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Newbie Advice: Get your business cards for GDC now

January 16, 2008

I have to order my business cards for GDC, again. I’ll click through about 100 designs before deciding I have to create my own (I do it every year, but it won’t stop me from doing it again this year). I use OvernightPrints.com. The card stock is much better than Vistaprint.com, and they have more printing options.

I put this under newbie advice, because it’s in the business card game that people hoping to get into this industry make themselves most loudly known.  How?

  • Self printed cards: Don’t do it even if you think you’re really, really good at it. The ink wears off eventually, and you will annoy the person on whom the ink rubs off.
  • No cards: These are currency at GDC. Have them. How many? I usually plan to bring 250, but panic and bring 500. As a newbie, 250’s probably more than enough.
  • Glossy backs: Don’t do it. People write notes on the back of your cards, and glossy backs make that impossible.
  • No identity: What do you want to do in the industry? Are you a texture artist, modeler, level designer or programmer? A card with your name, number and email address will be useless to me if I don’t know what it is you do.
  • Fluffed up text: If you were lead designer on a student project, don’t put “Lead Designer” on your business card. It makes people laugh, and not in a good way.

For information, I usually put my name, title, phone number, site and email contact. I’ve dumped my address since it takes up space and is not terribly useful. I may use the back for advertising-esque stuff that notes my experience and what I do as a contract game designer. We’ll see.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2008 5:29 pm

    Hello Brenda,

    My name is Edgar Gomez and I’m a journalist from Gamers Magazine, a publication with presence in North and South America.

    My topic this month is: “sex in videogames” (just like your book). I’m very interested in make an interview to you; of course if you let me.

    Unfortunately I’m almost over the dead line to complete the article, so if you accept I may send a few questions to you tomorrow.

    I’ll be waiting for your response.

    Edgar,

  2. January 17, 2008 12:03 am

    “…I have to create my own…”

    Sorry. I must have misread that.

    Self-printed business cards never turn out right. I’ve tried a couple of times and they never seem “professional” quality. I’ve seen other’s self-printed cards and they lack anything that resembles professionalism. So, just don’t do it.

    And I can’t agree more with the fluffed up text. Even if it looks good on paper. Most people use business cards as reminders of people so focus more on holding good conversations more than having a business card that says “Ruler of the Universe” on it.

    … although I guess that would be one way to be remembered.

    Good advice as always Brenda.

  3. January 17, 2008 1:36 pm

    I actually removed “game designer” from my card completely after my first or second year. I saw so many other students and “newbies” with it on their card that I decided that I would look better just leaving it off.

    Instead, I put on my card “Forward Thinker”which people found humorous.

  4. January 17, 2008 9:18 pm

    “Self-printed business cards never turn out right. I’ve tried a couple of times and they never seem “professional” quality. I’ve seen other’s self-printed cards and they lack anything that resembles professionalism. So, just don’t do it.”

    Unless you get creative. I saw one person last year who put self-stick Avery labels on a few packs of standard playing cards. He had this whole “pick a card, any card” schtick when handing out his cards. Hokey, perhaps… but it’s almost a year later and I still remember the guy’s name, so I’d say it worked.

    And you can bet he spent less on business cards than anyone else at the show 🙂

  5. January 17, 2008 9:35 pm

    @ai864 – I wonder how many of that dude’s cards get pitched, tho. If I have cards that don’t fit with the others, I usually read them and chuck ’em unless they’re particularly important. I do like his idea, though. It’s memorable.

  6. brianshurtleff permalink
    January 18, 2008 2:56 pm

    You usually do cover this to some degree in your classes, but perhaps for the benefit of the internet public you might want to make another entry on your opinion of what one should call herself on their card (their “identity” as you put it) if they are, in fact, just a student.

    Especially so as I hear a lot of completely conflicting advice on this.

    You mentioned above that you want to know what it is that they do, and often say that you and many others just toss cards that are obviously student cards.
    But that often crosses territory into the “fluffed-up text” – As Jeff said above, students putting “game designer” on their cards is kind of a newbie move, and it grates on a lot of people. Which, obviously isn’t good.
    Jeff and Darius’s answers of making up amusing identities (like Jeff’s “Forward Thinker” above) is an interesting choice, as it’s memorable – you yourself have commented that Darius’s “Generally Useful Guy to Know” completely worked on you.
    But at the same time – doesn’t that break your “I want to know what it is that you do” rule to some degree?

    Luckily, due to my summer camp teaching gig, I’ve been putting “Game Development Instructor” on my cards. It’s completely true, my real job title, and better than “student”. It’s an identity I also do try to play up in person, as networking on behalf of my company works better than just me networking as a student alone.

    But I remember before I had that job that trying to come up with what the hell to put down on my card as my identity was such a difficult decision due to all the conflicting advice.
    So, I think, as you’re apparently now an official resource for game dev hopefuls everywhere, your thoughts on this would be helpful to somebody out there.

  7. January 18, 2008 6:44 pm

    @brian – good point. I’ll post something on that for tomorrow. I think the key thing behind a business card is that it prompts other people to give you theirs, and in that, there is real value.

    brenda

  8. January 19, 2008 7:10 am

    Nice advice – I took similar advice from IGDA’s forums and Darius Kazemi’s website, although I used VistaPrints and made my own design up.

    I’ll see how it prints out, hopefully the background won’t be terribly looking but white on black is pretty clear.

    And I’ll see what people think of it and fix it up for next time if I have to 🙂 First time I’ve ever got cards actually.

  9. gmunster permalink
    January 19, 2008 1:45 pm

    Thanks so much for all of your help! I’ll be working on finding a template for a business card and all. And I would love to read another more in depth post about the title on a business card. I definately want to be memorable in a good way, so any advice is always greatly appreciated!

  10. January 21, 2008 9:59 pm

    Thanks for recommending OvernightPrints.com! I just got my cards today and they look pretty darn good.

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