In an industry that is all about networking and who you know, business cards are a great tool. They are a convenient way to give a new friend or business contact a little pocket-sized reminder of who you are, what you do, and how to get in contact with you. Moreover, in a industry where individuality, creativity and quality are valued, musicians need to use business cards that reflect their personality, artistry and character.

There are a lot of different ways to approach the musician business card. Let’s start with some examples.

We’ll start with my absolute favorite business card from my friend Bart, a musician in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia who was kind enough to let me reprint his card here. He’s a funny guy, and people always like working with him. Read his selling points at the bottom of the card.

bart-business-card

A business card that makes other musicians laugh out loud is priceless.

Understandably, though, I think Bart is careful about who he hands this particular card out to. You have to make sure they’ve got a sense of humor first. I believe he keeps another set of regular business cards with him as well.

Next is a card from Jeff Fajans, a member of our Facebook group, who uses a really dynamic design on his card. He told me, and I think he’s right, that the colors on this card make it stand out from the others. In his words, “I really believe that it is important to set yourself apart in any way you can, especially when there are so many talented musicians.” Jeff had his card designed by M13 Graphics and is very happy with their service.

jeff-fajans-35x2-fr

Also from the Facebook group, Kahuna Kawentzmann sends us his business card all the way from Germany. Great use of typography. For you language geeks out there, “Gitarren Aufnahmedienst” means “Guitar Recordings Services.”

kk_visi_web

Below is fellow MW blogger Cameron Mizell’s business card. Years ago this same image used to be the front page of his website.

cm_business_cards

Pairing the business card, album and website altogether with one look is a great idea for branding yourself or your band. Check out what MW contributing writer Gary Melvin sent us. Note that the top is the front of the card, and the bottom is the back.

businesscardcomp

Derek Sivers recently wrote a post on his blog about throwing out the traditional business card paradigm and handing out something more practical to people. Check out his custom made guitar picks.

I think this works out especially well for Derek because his past and future businesses all cater to musicians that are online. A cheap, often used piece of musician flare with his website stamped right on it? You can’t go wrong.

Thanks to David Rose of KnowTheMusicBiz.com for pointing out Derek’s post to me.

For my own business cards, I went for a very professional, almost attorney-like look.  Whether I’m trying to book a cocktail gig at a swanky party, or looking for a spot in a theatre pit, the people that hire me are typically looking for a musician with attorney-like professionalism, and I try to portray some class in my card.  Also, at least in typography, it matches my website and both of my albums.

dave-business-card

One website that you should definitely visit for creative ideas in business card design (although not specifically musician business cards) is CreativeBits.org. I’d like to reprint everything on their page here to show you, but I’ll just pick my favorite one and hope that you visit their site and see for yourself.

Here’s a card on CreativeBits.org from a lawn care company. Pretty clever.

Another creative approach to business cards (and album artwork, for that matter) is to hand make each one. It’s a time consuming idea, but would really differentiate your business card from others. Look at this card from Adam Behringer, care of BeeDocs.com.

If you are interested in making a stamped card like this, check out SimonStamp.com. I’ve looked into this option myself and they were the service I had finally centered on.

There are several different online business card services that musicians recommended to us. Naturally there is the inescapable VistaPrint.com, which still provides free business cards for people that don’t care if the Vista Print logo lives on the backside. Cameron tells me that the next time he gets cards it’ll be through Moo.com, and as I said before, guitarist Jeff Fajans suggests M13 Graphics.

Whatever service you go with, my final advice it to pay special attention to, and more $$ for, the details of your business card.  A major rookie mistake in business cards is to pick the cheapest stock and the cheapest printing.  Choose a thick cardstock, embossed printing or a high gloss finish – or maybe a nice matte finish.  It can seem like an unnecessary expense, but it’s worth dropping a little more dough on the project.  These little cards will represent you after you are gone, and you’ll need them to be impressive advocates.

Here’s a short anecdote I’ll leave you with. The story goes that when Lyndon B. Johnson was President of the United States, he would give out little presents to his staff.  One of the presents was an electric toothbrush with his picture on one side and the presidential seal on the other.  As he said, “I give these toothbrushes for then I know that from now until the end of their days they will think of me the first thing in the morning and the last at night.”

Now that’s what I call an effective business card.

