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Applying the basics of Good Design to your first business card

By January 10, 2015 Freelancing No Comments
il-mato.biz business card by Matias Berra Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Just like it happened to any other person who has attempted to become a freelancer/ entrepreneur, it became quite clear from the beginning that there are a thousand tasks to be done before you can even attempt to call yourself a ‘self-employed man’.

It occurred to me one of the most critical aspects of being successful in this task was coming up with a Brand that truly represents who you are/ what you do…and then find a clever way to incorporate that into all your marketing, advertisement and projects.

Where to begin though? With a website at il-mato.biz containing most of my portfolio I felt confident enough to start showing potential clients my web design abilities, after all, what better way to introduce myself than a decently designed website right?

So with something to show, I went right ahead and created a very important piece of marketing 101: The Business Card

Coming up with the design inspiration for the business card:

inspiration for design
Probably one of the best abilities one can have as a proficient creator is to know where to get good inspiration for projects. The old term “Good designers copy, great designers steal” does indeed apply. If you are good enough to identify

The old term “Good designers copy, great designers steal” does indeed apply. If you are good enough to identify

If you are good enough to identify source of inspiration/ example that closely match your objectives, then you place yourself ahead in the race.

For this particular Project I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon my muse in real life. As it happens I have a very strange habit of collecting playing cards I find on the ground, I guess I’m waiting for the universe to provide me with my own personal deck, regardless:

While I was in Cambodia a few months back, I found a joker on the Street, a p had a certain meaning to me…

I had never found one before, and even stranger, the idea of using a jester’s hat as a symbol for a brand just poped into my mind out of now where, it was then and there that I decided the logo for my new Brand/website should be the jester’s hat!

Synchronicity  had decided my card should somehow resemble that playing card the universe had thrown in my path. Sure enough, you cooould say it was rather rushesed, but certain things just feel good from the very beggining…

joker card found in cambodia by matias berra

In any case, I was lucky in this particular time. Generally I have my own virtual archives of resources on which I depend often enough for that fleeting muse. Most of these websites are designed by designers for designer, so do take the time to use them madly! Sources of random digital inspiration I like using:

Niice.com– A search engine with taste, type what you are interested in and get inspired with the hundreds of different designs that will be shown to you.

Oozled.com– Curated resources organized and ready to be browsed. A lot of great ideas, tutorials and general info, great great place to grow as a designer

Pinterest– Ok, this is a social network, but is a very active community flooding with amazing inspiration, just search your topic and be creative.

Not let’s go through some of the things I had to consider while following some basic rules of design…

Applying the basics of ‘Good Design’ to my card:



color emotional effects


Now this is a very important aspect, color has very deep emotional effects on the human psyche and should always be used to reflect that what you want people to ‘feel’ about your Brand/product.

In my case, I chose 2 very clear colors for my Brand: Purple and Black.
Why would I want to do such a thing?

Well, in my mind,  I want to be perceived as a creative and wise person… someone who you can trust with your work, the color purple will create that effect. At the same time I want to be surrounded with an air of mystery, the color black is very good at creating this exact feeling, thus, I chose it!

Ideally this will help me reflect my talent as a wise and creative designer while leaving a hint that ( just like many artists and web people out there) I do protect myself behind some level of anonymity.

I know some people will argue black is a bit of an unfriendly color when it comes to presenting yourself, but I like it like that!

I’m a freelance web-designer, I don’t want everybody to like me straight away, but I do want to find people that truly respect what I do and want to do business in the long term.

Wisdom and seriousness seem to be the perfect attributes to gain people’s trust and respect. Plus, I also read this about black somewhere online and kind of felt it was exactly what I wanted:

Black implies self-control and discipline, independence and a strong will, and giving an impression of authority and power.


curved lines of straight lines bu matias berra


I knew that thin, straight lines tend to create a sense of refinement and professionalism, I also understood simplicity is a key factor when creating designs that hinted intelligence and remained pleasing to the eyes.

Then it came to me! My logo surrounded by some sort of geometrically sleek shape would definitely fit all those categories while allowing me to show my Brand clearly.

After drawing all sorts of shapes on illustrator, then I proceeded top lay with the alignment tool (which is one of the most useful tools in illustrator) until I got a shape I was happy with:


image about importance of shape in design

Shapes also carry a lot of meaning, thought the shapes I chose in the step before are quite geometrical and simple, I did also put a lot of thought into their making. Did you know that triangles and angular shapes imply a masculine energy?

