Back in September of 2013, I mentioned in a blog posting how I had hit a bit of a personal milestone and was now officially a ten year deep music journalist and photographer whose been pursuing this creative passion on a semi-professional basis. I reflected upon that day HERE for those that might need to catch up with the rest of us on the events and now that its past I am aiming the sights higher on both this and my PiercingMetal.com website and will keep these kinds of stories happening whenever possible. On that note it was just this past December that I realized I was super low on my business cards and that it was high time to get to ordering some new ones because they would be needed for the tasks to come in the new year. This is especially the case for conventions like February’s Toy Fair, the NY Comic Con in addition to all of the shows that I attend. As I scoured my creative command center for any additional cards that I had lying around to get me past the limited number I had left, I discovered some cards from long ago that I felt would be fun to share in a blog posting/reflection. Let’s begin with this visual of a full box of brand new cards from Vistaprint who I have been using for my cards for the past ten or so years.
Black Ace Band Logo Card: I’m rolling back the years for this one for sure and it is very possible that this was the first ever business card that I had with some kind of branding on it. Black Ace was a short lived band that I had not long out of High School with some talented friends and while we had a solid core with two guitars and myself, we always had a problem finding a bassist and vocalist. This however did not stop the ideas about merchandise being made along with a contact card for our “Big Future Plans”. We had a nice logo and one that was “allegedly” designed by a someone at Marvel Comics back in this bygone time of I think 1984. This was never 100% verified but its funny how the card only bore our name. No contact information or telephone number and since this was before the glory days of Internet, Facebook and Twitter that was all you had. Not the best move but we used them to hand out to friends and would scribble our telephone numbers on the back for those who we wanted to call us. This was a wise lesson about never purchasing band “Stuff” before you are actually really up to something. After this group ended I would join the ranks of the band Eclipse for a couple of years but there was never a business card created for this project. Honestly you really didn’t seem to need them at the time for this kind of stuff.
Machine Band Business Card: Machine was the first band that I was a member of that actually had a proper business card to help raise awareness about our brand of Metal. This kind of stuff was done from the very beginning based on common goals and aspirations and also having college coursework that lined out the importance of this stuff. The cards mostly were used in the press kits and around clubs if we met anyone who could broaden the reach. They weren’t generally handed out to fans as that was what the flyers were for. We came up with a clever identity for the mailing address (which you see as “The Parts Dept.”) and all the correspondence went to one of our guitar players family homes. All of this information is no longer relevant so I didn’t block out anything on the card. There were times when people thought we were some kind of service outlet but we only served up the Metal. Machine was a band that kept its merchandise very limited to shirts and cassette tapes and both of those items were sold without much markup over what they were costing us (not a wise decision when you look back on it but oh well at least everything sold out on a regular basis). There were stickers too but those were giveaways to a select few and mostly for our press kit folders and to leave on the bathroom walls of the clubs where we landed for gigs. Like I said these cards were for professional use while the flyers were for everyone. There was no Facebook or Twitter to follow in these bygone days. Twas a simpler time this.
The Metal Circus Business Card: Our next card fast forwards to when I was the NY Correspondent for a Foreign Country’s website. Thanks to a spur of the moment posting on a website that I liked about the band Nightwish, I was contacted by the founder of this other site and given the title of US Reporter with the plan that I would periodically send them stories about shows I saw or music I was listening to. This would be my beginnings as the music journalist as well so I was both excited and nervous as hell because I would find myself contacting label representatives to introduce my abilities and work with them. My good friend Joe Kaufman is a sleek designer and he created this cool card for my beginning adventures in this role. I was super green about it and didn’t have a lot of these cards in the first place so I gave them out sparingly. With most of the contacts I was making being on the other side of the country there was no need to hand a lot of them out which was a good thing. If I met club promoters or band managers during any of the concert adventures I would use the card. A small handful of friends got them but again since they were limited I wasn’t handing them out to every single person I met. I should add that this website was entirely in Spanish but once I started helping them out they would put my work on the bottom in English. I discussed these beginnings in a PiercingMetal posting that can be found HERE if you would like to read more about this time in my writing life. From The Metal Circus I would sign up with Maximum Metal and after them Sea Of Tranquility and while the SOT folks gave me a card to use for my efforts I could not dig up one of them from those times. I’m still very good friends with both websites creative leads.
PiercingMetal Business Card #1: When I launched PiercingMetal.com back in April 2005 I had to scramble to get business cards immediately because while I still had some SOT and MC ones, it was time for me to brave the Metal territory on my own and not give out a card with another website on it. That would not have been a good way to build up my own reputation. I did this one in Vistaprint and used a very similar style of card to my personal business card of the time. I only order a couple of hundred as I was going to ask Joe to work out something awesome for my new media identity. The first card had my mailing address on it along with the telephone number used by the outlet and this would be the only card with that address on it. This was a clean design but it was one of the companies staple offerings and that meant you could meet anyone in any industry who was using the same exact style and color scheme as you were. I liked this card enough but was looking forward to having a more unique one for my site soon.
