Monday 29 December 2008

Art Monday: business card tweaks

A 3"x2.5" piece of cardstock is supposed to be my standard bearer when introducing people in realspace to my online identity and artwork.

Earlier this month, I began tweaking this important piece of identification. I hope I may ask for some opinions? Things that look great on the computer screen may not look as nice on paper. My favourite has more drawbacks than the others.

a. Classic look.

b. X-ray look.

c. Pop look.

Which is most "me"? Or do I say who cares, which one stands out the most?

The reverse of each of these will simply list the urls for my blog and hub, online gallery, email, and reproduction store. Hmm. Should I add my Facebook page link?

I'm finishing the end of the year indecisive. Decisive will wait for 2009.

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Unknown said...

I like the xray one. I'm no expert or anything, I just happen to like black with vivid highlights. I think the black looks sophisticated, while the bright green grabs your attention and adds a little fun to the seriousness of black. I also like the white lettering on a black background. I think it would be easier to read in lower light kind of like those blacked out road signs for night time. Although those signs might be easier to read at night because they have white reflective paint. Really it wouldn't be hard to justify all of them, they all look good, I just like the xray one the best.

Sean Craven said...

Okay, I've called up a separate window so I can look and comment simultaneously. You're gonna get a heavy dose of my visual prejudices here...

(If you haven't noticed, my critical/editorial approach is to give people plenty with which to argue. Hey, you asked us to play in your sandbox... so now I'm gonna give you way, way too much information.)

Here are a couple of thoughts on the type. You might think about reducing the size of both the type and the image just a little bit in order to open up the negative space.

It's not a serious issue but the cards seem just a wee tad crowded to me -- having the display type overlap the image is something that would work better with a more complex visual where the details are unimportant but what you've got here is an icon. Why step on it?

Also, I'm not sure that you need to have both your blog URL and your email address on the front, since you're printing a lot of contact information on the back.

I'd suggest moving the email to the back -- and if it were my card I'd move all the contact information to the back and use the front purely for display purposes.

I've heard good arguments against this -- "What if they never turn the card over?" But. This is an artist's card -- it wants be a work of art.

One thing needs to be settled -- are the cards going to be embossed or are you just using drop shadows or an emboss filter to give that effect?

If the cards are going to be embossed, then I prefer the classic look. It has an understated elegance that works with the subject matter in a really interesting way.

Also, it encourages the person holding the card to run their finger over it -- and at that point you've engaged two senses, thus reinforcing the card's place in that person's memory. (That's one of the reasons I decided to make my card a foldout -- it's a means of engaging the viewer.)

But if the card isn't embossed I don't think you've got enough contrast for the figure to stand out against the background -- the bones of the wing (phalanges?) tend to vanish against the background.

I'd suggest adding a slight contrast of hue in addition to increasing the value contrast -- going with a slightly warmer tone tone would work well. A grayer tone would also look nice but might provide visual confusion where the type overlays the image.

On the other hand, if you were to pull the type away from the image, you could use the same gray for the figure and it would be clear and tasteful.

The X-ray look is the one that appeals to me the most -- and it also seems harmonious with your on-line presence.

You've got a green dot to the left of the wing that could be taken out. Also, I'd suggest a slightly bolder display typeface -- it seems to flicker into the black, at lest onscreen.

And having the display type aaaaaaalmost touching the image doesn't work for me -- the overlap is better and I don't like the overlap. Give everyone some breathing space, he repeated.

The Pop look is fun -- but again, I think a bit more contrast in hue would make it work better. You could blend that green from that yellow. Pop art usually had an eye-popping violence to the color relationships. Looking at that shade of green I think a vicious magenta would give it that nice eye-searing Pop pop.

In addition, I think the green and the yellow are too close in tone. The first thing I think of when working out color is value -- I try and make it so that every piece of color work would read well and look good if it were reproduced as a grayscale image. I know this is a pretty limiting approach but it helps produce functional imagery.

But again, the question of embossing comes up. If the card is embossed the color relationship works better than if it isn't.

And while it's not very Pop, I think adding a slight color contrast to the type would sort of warm things up a bit -- flat black can be deadening at times and I think this might be one of them. A very dark oxblood or a very dark shade of the background green would be nice.

