How-To

Making Hand-Stamped Cards with Designer Isaac LeFever

Business cards are one of the first assets you create when you make your brand official. It’s self-validation that fits in your wallet. But more than likely, you have at least one box of business cards permanently stashed away from an old job or a bad print run. As we start making more contacts via Twitter, and stop handing out business cards with reckless abandon, we can be more selective about how they’re made. Even better, we can make them ourselves, whenever we need them.

Graphic designer Isaac LeFever made business cards for his company Nice Triangle entirely from scratch, with hand-cut paper, painted edges and a couple of Lumi rubber stampsHe wrote a post about his experiment and he's graciously shared some post hoc tips with us.

 Making Hand-Stamped Cards with Designer Isaac LeFever  Making Hand-Stamped Cards with Designer Isaac LeFever  Making Hand-Stamped Cards with Designer Isaac LeFever

Use a foam brush

On this round of cards, he painted the edges with spray paint. Since then, he’s found that foam brushes with acrylic paint actually allows for more control. Just don’t get too heavy handed with the paint.

Try heavy stock

In this run, Isaac used Musceltone 140 lb cover stock from French Paper Co. He predicts he'll get cleaner edges in the future with a thicker sock—200lb or higher.

Beef up your graphics

The natural textures of Isaac's fierce, feline logo are contained by a strong triangle, which works really well with stamps.

Our stamps can pick up small details, but for readability on small cards, it’s best to avoid those ultralight fonts. Isaac said, “Bolder designs seem to turn out better and look more like a classic stamped image.”

“The computer isn’t necessarily always the most efficient way to do everything.”

Embrace imperfections

Hand stamping lends itself to slight variations in impressions. Isaac says, “that’s part of the charm,” and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Overall, he's has really opened up his process by sticking to real ink and paper for as long as possible.

“I won’t even touch my computer for the first day or so after I finish the research phase of the process ... I think that using a pencil and a sketchbook activates a different part of your mind — kind of like when you were doodling in high school math class. I also think that all of the crazy possibilities and options a computer offers me can be distracting and actually interferes with my thought process.

In addition to business cards, Isaac is using his stamp to personalize field notebooks, business mail and fellow humans. You can design your own stamp for printing business cards and marking humans.

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