Monday, October 6, 2008

Obama - Biden campaign cards

Obama-Biden '08

The art is my original work, and I printed up 1000 of these business card size Obama - Biden '08 campaign cards to pass out during these last few weeks leading up to the election. Here's the file, and you are no longer welcome to download it - the election is over.

This file, is no longer available - the election is over.

If you would like me to have 500 or 1000 of these cards printed and delivered to you in the continental U. S., send me the money through PayPal (below) and I'll do it . . . for the next week or so. After that, there will not be enough time before the election to get them to you.



- 2 in. wide by 3.5 in. tall
- 14 pt. heavy gloss card stock
- 4 color process on one side - blank backside
- Gloss UV finish

500 cards for $29.00 (includes shipping)
1000 cards for $39.00 (includes shipping)
(Payment through PayPal)

Continental United States only, please.

Ships from Cleveland, Ohio.


Tom Fox
Carmen-Thomas Designs
1704 Brentmoor Lane
Louisville, Kentucky 40223

tomwfox at gmail dot com

Friday, May 30, 2008

Playing with pattern backgrounds

Creating repeating geometric shapes is a good way to spend those hours when neural activity is just too sluggish for anything else, or when you wish to give expression to your OCD within.

A pattern background can be the starting place for a business card design. This pattern is much too busy to be used as-is. There's no place to put your text so that it will be visible.

Translucent overlays are useful for creating room for contrasting text, but resist the temptation to do the conventional. There may be a time and a place for brown and rectangular boring, but I'd say it's an exception.

Combining the patterned background with overlaying translucency of various shapes, along with blurs, fades, filters and art, produces interesting results.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Introducing backgrounds

It's my best guess that many business card designers are still working within the technical restraints that existed in the color printing industry in the past. Solid colors are safe, and a smooth gradient fade is now technically possible.

But color printing technology has come much further than that. Intricate and subtle color printing is possible now. A bazillion interesting printed backgrounds are an easy and inexpensive way to jazz up even the most basic layout. Business cards can look better.

Maybe designers need less vector design and more raster design, and it's an Adobe Illustrator vs. Photoshop thing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Variation on a bizcard theme - 2

I suppose the natural tendency is to darken a dark photograph even more in order to create the necessary blank area for contrasting text. That's what I did in my prior sample, in Photoshop tip - variation on a theme 1

This, however, is my preferred variation:

Photoshop tip - variation on a theme 1

In my Cropping tips for business card design I started off with a big photograph and cropped it down to business card size, like this:

I've looked at more than a few business card templates that use a photograph as a background. Stock photography is useful, and it is easy. One common problem with using a photograph in a business card design is the need to overlay the photo with text. Although many stock photo compositions naturally provide an appropriate dark or light blank area for overprinting text in a contrasting color, many do not. The common solution I've seen other designers use in this situation is to select an matching color for a superimposed gradient fade. Like this:

The main problem with this technique is that it looks cheesy. It looks like someone spray painted over the right side of the photo. The transition from the organic texture of the photograph to the flat monotone of the gradient is obviously artificial.

One solution to this problem is this. Starting with the same green gradient fade to transparency shown above, switch the Photoshop layer mode from 'Normal' to 'Color Burn', and reduce the opacity setting for that layer.

I also duplicated the gradient fade layer, left the mode as 'Normal' and lowered the opacity setting. This is the result:

To my eye, this has a superior appearance. It looks like an unaltered photograph with a naturally occurring dark shadow area perfect for overlying white text.

Bodacious simplicity - letterpress

Letterpress printing is a holdover from the 19th Century, being kept alive by a small band of dedicated artists. Whereas offset lithography printing lays ink down on the surface of paper using rubber rollers, letterpress pushes ink coated metal type onto the paper under pressure. Letterpress literally creates indentations in the paper that you can see and feel. I'm sure that 100 years ago it was easy to find poorly designed and badly executed letterpress print jobs, it has since evolved into an art form. Nobody survives in the letterpress printing business these days except by being excellent.

Letterpress printing is not my thing, personally, except for a 3 month stint in 7th grade shop class many moons ago. Letterpress printing is very expensive compared to other printing technologies. 1000 business cards designed and executed for letterpress could reasonably cost $800, or more.

Yet, just looking at the beauty and artistry of letterpress printing on a fine thick cotton card stock fills me with appreciation.

The above sample was created by Erin McCall, who is Principal of Sunlit Media, a freelance graphic, web, and identity design firm and letterpress studio based in Vancouver, BC. See her post: Happy New Year! - Adventures in Letterpress

Sunlit Media | Graphic Design
5862 148th Street
Surrey, British Columbia

Tel: 604.572.3143
Mobile: 604.842.3143
Fax: 604.575.2235

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No art of the business card

It was pure coincidence that the same day I wrote Basic narcissism of business cards, Guy Kawasaki was waxing enthusiastic about his new business card in The art of the business card.

Guy Kawasaki business card

If you don't know Guy Kawasaki, there is not much about this business card that tells you who he is, what he does, or why you should contact him. This card does not pass the "Would you pin this business card to your bulletin board just because you like to look at it?" test.

No. This business card looks like a garment tag.