Friday, August 13, 2010

Creating a Business Card

Yesterday a fellow volunteer asked me how I created "attractive, simple and inexpensive business cards" for my cooperative. I promptly emailed her an explanation of the process but then I thought, why not just make a blog post about it so everyone can see and know what I did? That's the great thing about blogs, they are such an easy way of sharing ideas with a large group of people!

There are many ways that you can go about creating a business card. The process that I used involves Adobe Illustrator, which I know not everyone has available to them. If you don't have Adobe Illustrator you can use any program that allows you to combine photos with text. The advantage to using Illustrator is that it is a vector based program, which leaves your text looking crisp and clear, not pixellated and fussy.

Before you get started you need to first come up with a plan for what you want your business card to look like. When working with cooperatives and associations, it is important that you ask the opinion of the people you are making the card for because even if they are unable to create the card themselves, they will feel that they have had input into the final results. In my case, the women initiated this business card project after they went to their first Marche Maroc in Fes. Many of the other artisan groups at the craft fair had business cards and they enjoyed going around collecting them from the other groups. These business cards widely varied in terms of quality and style. Some looked like a professional business cards, some were in color, and some were just small slips of paper printed with a photo copier. The ladies of Al-Falah could pick out the nicer ones right away and decided that they needed a good looking business card.

We talked about what they wanted the business card to include and it became clear that they didn't really understand what the purpose of a business card should be. They wanted a LOT of information on the card. In addition to the name of their cooperative, name of the town and contact information, they wanted to include a description of what they do. The issue with this is that this particular cooperative doesn't focus on just one type of thing like weaving or woodcarving, and to include a list of everything that they do would make the card cluttered and hard to read. They also wanted many photos on the card of the different types of products that they make. At this point I needed to explain the difference between a business card and a brochure. I also explained that people are going to realize immediately what they do because the business cards would be available at craft fairs where their products would be on display. With this new knowledge they decided to go with a more simplified version and only include the most pertinent information.

Since Jon had already gone through this process several months before with his cooperative, and since the two cooperatives work in the same Artisana, I thought it would be nice if the cards retained a similar look and feel. Below is the business card that Jon created.

I used this business card a template for the one I would make. I liked the idea of having the photo also serve as the background for the text and I used the same fonts. For the women's card I had the idea of doing a very close up detailed shot for the image so as to emphasis the detailed nature of their work. I also wanted there marketing materials to look cohesive. Before making the cards I suggested that they make themselves a table banner for upcoming fairs. The image on the business card is actually a close up of the border of this banner.

After taking many photos of embroidery I was ready to create the card. I measured an actual business card to get the dimensions then plugged in those numbers to create the size of the Illustrator file. I then imported, shrunk, and positioned the photo. Next I wrote the text on top of the photo using the type tool. That was about it.

To print the cards I went to a place that prints photos. The end result is that they essentially have business card-sized photos with their co-op name and info printed on them. The cost was 1/2 DH per card. Not supper cheap but half the cost as what we paid for our Peace Corps business cards. Below is the finished product complete with a crochet display stand!

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