Last month I wrote a blog post asking whether I should include my pen and ink self-portrait on my Green Comma business card. I got a lot of positive comments on the blog and Facebook, mostly pro self-prortrait. But in private the tide began to turn against including it on the business card.
First I got an urgent-sounding voicemail from my father–“Hil, I don’t think you should put the portrait on your business card.” Some other people complimented me on the portrait but hinted that it might be better for other online uses. They didn’t want to say anything negative online, because they loved the portrait, but they just weren’t sure. Then over dinner at Church Brew Works, an experienced designer friend helped me work through the issues.
In the end I decided not to include the portrait, and here are my reasons.
- I enjoy doing business with some larger businesses and organizations (Universities, museums, etc.) and would like to expand those relationships. Having a self-portrait on my business card might make my business seem more boutique-y.
- Green Comma Media is a solid business name. Having the self-portrait confuses the brand identity.
- Though I’m clearly the owner of Green Comma Media, the name is open to any number of collaborators or employees. Having the self-portrait shrinks the business. (In a similar vein, there are many who advise against calling yourself a “freelance________,” in the belief that it may make your business seem less serious.)
- Though I do some pen and ink illustration, I focus on animation and other media, and the portrait gives a limited view of my style.
I’m still glad to have created the self portrait. It’s now my avatar for my business email and twitter account, and may come in handy for other uses in future. But for now, my business card is keeping it simple and focusing on the green comma.
One final thought: Though I decided against the portrait, I’m very thankful to have a supportive online community who focus on the positive–thank you!
Also, let me know if you need a business card–I have 200 to get rid of 😉