Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Promoting Your Work, Part I - the Business Card

"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it." - who said this?

You're at the show. People are interested in your work they are about to leave (empty handed!!). And they turn and say,

do you have a card?

Your reply: Sorry, I don't want to be bothered when I'm not at the show. I'm here now. What can I do for you?

do you have a website?

Your reply: the show is my livelihood, what can I do for you?

how can we get in touch with you for a piece for our anniversary/new family room/cottage when it is time?

Your reply: how about now?

I have seen this scenario many, many times. The people walk away dazed and confused, and empty-handed. This may seem extreme, but you know it is factual. Do you have business cards? Do you always have them on you?

At the show they can carry them off and have a tangible piece from you that may bring them back today because you've written your booth # on it. Away from the show they are a visual memory jog about you and your work. A good card is the cheapest viral marketing and advertising you can do.

Here are a few cards I've picked up recently that show some very good basics:

What's missing from this card? Nothing I can think of. How about you?

Front of Wendy Bedolla's card


And, we need to have our house painted - great card, no?

Do you have a business card? Can you show it to us here?

Views: 4965

Comment by Larry Berman on August 1, 2014 at 12:12pm

My business cards are 4x6 prints from Sam's Club, 13 cents each.

The card I give out to artists when I walk art shows.

The card I give out at art shows when I have my new work hanging.

Larry Berman

Comment by Robert LeHay on August 1, 2014 at 2:48pm

Here's mine....I have mine printed at Staples - I can't recall the price but it doesn't cost much.

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 1, 2014 at 4:13pm

That is beautiful, Robert. Seems to have all the necessary components. Who designed this?

Have you even done any shows in Michigan? Did I meet you at the Krasl art fair?

Larry, yours would stick out so because of the size. That is good, but I'm glad not everyone has them that size. But yours works for a card and a brochure. Nice multipurpose.

Comment by Leo Charette on August 1, 2014 at 4:26pm

I use a bookmark approach to my business cards. It does call attention when handing them out. More importantly, because the bookmark is long (like a banner), I'm able to use it as the header on my web site and as a header on email generated by mail chimp. The goal is to create a look that I can carry through all communication approaches that I would use with patrons. 

BTW, I use for this...very affordable and they back the quality if I'm not satisfied.  Cheers!

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 1, 2014 at 5:08pm

Nice. I believe that is called branding, Leo. And the cool thing about the bookmark is it may get carried around and come upon another day and actually used. Nice color reproduction. Is this size one of their custom sizes?

Comment by Leo Charette on August 1, 2014 at 5:21pm

No not a custom size... this is one of their products. The card prints to 2X6.

About that quote up above, it's attributed to the straight talking Frank Zappa.

Comment by Bob Chapman on August 1, 2014 at 6:11pm

Here is my current card. Nothing on the back at this time, considering adding a QR next time around.  I cropped it funny, there is actually a little more border around the top.

Comment by Sarah Pollock on August 1, 2014 at 10:00pm

I appreciate this post. But I can't tell you how many times people treat my business card as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. They politely ask, "Do you have a card?"

The reality is that they're very unlikely to buy something. They're just too polite / uncomfortable to leave totally empty-handed, so snatching a card on the way out is a way to smooth things over for everyone. I've actually heard of some artists who don't make their cards readily available to avoid this scenario.

So, rather than a quest for the penultimate card design, I'd like to know: how do the rest of you handle this?

Comment by Leo Charette on August 2, 2014 at 7:15am
Sarah, what you say is true. I give out hundreds of cards each year. I know many just want to go to my site for inspiration, pass it on to a child or freind who has an interest in my media, or worst put me on some useless spam list. Most have no interest in purchasing from me and collecting the card is a polite way of moving on. A modest percent do take the card because they are interested but not able to purchase at that time...all of my Christmas and winter sales last year where those people. How can I tell the difference? I often can't distinguish the ligitiment card taker from the card collector and if I try to sort the wheat from the chafe in my mind, I become cynical. A cynical me is not good at an art show.

It cost pennies per card, and each year a small percentage of the cards do find a mark and become a sale, sometimes even a few years later. I would rather stay upbeat and give out the card than lose a future sale.

One painter artist I know hangs a big placard on the wall of his tent, sort of a large business card. Every time someone ask him for a card, he tells them to take a picture of the placard with their phone. Another makes 4x6 business postcards and charges a 25 cents each. Another will only exchange cards (can be hand-written)...I'll give you mine if you give me yours...she builds mailing list that way. I guess we each have to find our own way.
Comment by Larry Berman on August 2, 2014 at 7:21am

Then there's the genius (or pessimist) who had business cards printed with only the words "business card". People who asked him for a business card either thought he was an idiot or laughed. But they all got the point, and some actually purchased right there on the spot.

Larry Berman


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