How to make the perfect exhibition take-away

Stay in the minds of potential employers and commissioners with these seven print self-promo tips.

We've explored how to put on the perfect exhibition in just a week. We've even covered how to photograph your work in the best possible light and how to boost your images in post-production.

But it's no good putting on an outstanding exhibition of your design and illustration work if, a week later, nobody remembers your name.

The best way to keep in the minds of the people who count – design studio head honchos and commissioners looking for fresh talent – is by providing a take-away.

Berlin-based illustrator and graphic designer Elfriede-Lilly Friedeberg used letterpress for her business cards

You need to give exhibition visitors something to take back to the office to remind them of who you are and how they can contact you.

So what makes the best business card or freebie? Here are seven tips for making the perfect exhibition take-away…

01. There's no substitute for a take-away

The first rule of take-aways: they're not optional. "Don't think for one minute that scribbling your mobile number on a napkin will do. It won't," warns Professor Lawrence Zeegan at the London College of Communication.

02. Use a bold image

"The simplest and best way: have an image on the front and your name, email and number on the back," says Outline Artists' Gavin Lucas. "Choose one of your boldest images. If a card just has some contact details, I end up trying to scribble down descriptions of the work on the back."

03. Ensure the info is accurate

Make sure you include all relevant contact details. Yes to: your email, phone number, website and active blogs or social media accounts. No to: misspelt links or tweet-less Twitter accounts. Get someone else to proofread. Twice.

04. Don't break the bank

Your take-away needn't be anything too extravagant or expensive, says Jon Cockley at Handsome Frank. "A free risograph print, pin badge or even just a clever business card will make sure people remember you after the show."

05. Stay relevant

"The most memorable take-away I had was a re-skinned Kit-Kat," says Oli Bussell, a designer at The Partners. "All the contact details were on the wrapper," he recalls. "But it's not worth doing something quirky just for the sake of being quirky. If you're doing business cards or take-aways, they should relate to your work."

06. Aid to memory

"It needs to jog people's memories. Otherwise they'll look at it one month later and not know who you are," says Oli Bussell. "Have a selection of different cards and ask people to choose the one that speaks to them most. By making a choice, they're involved in the process and more likely to remember you."

07. Supply and demand

Don't bankrupt yourself with a print run of thousands. You don't want to run out too quickly, either, so don't put them all out at once. "Ration your business cards," advises illustrator Sarah Maycock. "Otherwise they'll go the first day."

Words: Anne Wollenberg
Image: Elfriede-Lilly Friedeberg

The full version of this article first appeared inside Computer Arts 241, on sale now.

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