It’s already hard enough designing for yourself, let alone for all your buddies…
I started working at OnWired on July 24th, a few weeks after I’d moved to the Triangle from Siberia, USA (you may know it as Ohio). I spent my first week working on a project for an existing client, getting warmed up to the way things operated around here, but it didn’t take long for in-house branding talk to kick in.
Sometime at the end of the summer — once everybody new to the team got settled in to the digs — discussions started on self-marketing. We knew we had to find ways to promote our new and vast arsenal of talent, thus it was imperative to start with the fundamental necessities of being a businessperson: the company calling card.
Where to Begin…
It was a unanimous decision to flex our muscles a bit with new cards. I took a full day to research trends and do my homework; I purchased a few books at the local Borders, visited a few those “best business cards” galleries, and evaluated ways to make our cards unique and different.
Although I knew I wanted the design to be a bit more edgy than clean, I had to make sure I still attempted a very dulled-down version of the card. I went simple, lots of space, minimal on as many fronts as possible. Though it wasn’t chosen as a collective keeper, a few of us really enjoyed it…
The next step was to go into Illustrator and cook up something classic (think vintage, Lucille Ball, TV Land era). I think I was inspired by the Archer Farms logo or something — maybe I was snacking on their delicious Smores tortilla chips for lunch that day. The only thing missing on the design was the rooster, the wind dial and just about every other cliche ornament that farmhouse trend associates itself with…
The Identification Variation
Everybody in the office began throwing crazy ideas around for ID cards. What if the cards were like a drivers license? What if they were like a library card? These sorts of designs for business cards seemed to have hit a plateau years earlier, but we figured why not see if we couldn’t make them work. The backs
that never got donewere going to connect like a puzzle into a large OnWired chiclet.
The barcode idea was my response to having a security feature on the cards. Overdone? Absolutely. But, so is Sketch Rockwell (please stop using it immediately, for the sake of design’s future).
The next design needs no backstory other than I needed to kill an hour while I listened to Adobe’s CS4 web introduction — sixty minutes of my life that I will never get back. My peers were in tears;Brett, meanwhile, wanted to use it as his own wallpaper. Epic…
The Final Solution
It seemed like there was a new card idea every day. All of our minds wandered, we all had different visions, and there was undoubtedly no wrong answer as to what we could have done. And that was the final solution in itself: to make the face of every card different.
The eight cards were studies. There was no real direction as to how they would turn out, just that they had to be diverse. All but one of the business cards was entirely hand-done (Megan’s was a deeply modified wax PSD my pal Pat suggested). I did what I could to show humor and inspiration within the designs; I wanted them to individually reflect the characteristics and/or “style” of their respective holder. We were at the finish line…
Pat plays hockey. Brett is most certainly metal. I am smoking like… uh, branded leather. You following?
The cards received a warm welcoming when they were debuted onour Flickr page, and a few of those galleries we tapped as inspiration even wanted to feature them. All in all, the experience reminded everybody at OnWired that the first solution is almost never the final solution… nor was the second, third, or fourth in this case.
Tony is the proud owner of OnWired, the web design agency he’s raised since birth in 2001. A designer-entrepreneur with a nose for trouble, he keeps his peeps on their toes and his sights focused on what’s next.
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