And yes! You guessed it, circles and their curvy lines create a feminine feel…


Did you know that triangles and angular shapes imply a masculine energy? And yes! You guest it, circles and their curvy lines create a feminine feel.


In my case, being a creative and open minded person I must bring a sense of balance to what I am/ do, thus it wasn’t too difficult to choose 2 opposing shapes and aligned them together in some kind of geometrical ying-yang: when the circle and the square meet… kind of sexy I would say?


space gives meaning in design

We talk about how important simplicity was for my design. I want things to look sleek, clear and with a lot of ‘breathing room’.

Space is crucial for this as it allows us to control what the user or person sees, by highlighting certain bits, spacing others and arranging the scale of elements, we can direct the eyes of the ‘user’ to where we want their attention to be focused on.

My objective is for people to see what I can do and create enough curiosity for them to go see my website, no need to bombard them with information, I just wanted to give them enough of it so they can decide if they want to make the effort and contact me through my site.

After this though process I was ready to put these ideas into practice. I made sure the logo in the middle wasn’t so large that it would take attention away from my address il-mato.biz.

I added those addresses in both sides of the card to ensure is the most visible element, I also placed it upside down and highlight in 2 colors so that is visible in which ever way they store the card as well under black lights (the White highlights do this trick) where I meet many of my potential customers.

Finally, I made sure all elements are spaced in relationship to each other and aligned properly (must always align!)


importance of texture in design

I didn’t go for any visual textures in my design, I left it as simple and sleek as I could, though I will accept I was in a bit of a rush when I had to print these, so maybe in the revision I will include some awesome textures to make them even more appealable.

In any case, check out the mother-load of awesomeness when it comes to patterns and texture:



The Printing Medium:

Though I didn’t over worry about textures included in the design, I had to give some thought to the fact the texture of the material chosen would have an effect on the finished product.

Since I used so much black for my design I didn’t want to chose a glossy and shinny paper, instead I wanted something that would make my card look professional and sleek, I figured a matte texture would do the job.

Now, I’m certainly not an expert in printing, so once at the shop all I did was ask for their paper catalog and chose the one that felt sturdy in my hands, then I got a quick test print of the card (which I liked) and just like that I was ready to go!

The Final business card:

After applying all those principles, my inspiration and Brand colors I was able to come up with the following finished product, it’s certainly not perfect just yet, but it is a great start!

business card for il-mato.biz by Matias Berrail-mato.biz business card by Matias Berra

What will be improved:

So a big part of growing as a professional is to never stop improving, a few Little issues became clear regarding my design quite quickly after deployment…Here’s what I have learnt so far:

  • All text should be in White, the purple color I used  (though very visible during the day) becomes an issue to read in low light. It’s also worth mentioning that the White reads great in all bars and places with black light! Kind of makes my card look better too, so it has being decided the next generation will have White text.
  • Must pay more attention to paper quality. Turns out this paper, though seems quite sturdy, actually gets damaged very quickly on the corners making the cards look old and used.
  • Try colored paper for the sample. If your design has a lot of black like mine, it might be worthwhile doing a second version to be printed on a black paper. Though some adjustments will have to be made to the colors (as black paper affects how they look ), the end result might be slightly better. I will certainly print another version next time and compare the results

The design adventure continues:

So I have begun the long journey of the freelance man.

With nothing else than my knowledge and will to learn I will proudly walk this path until my destination comes to sight. I’m still not 100% where that is, but I do have a very clear idea of the direction I’m going, with a website, my business card and my business partner Ryan it feels like a very good start!

A big part of being online is sharing the experiences we encounter, I‘m hoping that as time goes by the things I do will become more and more useful to anyone who would like to attempt the same. Hope this blog becomes a good resource one day.

Will be back with more projects, ideas and just the general hassle of becoming an online nomad soon enough.

Great to meet you and let me know if you have an opinion! What’s your story?


About Matias Berra

Matias Berra is a WordPress developer and content marketing writer. Mat loves learning on the internet, creating content and finding awesome people to build meaningful projects with. Mat truly believes great ideas (and cooperation) will change the world for the better. Cryptocurrencies, diving and travelling are his passions.

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