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Theresa Brown

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As an artist in business, you have income and expenses. Your goal is to keep as much of your income as you can. After all, the work you do is not to enrich Microsoft or Adobe, Windsor Newton or Golden Acrylics! So to help you in that goal, here is some information about saving money (lots!) on software.

Business cards for Artists. What would we do without them? In the vast world of business cards, businesses themselves do not carry cards. A salesman for a company would carry a card to represent his company. A Realtor would carry a card to represent her realty group. But you, as an artist, carry a business card to represent YOURSELF! But does your card actually do that?

Too many artists strive for individualism in their business card message. In doing so, they achieve the opposite of what they are trying to achieve. They unwittingly create anonymity! A signature scrawled across the front of the card with the word "artist" on it, tells your prospect nothing when it is re-discovered months later along with 7 other artist business cards that say the same thing! Even a domain name linked to your website will still not entice them to keep your card or look you up if the information is too vague. John Doe, artist, at John tell them nothing.

As much as an artist may hate to acknowledge it, people forget who you are! In the excitement of an art festival, a gallery opening or any event where many prospects took your card, it is easy for them to later forget you and what you created by insufficient information on the card to jog their memories. No matter how excited they were when or if you talked with them personally, you were probably not the only artist whose business card they collected.

Examine your current card objectively. An artist should be utilizing both sides of the card. What information can be found on your card? How will your card identify you as the artist, and what you create, a few months or even a year later, to the prospect who has your card?

To create a business card whose message keeps on selling you and your artwork, your card needs to serve four major purposes.


  1. identify you
  2. include your contact information
  3. identify your art product or major field of work
  4. include a tag line


Remember that, as a general rule, the clients of your art product are not artists. So your card message must should be geared to the public. In doing so, the message can still be simple, concise and beautiful.

Here are the 4 elements needed to make your artist business card stand out, be memorable for your clients and prospects, and keep working for you, long after they have collected one!

Tip #1 
An image of you. Take a tip from the realtor's profession. A recognizable photo of you, the artist, should be on one side of the card. A photo not only identifies you to prospects but helps refresh their memories that you were the artist with whom they spoke. Clients forget your face! Don't use an unrecognizable substitute image. Be creative with your photo image if you wish but make sure that it is a good, clear photo of you as you are usually seen. If you always wear a hat, a scarf, a particular color, then include that in the image. But the point is to help jog the prospect's memory by identifying YOU, not a representation of you.

Tip #2 
Contact information. As obvious as this seems, your contact information should be on your card. Your domain name, your name, your mailing address, email and a phone number where you can be easily reached. 
All print needs to be in easy to read fonts. This contact information can be included on the same side of your card as your image. A post office box is recommended for a mailing address. There are still many clients who communicate via the US postal service. Use common sense. It is not always advisable to include your home address. If that is the location of your studio, simply leave out the street address and use your town and zip code. If the client communicates by phone, you can then give the address. Your domain name should link the clients directly to your website. But that will only happen after your card has enticed them to log onto their computers! Your phone number needs to be the one you are most likely to answer even on the road. If you do not use a web accessed cell phone, then use your cell phone number on the card. Prospects call you because they are seeking more information or want to order from you. Be available!

Tip #3 
Your Art. Perhaps the most memorable feature on your card should be your identifiable art product. No matter what you create, this image has to be an example of what you create that can be considered your trademark style. If you participate in art festivals, it helps to have a particular item with you all the time that can be showcased in your booth as well as on your card. Clients may forget your face but they won't forget as easily, the image of a beautiful painting, glassware, jewelry, woodwork or sculpture that first captured their attention. If you do not keep one piece of your work to display continually as a trademark, then the photo on your card needs to represent what you create the most. If you are a stained glass artist, that is what needs to be on your card. If you create pottery, a sample display of several wares photographed together, should be on your card. If you are a painter, an image of the artwork, in the style you create, needs to be on your card. All images must be of the highest quality and print caliber to best showcase your work!

Tip #4 
Your tag line. A tag line is further identification of what you create. Simply stating on your card that you are an Artist does, not in any way, help to identify what you create! Help the client out by clarifying your tag line with descriptions of what you create as an artist. If you work with glass for instance, even "glass artist" does not narrow it down enough. Is it stained glass? Hand blown glass? Glass mosaics? Both the written word and the visual photo should reinforce each other. Two dimensional artists have a huge selection to narrow down. Are you a Portrait artist? Impressionist landscape artist? Abstract cityscapes? In large categories such as Realism or abstracts, further narrow down your niche for the benefit of better identifying yourself to your prospects. Don't clutter your tag line space with vague generalities such as slogans of "Eternal Mysticism, Light filled journeys, painter of ethereal memories, etc." Save those descriptive slogans for your website. Keep your tag line simple and one line only of what you create!

Perhaps the very best way to view your business card is to see it as an unpaid salesperson! You are essentially sending that salesperson out into the world and asking him to sell your art while you work in your studio! In order to do that effectively, you have to give that salesperson all the tools to effectively do so. Keep that image in your mind as you design your next business card utilizing all 4 tips for a powerful selling artist business card!