Making of my mini zine business card

I am attending a few gamedev and non-gamedev events this month and I decided to make and hand a different business card this year. After attending BIG Festival in São Paulo/Brazil and meeting some great people and games this week, I thought it would be cool to write a ‘making of’ of my business card, due to the positive feedback I received from people during the event.

This is an unusual topic for me to write because, heck, I am not even a graphic designer or illustrator, what could one learn from it? Hopefully, something :)

The business card

First of all, the finished business card:

MinizineBusinessCard01The finished business card.

Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine?

From the pictures above, you can notice that the business card is not ‘the regular one’. While I do have a formal business card that I have been using for some time, this one is actually a mini zine disguised as business card. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘zine’:

“A zine is a handmade magazine or mini-comic about anything you can imagine: favorite bands, personal stories, subcultures, or collections.”

Taken from the book “Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine?” by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson.

Inspiration

Having a career as software engineer/game programmer and teaching related subjects as a professor, I get the impression that people tend to forget that I can really enjoy arts and handcraft stuff :)

MinizineBusinessCard02Giving digital a break (one of my first attempts to bind a sketchbook).

So, yeah, I like technology and tech stuff but the right side of my brain also wants to be fed from time to time. And usually it does not want to consume manga stuff. I know there are plenty of great stuff in that genre and I like some dozen works, but even though I am a Brazilian born Japanese and have the same surname as Naruto’s creator, the art style (and storytelling) that I like the most are very different.

If I had to pick up a couple of publishers so you can have an idea of what I like and read, I would definitely say Drawn & Quarterly and Fantagraphics. But I would also have to say that there are many zines of known and not-so-known artists, many found via graphic novel anthologies, Etsy, Storenvy, Carbon Made and so on.

MinizineBusinessCard03Some zines from my collection.

Most zines I have uses staples to attach the pages together, but ‘Chicago’ from my friend Batha (see picture above) was the first one that I saw that uses one sheet and one cut to create an 8-page zine, which is the method I chose for my business card.

Planning

I already had an idea in my mind of what I would like to include in the mini zine but I sketched the thumbnails so I could visualize it on paper. In doing so, I noticed that the page where I mention my personal games would be better to appear before my company, so the last thing the reader would see inside the zine would be my company info. Not only that, but the page spread would make more sense.

MinizineBusinessCard04Thumbnails for the mini zine.

I also numbered the thumbnails so it would guide me by the time I would draw the pages.

Drawing

The drawings were made on one A4 75 gsm sheet, folded and cut as an 8-page mini zine.

MinizineBusinessCard05Drawing only the pages that would have drawings.

In this first pass, I only drew pages 2 to 5, since page 1 would be filled with a stamp, page 6 with my company logo, page 7 with a blurred image and page 8 with my website URL.

Drawing was done using a 2B pencil and final artwork using Micron 01. After that I scanned the page and brought the image into Gimp.

Side note: I always use the following scratch paper that I numbered some time ago as a reference when I create 8-page mini zines.

MinizineBusinessCard06Reference for 8-page mini zines.

More drawings

After checking the scanned image in Gimp, I redrew myself for page 3 since I did not like the first drawing, wrote the details that would go in the whiteboard in page 2 and lettered ‘NDA’ to put in page 7.

MinizineBusinessCard07Second pass of drawings.

Digital composition

With everything in digital form, I started making the final composition in Gimp, scaling down the drawings, repositioning and rotating elements, and so on. The idea was that the mini zine would be printed in A5 instead of A4 size.

I painted all strips with a light grey and added white to places that should be highlighted. The only exception was the first strip from page 4, which has a gradient background and some vertical lines, using some manga language.

In the first version of the card I added black lines like most comic strips but removed them during the printing process, as they were not matching the paper folds (something I have to work for the next batch of cards).

MinizineBusinessCard08First version of the mini zine: only drawings, light grey/white and black lines.

Then I added texts above white rectangles with rounded corners, some game screenshots, my company logo and a QR code (created using http://goqr.me). Some parts near the borders were cut/scale down after print tests.

MinizineBusinessCard09Final version of the mini zine.

Printing

After the mini zine was digitally done, the next step was to print it in A4 paper, cut in half (each A4 paper resulted in two copies of the mini zine), and fold and cut each half to assemble the mini zine.

MinizineBusinessCard10Mini zine printed.

Stamping the cover

The final step was to stamp the cover of each copy with a rubber stamp I created some time ago.

MinizineBusinessCard11Rubber stamp and tools I used to create it.

Rubber stamping was another source of inspiration. Unfortunately, rubber stamping is too boring in Brazil (or I might not be looking at the right places); the only ones that I see are those ‘date’, ‘paid’, office stamps or birthday, kids and ‘grandma’ stamps that lack personality. Nothing compared to Japan, where you can find really cool rubber stamps everywhere (really, everywhere).

Side note: if you ever go to Japan, you can create your own ‘Collect rubber stamps’ side-quest!

MinizineBusinessCard12‘Collect rubber stamps’ side-quest in Japan.

MinizineBusinessCard13Me me me. All mini zines with stamped cover.

Final words

MinizineBusinessCard14Handcraft and its imperfections.

It was very fun to create this mini zine business card. A few times I thought that it could be somewhat risky to use it, since it is more informal and handmade (hence it has lots of imperfections).

At least in the first event I used it, people seemed to like it and did not mind the imperfections. Most of them told me ‘it is cool!’, ‘might be hand-made but easily remembered’, and ‘very creative!’, so I think for some events I might use it instead of my ‘regular’ business card.

If you know other people/companies that have similar business cards or that do not follow ‘standard business cards’, please share in the comments below! I googled to check if there were other examples and could only find Will Blanton’s.

Thank you for reading everything and I hope you enjoyed it!

PS: Maybe next year I will have an smartphone app disguised as business card or start handing out floppy disks with my info inside. Who knows :)

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