I wanted to explore creating a business card using simple graphical elements.

The experiment was to work in a structured and methodical way, working through one element at a time, to see what I would end up with.

Step One

I started with simply writing my details down, arranging the same details in 5 different ways.

Business experiment step one

Each different placement of the same information that I tried seemed to unlock a whole new possibility in the design of each card.

Step Two

Now I had 5 designs. The next step was to explore changing one element at a time for each variant, to see what the effect on the design would be. The elements I played with at this stage were:

  • Font size and weight
  • Adding a shape
  • Using a mixture of upper and lower case

Business experiment step two

It was super interesting seeing the effect that just changing the weight, spacing or size of the text had on the overall layouts. It was even more interesting when I started experimenting bringing in graphical elements.

Step Three

Next, I experimented with the same layouts as before, except I adjusted the margins. Bringing the margins in allowed me to activate more white space around the content and opened up a different set of possibilities:

Business experiment step 3

Step Four

At this point, I had loads of design variants and was in desperate need of narrowing my focus. I decided to pick my favourite 5 variants out of the whole group to continue working on. I chose:

Business experiment step 4

I chose these 5 as they represented a variety of different design directions, as well as feeling like they had the best combination of type and shapes out of all the options I had created so far. They still needed a bunch of tweaking though.

Cue:

Step Five

I wanted to push these 5 variants further by adding an additional graphic element to each. Using the existing 5 designs as inspiration, I created two more designs per variant just to see what I ended up with:

Business experiment step 5

Step Six

In order to refine my designs yet again, I picked my favourite three designs from all of the variants above. They were:

Business experiment step 6

I finessed each of these variants, adjusting the type size, spacing and weights, as well as the scale of the type and the graphical elements:

Business experiment step 7

Step Eight

Out of all these variants, my favourite two designs were:

Business experiment step 8 - variant 1

I liked this design a lot. The shape on the left mimics my initials, but not too obtrusively, and I think the balance of the thick lines on one hand and the Gotham bold capitals of my name on the other feel right to me. I think it says professional but interesting.

Business experiment step 8 - variant 2I also really liked this design. I like the bold declaration of my name at the top. It is unapologetic, steadfast and solid. The two dots add some extra visual interest that provide a good counterpoint to the heft above.

Final reflections

This was a really interesting exercise to work through on something with pretty tight constraints – a business card. The methodological format of creating divergent thinking by going through and changing one thing at a time actually yielded much more creative results than I thought it would.

Special thanks to Paul Finn for encouraging me with this work and providing much-needed guidance!

Finally, if you give this format a go, do share a link to your work – I’d love to see what you come up with! 🙂

Which do you prefer? Happy to hear critique and thoughts in the comments! 

 

Author

Design lead, watermelon addict, Leuchtterm notebook obsessive. I just enjoy designing great experiences for people that just work, writing about my craft and connecting with designers everywhere. Find me on Instagram, Twitter and Google+.

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