Apples for Jam business cards

Friday 8 May 2015

Apples for Jam is a boutique gallery and kitchen in Melrose in the Scottish Borders, run by the lovely Lorraine. Lorraine has been selling my letterpress printed cards since February this year, so I was delighted when she asked if I could design and letterpress print a business card for her.

I’m often asked by new clients how the process of commissioning design works, so here is a behind-the-scenes look at the process involved for this project.

Stage one – Scoping costs

Before doing any design work I produced an initial pricing for both the design and printing elements of the project. At this stage the print prices were based on a standard production specification (standard business card size, on a standard paper stock, with one colour print) at a range of quantities.

It is important to scope out costs for both elements of the project at the beginning since a different production specification will affect the cost of printing the project, as well as the design. It also helps to prevent any nasty surprises later on in the process when you have a design you have invested time and emotion into, but cannot afford to print.

Stage two – Design

Once Lorraine had approved the initial costs I began work on the design. I wanted to reflect the style and feel of Lorraine’s Gallery & Kitchen. Apples for Jam is clean and contemporary in style, but not overly modern or hard. The shop fascia is a soft green with gold lettering, and inside the space is light and airy.

As a typographer I like to begin designing with the typographic elements of a project. I also have a personal preference for designing in black and white to begin with. I find that this helps both me and the client avoid being distracted by colour in the early stages of a design and focuses on shapes and typography.

I created a small selection of designs to show Lorraine, all of which used serifed type, but in slightly different ways. This helps me to gauge my client’s preferences for how simple or designed they would like their project to be. Each option was presented on a design sheet with notes about what I had done, and why.

Stage three – Design revisions

Lorraine chose a design using lowercase for Apples for Jam, but asked for this to be amended to all uppercase to reflect the design of her shop fascia. Armed with this feedback I made some small revisions to the design to accommodate this change. Lorraine also revised her email address at this stage.

Stage four – Colour

With the structure of the design in place I was then able to add in colour. After showing lorraine various paper swatches and ink combinations she decided to reflect the shop fascia colours of soft green and gold in the ink, and to use a neutral coloured paper stock.

I produced two alternative splits for the colours, and also a version in black and gold so that Lorraine could see how that might look. The gold and green tones that Lorraine selected were similar strengths of colour, so it wasn’t necessary to make any adjustments to the design to compensate for one colour being stronger than the other.

Stage five – Final costings

With the final specifications in place I was able to produce revised costings for a two colour business card using gold and a custom mix green ink. Again, I produced costs for a range of quantities for Lorraine to chose from.

Stage six – Production

With final costings approved and a quantity chosen I ordered the materials that I would need – paper, custom ink and two printing plates (one for each colour) – and began production.

And here is what Lorraine has to say now that the whole process is complete:

I really liked Sarah’s cards which I sell in my shop and I was delighted when I realised she could help me with my new business cards, I had initially done some myself online as I needed them at short notice but they were very bland and generic. I had thought that it would be too expensive to get someone to design something for me but actually it was not nearly as costly as I had thought.

Throughout the process Sarah kept me fully informed and was able to take on board all the details that I mentioned and also to bring some great ideas to the cards, I don’t think I could ever have designed the logo or made it reflect my gallery and kitchen so well. Meeting with Sarah personally definitely helped initially but after that the actual design consultation was easily done via email which really helped and I am absolutely delighted with the final outcome. My new business cards truly represent the feel of Apples For Jam that I am trying to create and are a really beautiful and unique statement which I will be able to use throughout my business.
Lorraine Gibson, Apples for Jam

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