Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Retro-/steampunk-influenced calling cards

I'm always excited when good friends ask me to design things for them. Usually they come to me not just because I'm a designer who is their friend and so might give them a deal (though I will), but because they share my design sensibilities and want to give me the chance to do my thing, my way, without any creative interference. That means I get to explore things I wouldn't for regular, full-paying clients.

I just wrapped up a quick little project like this for my friend Andy. He's transitioning out of ownership of a local coffee chain and not really sure what he wants to do with his career next. He was looking for a calling card that he could use to share his vital contact info with both personal and potential business connections. It needed to speak to his technical and mechanical aptitude and interests without implying that he was seeking any particular type of job position. He's a huge fan of steampunk design and collage art (a la Dave McKean), so I asked him to send me some stuff he'd seen that he liked the look of—an impromptu inspiration board of sorts. Here's what he sent over:


I leaned heavily on his inspirations for my first round of comps, scanning some mechanical bits from one of my favorite sources of copyright-free imagery, JG Heck's The Complete Encyclopedia of Illustration, and some ornate initial caps from an encyclopedia of general knowledge from the early 1900's. Here are the ideas I sent him:

We met and discussed the first round, deciding to avoid the overly feminine flourishes and veer toward more structure and solidity. We decided on a font and color palette and on generic gear imagery:

Final Design

Option 3 from the second set of designs was the unanimous favorite, and needed to evolve only slightly more. We decided to print the card both front and back, so I wrapped the background imagery seamlessly on all four edges and tweaked the placement of everything just a touch, and here's the final:

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