Minimalist Letterpress Business Card - Thoughts?

Hello all.

I'm having these printed this week and have finally settled on a design I enjoy, but I'd like another set of discerning eyes on it if possible! I do freelance, but I work in a number of fields, so I didn't want a card that played up one over the other. I also tend to write small notes to the people I exchange with, so having an airy card is important for that. So it basically became a matter of font selection.

My inspiration were vintage cards from the 40's - 60's. Those 3 decades are obviously very different so I ended up narrowing my focus to a more late-50's/60's kind of look with ITC Blair and initially Futura which I swapped for Avenir.

Just curious if there are any glaring typographical problems with this design. Also, if you have any simple ideas for this kind of style I'd love to hear them.

Thanks guys.

JamesM's picture

Here's Paul Rand's card without the black background, which some might mistakenly think is a black border.

peterf's picture

Damn, Rand was good. By the way, please don't confuse him with Rand Paul.
Must have been Ron's little joke. But in fact, it shows that Paul Rand was known beyond the design culture. His IBM logo is possibly the most famous three letters in the world. And of course there was the nice little box he designed for NeXT...

JamesM's picture

Chris, my biggest problem with your original design is that the centered layout is deadly dull.

Your site shows a strong interest in photography. Have you considered putting a photo on the card? Here are a couple of examples I found to illustrate the general idea. You might even do a series with a different image on each one.

Nick Shinn's picture

I suspect that at one time Rand (Peretz Rosenbaum) had his name stacked in monowidth all caps, and that he chose that name because it was two words of four letters that could do just that. Something like this Toronto band:

But by the time of the card shown, he had moved on to modernist asymmetry.

BTW, that Holy **** CD cover is a creative design. A generic retro tombstone layout is not, although some people today mistake curation for creativity.

peterf's picture

BTW, Scalawag, my big concern with your piece is that you're only looking at the black bits, not at the white. Just moving the type around is just (ok, just once) rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (Sorry ;-) unless you are using the type to arrange the white space.

The space between the chunks is far  too  obvious  in my view.   We don't  speak  with  big  pauses, eh?

When you start seeing the relationships of the white space, things like optical centering and alignment become simple. Painfully obvious, in fact ;-)

Peter Fraterdeus @slowprint @ideaswords

peterf's picture

Hilarious ;-)

apankrat's picture

A bit late for the discussion, but

> And of course there was the nice little box he designed for NeXT...

I personally think NeXT logo is awful (and the 30+ page manuscript that explains why the box needs to be turned 28 (?) degrees is just full of itself).

In fact, I don't know a single person who actually used NeXT machines and liked the logo. NeXTs were truly incredible for their time and the logo did not do them any justice whatsoever. It looked foreign, like something hastily slapped on a otherwise exceptionally polished and elegant piece of computer machinery.

dezcom's picture

Each of us in entitled to their own opinion on everything including the NeXT logo. My opinion is quite different than Mr Apankrat's. Perhaps this is because I heard Rand talk about it and several other identity systems. I assure you he did nothing "hastily slapped on" no matter what you may think about the final product.

apankrat's picture

Chris, I didn't say it was hastily slapped on. I said it looked like it was.

Let me put it this way - have you had a chance to actually use the NeXT workstation? As thoughtful and elaborate NeXT identity system was, it was off.

dezcom's picture

Yes, I did see and play with a few NeXT workstations both at trade shows and in use. I never owned one, too much money, but I sure loved Display PostScript and true Unix multitasking! My use of the machines was all in the design/publishing arena so the apps I saw were limited to a specific arena. It was like I have always coveted a Porsche 911 or even the old Speedster but knew it was only a dream to ever get one. The Unix workstation never came down to the price range of what people were willing t pay for the competitive DTP market. Microsoft saw Unix as more of a threat to the straight business market outside of engineering and science and Apple's new leader sure was not going to jump in and help his old boss prove he was smarter after all. Steve Jobs did his usual brilliant job of hype at publishing conferences--I saw him at Seybold a few times and was impressed.

I might also ask if you have much direct experience working for large organizations or corporations and getting agreement on corporate identity materials? Rand was a master of this but even he knew when a done deal was a done deal by the boardroom Brooks Bros suit guys. Rand always made a very logical and thought out book to present a logo. After seeing his books for IBM, Westinghouse, and even his wayward attempt with Ford Motors, I can't imagine any remote chance of the usual flippant, ad jockey whipped out quickie being even a conversation with him. Jobs loved Rand and what he stood for as a designer. rand was surprised to get the call from such a young gun like Steve but was glad to go beyond the mammoth IBM mega-bureaucracy in the high-tech market.
I am sure we can differ on our opinion of what landed on the cube but you have to give Rand the credit he is due for creation of the corporate identity as a must for any operation worth its salt.

gillo's picture

Did someone say "minimalist letterpress business card?" A little late to the party, but I've got one! Bonus visualization of ink spread, though I am but an amateur printer.

Printed version:

Slightly different digital mockup version:

I think the bolder ink-spread improves the look, actually. This version was printed slightly deeper than kiss, but not as deep as is popular these days. I have a couple of flat-kissed versions which have retained more of the lightness of the second line.

I personally think they're a little boring, but the client didn't go for my metal-type-and-vintage-copper-cut mockup...

She probably made the right call.

hrant's picture

> not as deep as is popular these days.

Thank you.


5star's picture

The first thing I thought of upon seeing Paul Rand's card is that he placed his name almost smack dab on the golden point. It seems the card is based on the golden section format.

Old skool composition!

charles ellertson's picture

I had several thoughts, but they all hurt.

apankrat's picture

Spotted on Dribbble and I think this is a perfect minimalist business card - it is simple without being simplistic.

hrant's picture

Curls on the lowercase "el"?! ;-)


Nick Shinn's picture

Not perfect: the space between T and A is an issue.

hrant's picture

Never perfect anyway. (Which is a feature, not a bug.)


apankrat's picture

Valid points, gentlemen. I wonder if there's an imprint on the back.

vilbel's picture

I've been told that it's better to keep the back of business cards empty (aside maybe from something small in a corner) because people tend to write names, phone numbers etc. on them. But maybe that's not really an issue with minimalist business cards.

Syndicate content Syndicate content