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35 Responses to Musician Business Cards

  1. David Rose says:

    Great post Dave! Thanks for the mention. Business cards are great networking and branding tools. I’ve also learned over the years to keep a complete contact profile of myself in my Treo smart phone. I can beam my contact information directly to someone else’s device if I happen to get caught without a business card and want to share my name, company, phone number, email etc.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Rene Moffatt says:

    I didn’t get around to sending my business cards in to MusicianWages.com when they sent a call for biz cards yesterday afternoon… but I wanted to share where I got them produced cause it was a good deal and great quality.

    The cards can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76834773@N00/3255204731/ and here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76834773@N00/3256036166/ (the image is blurry, not the cards.)

    I had them printed through http://www.jakprints.com which is a very reliable printer. I paid $65 for 500 of them and they are very good quality. they have lots of other services, so definitely check them out.

  3. Those look great Rene. Is the photo on the back a matte finish? I like that.

  4. Rene Moffatt says:

    Thanks David,

    Yes, the design is printed on an uncoated card stock as opposed to glossy. Uncoated makes better writing on material (how often do you have a sharpie!). These were basic info cards… I plan on doing promotion codes the next go around.

  5. I would heartily recommend you check out http://www.moo.com a UK company that allows you to upload your own photos to print in a variety of ways and sizes (smaller size minicards are the ones that I use and they always get a reaction because of their unique size).

    The nice thing with the photo upload is that you can use multiple images. I have 20 or so different designs which enables me to give someone a card with an image that relates to them (i.e. me at Wrigley Field to someone from Chicago).

    The cards are a decent price ($20 for 100), not as cheap as doing them at a printer perhaps and you are limited a bit on the back side as to how much content you can add. You also can’t put a logo on the back of the minicards at this point. They also do stickers, postcards and regular size biz cards too.

    Nice product.

  6. Nakia says:

    I got mine done for a great deal (2000 for $80 – they were on sale) at 48hourprint.com – unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of what they look like after they put the rounded corners on them but here are the initial designs:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nakia/3255751203/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nakia/3255751127/

  7. Matt Rodela says:

    I had the pleasure of serving with Bart in the Army in Korea…funny that I run into his name here! He certainly is a witty dude, that biz card fits him perfectly!

  8. [...] want to get work singing at weddings, funerals, Christmas Parties… have a website and a current business card (best business cards have your photo, contact, and of course website info.) Your potential clients [...]

  9. Jeff F says:

    Moo.com looks really great. I like the different options. Thanks for sharing!

    And thanks again David for including my card in your post!

  10. Here’s a great new list of business card designs. I really like this –

    http://tinyurl.com/bj8fep

  11. Very thorough and creative article on a must have site for the indie musician. Thanks!

  12. Cam McIntyre says:

    I used a very simple design…There’s a box with a bass clef on the left with a line separating it from my name, and Acoustic and Electric Bass underneath that.

    I have my contact info in the bottom left-phone, email, website, myspace, and my region [Chicago]. In the lower right corner, I have Performance & Private Instruction.

    I designed them in Microsoft Publisher [i think]. I paid right about $30 for 500 of them from FedEx Kinkos and I got them in 12 hours.

    I also use this card for all my gigs. Whether it’s jazz, theater, pop, teaching, music business networking-they all get this card. It conveys a lot of my brand.

    all the best.

  13. The Riz says:

    A 2c for musicians specifically. Being that I’ll be handing out my card for reasons varying from guitar-playing, transcription, song-writing to recording-service to anything else one could think of, All I have is a picture of a guitar by my website n’ contact info. One could even put just a simple picture of music notes. Makes the cards somewhat more multi-purpose.

  14. [...] VIEW ARTICLE SOURCE [...]

  15. Tess Taylor says:

    David -
    This is a great post, excellent examples of biz cards. I will forward the link to your post to our many, many artist / musician members and subscribers who NEED to hear this (and I pound it into their heads as often as humanly possible). At our monthly brunches in Los Angeles, I have developed the “semi-automatic business card maker” which is actually just a small notebook for people to use who come to our events WITHOUT business cards. It came to this after a recent brunch when I saw people exchanging their contact details scrawled on paper plates because they didn’t have cards! Incredible. Be well, thanks for the practical info. Your “bad attitude” keyboard player friend reminds me of a dear friend of mine, also a professional musician, who actually named his company Overdressed Late Guy Productions (classic).
    Cheers,
    Tess Taylor

  16. Great article! I too appreciate the value of business cards in trying to get work as a musician. I am a trumpeter and I use business cards as referrals to get wedding jobs. I went with one of the stock designs at Office Depot, with my basic info (name, address, home and cell phone numbers, email address) and ended up spending $35 for 500 cards.

