody might pull my card out of a drawer to get my e-mail address and prefer doing that to looking up my website.

In contemplating all of these questions, I of course went to the worlds authority on everything (do I even have to name it? The ‘W’ on my keyboard is getting pretty tired), and I found this little gem, first thing on the business card article:


And you thought nothing was more badass than Sam Jackson reading a children’s book about going the fuck to sleep. That is a real business card from 1895, Wikipedia says so.

The typography alone is pretty damn amazing. My wife pointed out it was probably written by hand by a skilled calligrapher. And what do we know most about Charles M. Wright? This guy is an expert. It says so on his business card, twice!

So it sat in my pinterest and sat in my pinterest. Until finally one day I had just way to much to do, and I instead used my time to make myself a business card based on the one above.

That’s the original version that I made in Photoshop. I’m not really good with doing layouts in Photoshop, I prefer Illustrator for that. So I redid it in Illustrator and worked in my phone number and e-mail address, but that’s not going up on the web. You have to meet me in person for that card. Also, I dropped the yellow background because that will be the paper’s job when it goes to print. We have this great heavy linen paper left over from our wedding that I think will be perfect.

Here’s the thing I love about my job, I get to have fun with this stuff. If I were working a desk job at some corporation I would never put out a card like this. I get to violate all the rules of business and marketing because I am my brand.

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