I met Katie Crain while interning at Invisible Records in the fall of 2009. I had just graduated, and she was my first supervisor in the big city. I credit her with nearly everything I know about small business processes and organization. She's all about efficiency and clear communication. Katie currently works both in operations for small businesses and as an adjunct teaching undergrads about the music business.
A little over a year ago, we started discussing ideas for a fresh set of personal business cards. On the highest level, the project was simple; we needed a design that was reflective of her personality and organized skill set. Katie wanted something fun and considerate. In general, even with two target audiences (small businesses and educational institutions), this was not a complicated ask.
I had the pleasure of updating Katie's resume a few years ago. In addition to a References available upon request footer, Katie includes some quick blurbs from references in the resume itself. It's smart, simple, and gives the hiring manager a little something different to read.
Katie suggested we take the same approach with her business cards. What if we include a referral on the back of each card to remind new contacts why they were interested in her contact information in the first place?
Now, with this new ask, the separate target audiences become a notable challenge. Katie wanted a few different cards specific to each market, but it was also important that she wasn't fumbling around, trying to read each card to decide which one was appropriate to handout in any given moment.
Obviously, the solution was a full rainbow of business cards with some subtle color-coding (I didn't know until right now, but I've been waiting for that to be the solution to a problem my whole life.)
We ordered seven different business cards, each with a different feature color and set of referrals on the back. We used the color of her name and contact information to note the type of referral on the back, orange for education-focused referrals and green for small business. On any occasion, Katie just has to decide between orange and green when it's time for the swap.
A color-coded design solution for my personal organizational idol. Le sigh.
If you feel like you've seen Katie's name mentioned here before, it's because you have.