Friday, May 15, 2009

Basic Art Marketing Tools: The Art Business Card

The Art Business Card

You've heard that phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words? It's as true today as when Confucius (if it was actually him) first said it circa 500 BC.

Being one to shy away (for many years) from discussing my work, I have found that always carrying a business card, with a image of my artwork on it, has saved me lots of unnecessary chatter. While I fumble for my five word speech, that gives me time to fish out a card. From there, a quick bit of 'Wow!' factor when I'm lucky, and the conversation can proceed.

Here's my current card, 2 sided, one side for each of my two main types of painting, still lifes and botanicals. I do a new card about once a year.

A few more examples of art cards:
(Thank you to all of the artists who emailed me their cards for samples, as well as my local art friends who agreed to let me post their cards.)

Dana Cooper uses a black background which really increase the drama in the lovely full length portrait. Like many artists, she prefers to keep the contact information simple. Especially if your studio is in your home, chances are you don't want people just stopping by.

Chris Beck uses a playful image on a clean white background. Since cards are small, images of a smaller painting or a closeup can often work better than reproducing a really large painting:

Here's another fun card (and yes, Holly does make glazed and fired popsicles, among other objects):

Some artists choose to use a set of images to express their range of work, as does Niels Henricksen:

Some artists like to use a series of cards, with full front reproductions of artwork, and a simple back side of contact information: such as Manon Doyle....

...and Kim Denise:

Are you wondering... Where and How do these artists get these cards? Can I afford them? (The quick answer is YES). That will be the subject of a future post.


  1. What a great post! Thank you for highlighting what's especially effective about each of these cards. I had thought of sending in my card, but then decided I wasn't that pleased with the four-year-old computer painting on it. Producing a new card about once a year, as you do, is an excellent idea.

  2. Thank you for the inspiration. It is time to redo my business card and your examples are wonderful.

  3. Great idea with the two sided card! I think I will do that next time. This is very helpful for those of us needing the marketing advice.
    thanks, R!

  4. These cards are awesome work of art... recipients should never want to throw them away!

  5. Hey Garriott, What a wonderful idea to show so many different ideas for cards. What do you think about first names? I was told to always include mine. Do you think this is one of those subjective things?

  6. Thanks for the nice comments on my blog, it prompted me to click over and check out your work...I'm kind of getting addicted here..beautiful bold work and really informative stuff. Where do I get these cards...I know you said a future post but I gotta know. I know Vista print sometimes has specials offering 200 free. I've seen adds in the back of art magazines too.

    great stuff here. All the best,

  7. There is definately a lot of WOW factor here! Beautiful cards by all! Thanks for the great ideas!

  8. R. does it again with a great post!

  9. Thanks for your comments, Charlene, Vicki, Cathyann, and Ako! We all have so much we can learn from each other.

    Hi Susan, I think what name we choose to go by is a very personal choice. I haven't heard of anyone giving grief to Madonna lately because she chooses to not to use her last name. Or Dwayne Johnson's choice of going by 'The Rock' for many years. whatever we choose as a name is ours to stand up to.

    Hi Todd, all will be revealed shortly (well, not all, but I won't make you wait that long! By early next week you should have the answers you seek)! I'm compiling a list now of sources I have used and that others have suggested.

    Thanks Michelle and Sheila, it's wonderful how individual each card is; to me it shows how well it works for each artist!

  10. I've produced my own card for a few years now but a flash of light from your post reminded there is a backside to the card. I think I'm inspired to work on an update :)

  11. R., you are a wealth of information, knowledge and encouragement. I appreciate all that you offer in both art, technique and tips. Thank you!!

  12. R, You definitely accomplished the WOW factor with your cards. They are actually breathtaking.

  13. Hi R.,
    Great business card. I have been printing them on my own home printer on photo paper. This lets me change the image every time I print, but I admit, it doesn't look as polished as a proper printing job. However, people do react very positively -- especially when they've got their own image on the card.

    I will think of ordering some generic ones now.
    As always you are an inspiration.

    Take care,


  14. R. your business cards are beautiful! Which reminds me that it's about time I designed some new cards myself. Thanks!

  15. Another fantastic post with excellent info. Thank you, R. Your cards (and the others) are really great.

  16. Your business cards look great! I have recently been handing out post cards instead of business cards and so far the reaction has been positive (with an occasional total lack of interest). Will look forward to your next post on how to afford the business cards (which may be more economical than post cards?)
    Thanks for all your steady input into the creative process and the business of art.

  17. Wonderful, Wonderful Cards...
    I am waiting for your next post....Can I afford it:)

    I just made one with my own logo. But I don't tht will exhaust will have to wait 'haps for a couple of years!!!

  18. BTW, The flower is DELICIOUS!!

  19. Beautiful paintings (of course) on your card. Now, you've got me thinking..I know I should have cards!!

  20. I took a great course with Susan Abbott, ( at the Art League in Alexandria VA, that covers a some of this. having a professional presence is invaluable (less questions about if you can lower your prices on your work). Course titled "From Amateur to Professional" that sort of says it all.

    If someone asks about your work, you have something to hand them with your information on it.

  21. This is great information. I think all of these cards are well done. I redesign mine from time to time and this has definitely given me the impetus to re-work it once again.

    Hey R, thanks for your note and visiting my blog.

  22. Great post R! Thanks for showing my cards!!

  23. This is so very helpful (as always!) Thanks!

  24. Thanks for sharing your business card and for posting the other examples, they are all very inspiring!

  25. R. Thanks very much for looking at my blog, AND for adding me to yours. I do appreciate that! I read with interest your post on the business cards, as this is something I am working on right now. I'll watch for additional info. Thanks again!

  26. wow ,, really useful, i like the two sided version :)


Thank you for your kind comments! They always make my day.