Don’t Forget the Little Things – Like Business Cards!

The Introduction

Think of your business card as more than something you leave behind after meeting someone. Make it an extension of your brand and your story

You need a good business card and I put emphasis on “Good”!  I have met many artisans in casual situations and even at art fairs who don’t have a business card.  Not only do they miss out on future sales they are not giving their brand a professional image that says, “I mean business!”.  Here are some ideas and tips on putting your business card to work for you.


Your business card is a form of advertising

Think of your business card as a “mini” advertisement which can have a lasting effect.

  • Put your creative talents to work to create a business card design that is unique and showcases your brand.
  • Include your email and if you participate in social media, mention that you can be followed on Facebook, Twitter etc..  And don’t forget your phone number unless you don’t want any calls about your work or referrals.
  • It is in vogue now to have odd sized cards.  There is nothing wrong with this but consider that although a tiny card might be cool it may get lost in a pile of other cards.
  • If your card can show an example of your work – do it!
  • If you must use a “free” printing service for your business cards, at least pay them the few bucks so they don’t include their advertising on the back of your card.
  • Put a short description or tagline about what you do on your cards.  Make it descriptive and highlight what makes you and your work unique.
  • It’s easy to make your own business cards with an inkjet printer, business card blanks and some included free software.  Business card blanks ready for printing are available at any office supply store in a variety of papers and finishes.
  • There are many uses for your business card besides handing it to someone you meet.  Think advertisement! – place them on bulletin boards, in coffee shops, stores, other public places and use them to affix to your art – use your imagination.

Here is what I came up with

Neil McKenzie Photography Business Card

Be creative with your business card and tell your story. I use a 4″x6″ photo print as a business card to tell about my photography business

When I first started out with my photography business I designed a business card with the above tips in mind.  When I handed them out to prospects I would usually get asked what kind of photography I did, weddings or fine art?  My answer would be no, I specialize in people photography to create great business and personal brand images.  After having this conversation too many times I decided to create a unique business card that showed what kind of work I do.

Being a photographer it made sense to me to give them an example of my work – in this case a photograph of examples of various brand images I created.  I designed my card in Photoshop to fit a standard 4″x6″ print and had them printed at the local photo lab.  They are more expensive than regular business cards (about $.25 each) but I feel that they leave a good impression and I am not asked if I photograph weddings.  To date I have handed out over 1,500 of these cards and they have lead to many clients.  When I hand them out to people I often get asked if they can keep them – “Sure”, I say!

The bottom line(s)…

Typically, artists think about business cards when they are starting their art business – if they think about them at all…  Your business card can be a powerful marketing tool to tell your story which has many uses, so think beyond using it only for social introductions.  As your art business changes and evolves so should your business card.  Put your creativity to work to develop a business card that will get noticed, one that will be kept, and one that will tell your story.  Good Luck!


Neil McKenzie is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver.

Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto