Does your business card gives you status?

The sketch (previous logo design)
A sketch is not always sexy but it’s the inception of possible design outcomes. A direction that can spring different options without the need to bring in all the details in place. For the designer though most of those details are all in place.

There are many ways to come up with a visual system for your branding identity. You might need a motif, or a pattern to bring it all together with meaning. It’s all about the image you want to project and why. Designers need to think of all the final aspect of the card they are designing. Covering the type of paper, the colour system, the printing techniques applicable, size of the card, cost, etc.

One size doesn’t fit all
Once the logo and its name are pretty much to the desired look, the designer tries out different ways where the logo will be living. Flexibility is key but trying to work within a space that’s not ideal won’t get your logo to shine. Designers test different options where the logo might live and how it will look like.
Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 9.45.24 AMYour colour scheme
Your branding identity is also base on a colour system. Once a main colour is chosen some complementary ones are thought out, they will support all your future applications.
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A motif or a pattern that will represent you
Your branding identity can own a unique motif that identifies you. Here’s how I created the Smiling Surface motif and how it was used. See flat card below.
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The silver tray

Through out history the business card also named “calling card” or visiting card. They represented status by the aristocrats of the 17th century. By the reign of Louis XIV, the visiting cards had become a staple of upper echelon. By the 19th century a visiting card was essential to the life of any upper or middle class. Each home had a silver card tray. The cards collected in the tray served as a catalog of those who had visited the household and of the households to which a reciprocal call was due. The giving and receiving of cards, then, was tangible evidence of meeting one’s social obligations.

The card’s goal is to convey the name of the cardholder, his title, his academic degrees, the company he is affiliated, and the relevant contact information. If you conduct business in another country like in China your business card will live by different rules and value.

Go and distinguish yourself.
A business card can make the right statement of who you are and what you do to the right audience. Be proud to show your card, it’s the professional ‘you’ that is left behind.
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The Smiling Surface card shows who I am and what I do. A card can be more than expected with some creative thinking. The final product becomes an object that easily sits on the clients desk.

ss biz card

From naming your business to designing its logo. A short story.

A little update on the subject: the logo for Smiling Surface as changed since. It’s now a sexy happy S. 

Your logo is your business main character accompanied by your company name. It’s that icon, shape or typographic element or both, that will constantly be present on all your business communications. It takes time with some investments to become Apple or Nike where they are only recognize now by their logo.

You developed your product or service with the desire to solve a problem. It’s likely that you’ve also pondered on an official company name.

Naming a product, a service or a company can be a challenge. Branding legend Marty Neumeier says that good product names have seven characteristics. I believe those qualities are also applicable to business names. Now ask yourself.

Is my name:
Easy to spell and pronounce?
Is the domain name available?

Researching your industry
Don’t you want your own style, colours, typography, and branding to be different than your competitors? I know it’s sounds obvious but we often dismiss the value of analyzing the competition’s visual approach. Because it’s where your business will be cohabiting. Designers research their client’s competition before sketching any idea.

You found some names
Now that you have a few names, test them out. You might be set on a favourite name but you need some honest feedback. Often we are too close to the subject. Ask all your key players and listen to their comments. You never know what can bloom from it.

How I discovered my business name?
Another short story.

Smiling Surface came to life after reading “Famous Brand” and some soul searching. One element was constantly present. It’s that common response when presenting design work and noticing the client’s reactions. Some were expressive, talkative, some were quietly analyzing and some were smiling at the ideas proposed. In the end it was that conclusive smile of satisfaction.

Now for the word surface. An obvious aspect taken for granted is that without a support design doesn’t exist. From that piece of paper, to the web, to the cool t-shirt you wear on weekends, the surfaces are endless. Without an applied surface design has nowhere to live and no audience.

How I came up with the Smiling Surface logo?
Combining the smile (the human element) with the exclamation point (the typographic element) it created a simple logo/icon that can live on any surface.

You may wonder why I chose the exclamation point. It’s the only punctuation mark that creates an impact to a sentence. Your message needs to speak creatively to our audience. Your product or service need to make an impact.