Being a famous actor, Steve Martin’s autograph was in high demand. He came up with an efficient and humorous solution to this need by creating and handing out these hand-signed business cards, stating ‘This certifies that you have had a personal encounter with me and that you found me warm, polite, intelligent and funny’.
He only did this for a short period, however, they certainly made an impression and acted as a great keepsake for fans lucky enough to receive one.
From a design perspective, this funny business card is fairly straightforward and leaves quite a lot of white space. In fact, interestingly, it almost seems to lack visual design that goes against the norm when it comes to the creation of business cards.
He uses a basic italic typeface top-centered for the body text. The use of italics could suggest that he wanted to make it look and seem as though he was personally saying the words to the recipients, like a quote. It could also simply be to make it look more official, as he uses the words ‘This certifies that…’
The use of his hand-written autograph also makes the card look more official, almost business-like, even though the aim of the card is to be witty and amusing. This is where the card is quite smart; using an officially-presented form of communication to entertain.
This kind of approach to designing the card was perfect for what Martin was trying to achieve; exposure, time-saving and something nice for his fans. Using only a plain paper stock and one-colour printing he was able to produce the something effective in large quantities at very low cost. What added the value was hand-signing each of the cards himself which resulted in each card being entirely unique.
This is something quite rare and unusual in a world of mass-produced, identically printed business card designs. The cards are a well-remembered and appreciated part of Steve Martin’s career, thus making them incredibly effective.
Look out for the fifth and final part in the series coming soon: Mark Zuckerberg