    You really want to get your name or band’s name out there as much as possible. Think of it like advertising, since it really is. One of the important ideas is repetition. The next time you hear a radio commercial, notice how many times they repeat the phone number or business name in the commercial.

  17. [...] Best and Worst Day Jobs for Musicians Musician Business Cards [...]

  18. a dude says:

    Great article! Everyone needs to stop overestimating the power of another’s memory and start appreciating the power of a bold statement on a piece of paper.

  19. molly rae says:

    Thank you not only for the excellent advice, but for providing visual examples! It is wonderful to see all of the effective ways that business cards can be personalized to reflect your image, musical style, type of work, and personality. I am definetely going to look into creating some for myself. If you provide more than one line of work, would you suggest creating multiple kinds of business cards catering it’s style to each type of work you wish to represent? Or, having one card that basically lists all of the work that you provide in one specific business card style?

  20. Michelle says:

    Thank you for posting this fantastic blog! I’m a college music student who plans to make business cards in the near future. After reading this, I plan on having more than one type of business card. It was great to not only get to read about business card ideas, but to actually have the chance to see some really cool ones.

  21. Royshell says:

    http://www.dpiperfect.com

    best prices for me , for 1000 $19.99 plus shipping total for me $31.00 not bad , but 1000 cards is a lot of cards , so proof read before ,or it will be a 1000x wrong

  22. Chris J says:

    This post is a great resource! I’m currently looking to have business cards made for my quartet because we’re looking to start gigging around town. It’s actually a little daunting, seeing such a colorful sampling of other musician’s designs. We’ll have to put a lot of thought into our final design. It looks like eye catching, but tasteful is the way to go.

  23. [...] card above is from an excellent article about business cards for musicians (although the advice applies to anyone). There’s nothing fancy about it in terms of card [...]

  24. Great post, David. Wanted to add a point I think I read on Seth Godin’s blog (it might have been Derek Sivers’) that will help us musicians quite a bit. In his post, he said “every time you use the word ‘and’ in what you do, you suck a little bit more.” His point: when we list everything we do on our business cards/websites, the perception of the reader is that we don’t do any one thing really well, but rather we are mediocre in the various jobs we list.

    Since many of us do several things (i.e. producer, conductor, teacher, pianist, composer, arranger, programmer, etc.), it might better serve us to have several different business cards made––especially since they are so cheap (or even free)––to use at the appropriate times.

  25. [...] Read article with savvy advice for an effective business card for musicians. [...]

  26. Great post. The first business card is great, love the simplicity & humor. The idea of having a different business car for each talent is a good idea. It identifies your area of expertise and allows you to create a new image for each occupation.

  27. [...] rambling on I will send you to an article that really hits the nail on the head. My friends over at MusicianWages.com put up a great article a few months ago with pictures of professional’s cards. These cards are [...]

  28. Alex Tirrell says:

    I just ordered some cards. I think I did okay as far as the design and content of the card, but I think I might do something more interesting for the next batch.

    Nice to see what others are doing!

  29. [...] greeting cards, accessories and much more. We’ve featured MOO products before in our Musician Business Cards article – they are well-known for creating beautiful, high-quality print and [...]

  30. Nathan Girard says:

    I have also run across Bart before (although I knew him as SSgt Kuebler.) He was my piano teacher at the Armed Forces School of Music when I joined the Navy in 2006. I discovered this blog recently, and having seen his name in a couple different places I wondered, then seeing another comment that he was in the Army band made it click.

  31. [...] A lot of what I’ve learned about being a working musician comes from other musicians who were king enough to share their thoughts with me. One of the most resourceful blogs and one of my favorite websites  for musicians is Musician Wages. There are articles on how to conduct from the piano, how to create an online presence and the average income of a musician. One of the most insightful writers is music director/ pianist David Hahn who writes about calculating a musician hourly rate, top 10 gigs who may not have thought of, and  tips on resume and business cards. [...]

  32. samuel says:

    hi very intrest drums

  33. Chris Berry says:

    Pretty cool designs. I like when business cards are kept simple, with a touch of difference made from the image or the clours used. However the Lush business card is very unique and I like the idea that when you are given this, you get something with it.

  34. Karam jabri says:

    Thanks to share this cool information here

  35. I like the idea of using guitar picks as design for business cards. Business cards are getting more and more creative and in the music industry, standing out seems to be really important. With a creative industry as this, it’s interesting how the designs will evolve!

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