PiercingMetal Business Card #2: This card arrived not long after I had gotten down to only a few dozen pieces of the first ever card and as mentioned would be done by my friend Joe Kaufman who did my “The Metal Circus” card. Joe agreed with me that the address should be omitted from the card and that the means to be reached left only to the phone number and site email address. Obviously this would have our logo presented with prominence and my title for the outlet very visible on the card but that was it. It was handed out with abandon to just about everyone since I wanted to really sell the brand now that I had an ample amount of cards with the name and website on it. After using it for several months I began to realize that I really wasn’t letting anyone know what this was all about and what was to be found on the site. I would ask Joe to modify this version ever so slightly and once these were done would begin using the next phase in my Metal Media Empire’s card. After all I didn’t want people to think I was doing piercings instead of journalism.
PiercingMetal Business Card #3: The 3rd business card for PiercingMetal.com used its rather bold “New York’s Definitive Metal Resource” statement right below the logo and this line is actually encoded into every single one of our PHP and HTML page templates. A tad brazen perhaps but considering how I focused my approach I felt it worked out and Metal is about getting some attention after all. This card found some additional and very needed information added below the logo such as Event Calendar and CD, DVD and Concert Reviews. Now when someone was handed a card they would know what the outlet was all about but if they needed to reach me they would have to use the email address since the telephone number was removed from the card. I was glad to list information about the calendar because it was really something that I was proud of and was a very popular part of the whole presentation. I was on the fence about listing any of the Social Networking links on the face of the card because while we still had a MySpace Page for the brand that medium was slowing down and I didn’t trust Twitter yet and had no Facebook Page that was dedicated to our happenings yet. With that being the case the little space above my email would for now remain blank. In time the blank space would begin to annoy me visually and oh yeah oddly enough I would be asked on several occasions if I did piercings after handing out this business card. That amused me because now it actually specified the site content while its predecessor did not. Oh well.
PiercingMetal Business Card #4: With the latest card being ready for 2014 I felt that I had addressed a few things that needed some attention and the first was a slight change of the offerings to be found on PiercingMetal.com; The reviews hold the top spot and stress that items about CD’s, DVD’s and Concerts are to be found in our review sections. Yes I also review Books and Special Events on occasion but I didn’t want this line to go across the whole card. On the second line I asked Joe to make Blog the first item to see because my PiercingMetal Musings Blog was really getting some nice attention over the last few years and deserves its moment in the sun with a reference. It would be closed up with Photography and Event Calendar since these are two other massive areas of focus on the website. I kept the bold statement in place and if you look carefully at the logo you might notice a little “tm” at the top corner of it. That’s a trademark symbol in case you didn’t know that and yes it means that the PiercingMetal brand is now a trademarked entity in the US territories. My telephone number remained off the card and was replaced by my websites Twitter handle and the hope was that it might spark some followers to that account since its pretty much my activity at the very moment. Yes the site now has an Official Facebook Page but I would rather have readers be interacting with the Twitter and being directed right to the website from that as opposed to spending time on any of the other tertiary mediums.
The image seen below was planned as the opposite side for the card above but when Vistaprint said that one side would have to be matte finish and the other glossy as opposed to both being glossy I scrapped the idea since I was not sure how it would come out. I was concerned that the ink would bleed too much since there is a lot of black in my layout on these cards. Before this posting there were only a choice handful of friends who had ever seen this before and who knows perhaps I will put it into production when I get around to needing a 5th business card. I do love this photo that was taken by my good friend Skeleton Pete Parrella and mostly because it was a happy accidental perfect shot for this whole adventure and I’ve referred to it as my “unofficial press photo” since having it snapped.
After I pressed “order” on the new cards (the PiercingMetal Card #4 to be precise) I felt a great sense of accomplishment in the final design on it and looked forward to the agenda items for this still brand new year and all the adventures to come. One of the biggest plans for the year is the redesign of the site into WordPress to make the reviews side the same as the Blog side. It’s going to be a process but the change will be great for the brand and its long overdue. When the new cards arrived I looked at them again and realized where a couple of things could have been changed to some different phrasing but I will leave that disclosure for another day because as you can see by the photo below, I am going to be using these cards for a very long time. There are 5,000 of them in there and I’ve already decided that these will be used primarily for business engagement and not to casually hand to fans at the shows. Those parties will instead be directed to our social networking mediums on the spot. I hope you enjoyed this posting and by all means tell me about your own business cards as I’d be interested in hearing about them. Thanks for reading.