I'd say this is my least favorite out of the three but that may be because I'm not particularly fond of that shade of acid green. I still like it -- it's definitely got that Mellow flavor -- just not as much as the others.

Now aren't you sorry you asked?

Zachary Miller said...

I don't like the pop one. Too bright. Hurts the retina. My favorite is the Xray version!

traumador said...

i too also like the x-ray one. the pop one probably would look better printed than on the screen, but if you could pull off the black background with crisp white lettering that always looks chic and cool

m said...

Yeah, x-ray's the best!

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Eric! The black with white letters brings out my inner goth.

Sean, holy opabinia. I've always appreciated constructive criticism, and this is great. I'll try to be brief while I digest your points - in a separate response.

Zach, I agree about the pop one, but that's why I like it! Think of it as 'challenging' your retinas, not hurting them. ;-)

Thanks Traumador! No one has ever accused me of being chic before. Cool, yes.

Thanks Mo! Another vote for x-ray.

Glendon Mellow said...

O Mighty Craven,

In the original idea, I liked having the trilobite as an almost abstracted image, which is why I placed it shifted off to the side. You're right, it may be a little busy.

I'm a fan of the text-image overlap, as it's a quick way to lead the eye around, but I see what you mean by "why step on it".

At my day-job, I keep all my contact cards in a little card holder-portfolio-thingee that fits four per page in little clear pockets. It's a rare day I take one out and check the back. That was my thinking in leaving the two most important contact lines in it.

At this time, no, they won't be embossed. I'm doing at least a first batch on the cheap on a home printer. I agree the classic would be best if it was embossed. However, I like that the image almost fades into the background. Makes it less crowded.

The x-ray's "flicker" was intentional. I went for a dirtier look on the same font as the others - sort of more industrial-cd-cover, the letters looking over-exposed.

I'm 100% behind you with the pop version being almost the same tone. If I reproduced it in black and white, (as on my artists' contracts when freelancing) I show it as black and white. A good logo should work in both. But...there's this part of me that likes how it appears to be a silkscreened image when the tones are both matchy-matchy.

No, I'm not sorry I asked - feel free to comment like that anytime!

Stephanie Zvan said...

Add another vote for the X-ray. The colors and contrasts are closest to what I see in the art you're promoting, which makes me more likely to think of other pieces of your art when I look at that card.

I like the overlap. Again, I think it's closer to what I think of as your artistic sensibilities than more separated elements would be.

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Stephanie!

It's funny, I actually think the classic one is closer to my look than the x-ray.

The x-ray is way way funner tho'.

(I'm trying to make you cringe at my choice of words.)

Stephanie Zvan said...

Despite the embossed look, the classic is flat in a way your work isn't, or at least that's how it looks on the screen. The image may have more texture on paper. That was the main thing that made it not look like your work to me.

And it's almost impossible to make me cringe at a deliberate use of words. It's just the careless ones that get to me. :)

Christopher Zenga said...

What up G-Mel,

Classic is my choice, it is much easier on the eyes, and has a far more sophisticated feel. Pop screams "look at me you blind fuck!" and X-ray looks a bit out of date with the black light green.

I think the contacts you are making have singled you out because of the level of sophistication in your art work, that same sophistication has to be present during the first impression phase. The business card has to be the billboard for who you are, and what you bring to the table. My card is quite basic, and I'll admit that but this is just my 2 cents.

Layer days,


Peter Bond said...

Happy New Year, Glendon. My vote is for the x-ray one. It, as they say, pops!

Glendon Mellow said...

Hey Stephanie,
I do try for a level of three-d. Thanks for something new to chew on about the classic card.

yo yo, Zengaman,
My favourite is the classic look. It seems to be the one that most matches those brass desk lamps with the green glass shades on them. Very old school. I find the x-ray one appealing for completely different reasons...

wassup, Bond!
Another vote for x-ray, huh? Hmmm...

Happy New Year, everyone!

Anonymous said...

I like the Classic.
And if you do a text overlap, it will be easiest to work with.
Plus, it would emboss like nobody's business!

Glendon Mellow said...

Ba-zing, Leslie!

That's my favourite. There's something about it. If only I was embossing right away. Perhaps down the road I'll just get all three.

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