Illustration that packs a punch in the post

3rd November 2009 by Anne-Marie

Freelance life can be tough. Long gaps between commissions. Accounts departments who just can’t seem to find your invoice. Not to mention the ever-present need to get your work seen by the people who count.

Jonny Wan, a freelance illustrator from Sheffield, knows all about that. A graduate of the Manchester School of Art, he’s constantly striving to ensure his unique illustrative style (think abstracted facial expressions, patterns, symmetry and hand-drawn lettering) snags the attention of creative directors everywhere – and he does so via Business Cards and Postcards from MOO.

MOO first caught his eye at his university degree show, where he noticed that all the students’ cutest promo materials were produced by the same company – MOO! Then we tempted him with a free Business Card sample, giving him a chance to try our ordering software (“simple, logical and gives the user complete control”) and evaluate our print quality and finishing (“very pleasing”). Duly hooked, Jonny ordered a set of Postcards and some Business Cards featuring a range of his work, and is preparing to send them off to art directors as we speak.

As an illustrator, working in a visual medium, presentation is very important to Jonny. “I like to make little promotional packs of my postcards and business cards”, he says. “I send them out packaged in self-seal clear bags. It’s good to put real thought into how the art director receives your promo materials – it’s boring to just whack some cards in an envelope.”

Like many creative types, Jonny’s happiest when he’s working, even between commissions. An example of this is his self-initiated “Can’t Afford It” project. Whenever he wants an item of clothing he can’t afford, he draws it instead! Eventually to be self-published as a book, working like this helps him improve his work rate, hone his Photoshop and Illustrator skills, and keep his unique style fresh and ever-evolving.

No matter how his style develops, MOO’s short print runs means that his promotional materials are always in step with his latest work. “As an illustrator, your style is always changing and improving. The last thing you want is to end up with a thousand cards of the same design. You need to keep existing and future clients up to date with your freshest, latest work, because essentially they will hire you based on what they see on your promo material. It’s no good for an art director to commission you only to find that your illustrative style has changed or moved on.” He laughs. “After all, you wouldn’t be happy buying a Jay-Z CD to find a Metallica disc inside, right?”

When designing his cards, Jonny also took advantage of a new feature that allows users to upload images for both the front and the back of the Business Cards. “Anything that gives you more options allows room for creative control – and it’s that kind of flexibility that keeps me coming back to MOO. The ability to upload images for both sides of the Business Cards enables you to make the cards completely unique.”

“A business card is usually the first point of contact between a new client and an illustrator, so it’s important your card jumps out at people while being straight and upfront with your contact details. The fact that the cards can be individual rather than generic also gives a sense of professionalism – people can be impressed that you’ve put the effort into designing your own cards. A little effort can go a long way.”

Jonny’s constantly thinking of new ways to promote his work using MOO products. “I love the Stickers – I can see them being a very unique selling point. They’re a little different and unexpected, which is beneficial in an industry where everyone strives to promote themselves in a unique way.”

MiniCards appeal to him for the same reason. “MiniCards are great because they get straight to the point and don’t take up a lot of space. Art directors get bombarded with samples every morning. They open their mail and have to make snap decisions about what to keep and what to chuck.”

“They’re more likely to pin a MiniCard onto their noticeboard than, say, a leaflet, because they know it won’t take up a lot of space. And if your work’s on their noticeboard, they’re more likely to bear you in mind when it comes to commissioning. And that’s what it’s all about!”

Thanks for talking to us Jonny! We look forward to seeing more of your work soon.

Like Jonny’s work? He’s available for commissions so get in touch, and say hello from us too.

Comments (7)

  1. Janine:

    Fantastic Artwork-Johnny really has a memorable style!! He’s right about being bold and clean on the information on your cards. People here in Massachusetts, USA LOVE my mini cards with bold images of my jewelry on the front and simple information on the back. Im inspired to order stickers now -maybe I can use them on my packaging. Thanks MOO!

  2. Janis:

    I love these ideas…please share more of them…I am thinking of ordering the stickers to place on the back of envelopes as seals…

  3. Tiffany:

    I feel the same way, being a jewelry artist myself…MOO cards help me to show people exactly who I am, what I create, and the lovely work I can offer them.

    **cool illustrations Jonny. very cool…

  4. Bnito:

    Great ideas ! I’ve just send postcards printed by MOO to some Art Director’s but I think that making a little package with postcard and business card in a nice enveloppe is a good idea. Thanx MOO for the great job !

  5. Leslie:

    Thanks for all the tips. Self-seal clear bags…what a great idea!

  6. Janis Foley:

    I am absolutely in love with my MOO business cards! I’ve always been one to love small batches of cards because I can never decide what I want or I have too many that I’m in love with. I can’t wait to try the stickers! ♥ Keep the ideas coming! Thank you!

  7. Roxann Souci:

    Your marketing ideas get an A+++

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