Business cards are becoming rather obsolete now that you can just Google anyone, but artists are good at reviving antiquated formats of communication. Now the office accessories are getting a creative makeover in the hands of several artists and graphic designers. If you’re going to have a physical business card, why not make it worthwhile to hand out? Below, I’ve highlighted a few examples of cards that made me want to save them.
Document, located in the West Loop, is a printing service for fine art photography. Document has printed artworks for Dawoud Bey, Jason Lazarus, and the International Center of Photography, among many others. The text on owner Aron Gent’s card is blind embossed—that is, printed without ink so that the type is revealed as a texture first. It was designed by Jeremiah Chiu of Plural and printed by Brandy Barker at Spudnik Press.
For their own card, the designers at Plural made great use of thermochromatic ink. It's purely black at first look. Then, as it is handled, the heat from one’s hands causes the personal info to be revealed. Classic Color was the printer for these cards. Here’s a video of the heat technology in action.
Artist Jennifer Mills handed out a small number of her personal product as a limited edition, riffing on the idea of printmaking as fine art. Those who attended Mills’ performance in the Chicago Pedway last December were lucky enough to receive a signed business card print for free.
The Franklin is an art gallery in the backyard of Edra Soto and Dan Sullivan’s Humboldt Park home. The venue, designed by Sullivan, is made entirely of wood. So is their card. It was printed by the company Cards of Wood.
Jason Foumberg is Chicago magazine's contributing art critic.