Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My business cards, or "My Everest".

So after months and months of researching, planning, and agonizing about what I wanted in my business card, I finally was able to decide on exactly how to do it. I knew that I had a few important criteria to start out with:
1. They had to be on the CHEAP.
2. I wanted to use a multitude of different techniques by hand, and
3. The final product would have to be so beautiful that no one would ever want to throw it away.

With those in mind, I set out to find my paper. Luckily in Austin there are so many resources and friendly people that will help you, that I actually got my paper for free! They gave me so many samples I didn't even have to buy any. Out of all the samples I got I couldn't resist the cream of the crop, the fanciest of fancy papers, Crane Lettra 220 lb. I knew I wanted paper that I could screen print on, and I knew that this cotton paper would take pretty much any ink that I threw at it like a champ, which it did.

So I started out first screen printing one side with a custom pattern that I planned:

Then it was time to letterpress. This was definitely the most laborious, intense part. I ordered polymer plates from Boxcar Press, and cannot recommend them enough. I ordered 3 plates, but unfortunately only ended up using 2, for various reasons. I got some ink, mixed up 2 colors and got out my etching press that I bought from a local artist for $100.

Someone didn't like that he wasn't getting any attention.

What followed could only be described as hours and hours of trial and error, but they turned out pretty great in the end.
First pass with 1 spot color:

2nd pass with a blind plate:


If you want to see the whole process, I made a video:

At this point I had 3 out of 6 steps done. Now I had to cut them all out, by hand. This was my least favorite part, but I only cut my finger once!

I still needed to print the information side of my card, which was really nerve wrecking because they were so precious after all that letter pressing. I was not happy with how my third plate was printing, so I scrapped it all together and decided to Gocco print the last side. This part is always fun, Gocco-ing is the best!

Now on to the 6th step, painting the edges. This part was a little tricky, but I think the final pop of color really ties the whole card together.

I can't be happier with the final output, and can't believe how much money I saved by doing it all myself! This project was definitely not a time saver, but the wealth of information that I learned made it more than worth it.

There you have it! Coming up, my matching self promotional package.


  1. That looks awesome! I would love to learn to do this.

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  3. I'm sorry I had to delate my previous comments because of a crazy typo!
    You're a super talented designer! I'm going to follow your blog forever starting today :-)

  4. Thank you so much! I love your stuff too, following you! :)

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I found this post through Creattica. I started off in motion graphics also and became pigeon-holed producing works that I couldn't call my own per se and felt my portfolio was not properly represented... So now I'm venturing off to reclaim some of that previous identity and I realize for the first time in several years that I need business cards! I want to make my own now that I've seen yours, ha, thanks for the inspiration! Maybe you'll see my blog and process of doing this come up shortly! I'm thinking it will be the New Year before I have everything branding together, but it's going to be all me for once! Luckily people are eager to work with me already so I won't sink before I'm up and running! Take care your cards are perfect!

  7. Thanks David! Always happy to inspire, good luck with everything!

  8. Hi there,

    Can I ask which polymer plates from boxcar you used? I'm looking at getting some made for a similar application.
    Great work!


  9. Hi Liz! Thanks so much for looking. I believe the plate I used is a KF 152 polymer plate from boxcar press. Hope that helps!

  10. Hi Sophie.
    I'm Franco from Italy,
    can you tell me, How can you make a 2 or 3 registered colors with your etching press? How can you make a register? How can you put the color and the deboss in the same position?

    Thank you and compliments

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  12. I like letter press micro depressing texture card it gives good and decent look.

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  13. Simple and elegant design for plastic business cards that inspires viewers attracts clients a show high image about company.....

  14. Beautiful and very different. Love the etching .

  15. It's a very nice idea to describe our talent publicly just want to create a one good blog.i really like your idea.Thanks for sharing this information with me.

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  16. Excellent Blog! Thanks for giving the useful information about Cards Printing.

  17. It’s gorgeous! Although your design is lovely in itself, the quality of ink and paper made it stand out more. You’ll definitely leave a great impression with your clients with those stylish and elegant business cards. I hope that will pave way to more referrals and smooth networking for you. All the best!

    Lisa Thompson @ Controlled Color, Inc.

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