business cards for the artist


borrowing from generations of social and business

tradition, the business card for exhibiting artists and networking writers is a must.  But where to start?  And where to go?  With so many options, we narrowed it down to the absolute "DON'T"s and "DO"s for your quick introduction (and hopefully remembrance) to your audience and patrons.

DON'T go too far from the standard shape and size...

Unless it's a really good gimmick for your business (but a paintbrush or camera shaped is way too predictable and hokey). 

Weird Shaped Business Cards.png

But if you do exclusively dog photography, go right ahead...

Animal Business Card.png

The standard business card size is 3.5 x 2 (88.9mm x 50.8mm) for American and 3.346 x 2.165 (85 x 55) for European cards.  Try to stay within that relative "canvas" size.  Sure, it's tempting to get a bigger card to cram more information or even showcase your work, but if it's too large to carry around in a wallet or to store with other cards, it's likely to be thrown out or lost in the shuffle.  Remember that the purpose of the business card is to have something easily accessible to look back to to contact you. 

standard sizes of business cards.png

don't clutter your canvas

Do you have a phone number, email address, website, Etsy shop, Saatchi account, Instagram, Tinder, and LinkedIn?  Well, they don't all need to be on your card.  Plus, leaving blank space on your card is a great way to leave some room for writing a personalized message to someone you're handing it to.  After discussing a particular piece of artwork with someone, you can write the title on the blank back of your card before they walk away.  

Cluttered Business Card.png


You're an ARTIST!  Being unique is one of your greatest defining qualities!  Yes, it's tempting to strip away all the creativity because this is more of a "business" aspect of your work, but people need to see you and your vision on this "little preview" and "token" of your work.  

Boring Business Card.png

This doesn't mean you can't go simple.  But don't cut out your personality.  More on this later.


Nothing ruins a Google search worse than the wrong name.  Sure Google can fix "van Gohg", but are you well-known enough to have a search engine find you when others can't?  


What makes you most comfortable to talk?  Is it over the phone?  Email?  Facebook? Put yourself first and stick with putting that contact information on your card and keep it to that.

Evan Culkins.png


Are you a slasher?  Meaning are you a photographer/painter/yoga instructor/empath/vixen?  You don't have to be all of that at once.  It's best to know what audience you're presenting to and what connection people will make with you.  Don't be afraid to categorize your work and someone's interest in one aspect of your artistic collection.

Also---even though you might not display all of them at the same time, be sure to carry all of them with you at all times.

Multiple Cards.png


Special, glossy or matte finishes are a great way to spotlight certain features of your business card and play with light. 

Special Finishes 2.png
Special Finishes.png

Die-cuts can be expensive, although laser printing services are helping to off-set that cost, but it's a way to change the shape of the business card while still adhering to standard size.  Go with thicker paper if you do this so your card doesn't get bent and destroyed easily being crammed into a wallet.

DIe cut business card 2.png
DIe cut business card.png

Remember, you HOLD a business card in your hand and the heaviness of the paper, the feeling of the card is something to likely stay with the recipient.

Calling card.png