Graphic Design in the films American Psycho and The Grand Budapest Hotel

Business card scene from the film American Psycho

It’s an iconic scene in the 1999 film American Psycho.

Investment banker Patrick Bateman and his equally narcissistic colleagues sit at a boardroom table comparing business cards.

But the cards themselves? They‘re downright awful.

Let’s talk about Graphic Designers working in the film industry for a second. They read behind the lines of the script, creating multiple versions of ephemera. If a character has to rip something, they’ll produce enough for the actor to shoot the scene multiple times.

Plus, they need to be good spellers.

Take the pink Mendl boxes in the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. There’s a spelling mistake in all of them. They printed 3,000 boxes with ‘pâtisserie’ spelt incorrectly (fixed in post-production).

But we digress. Let’s review the business cards in American Psycho:

•  There’s too much space at the top and not enough at the base
•  The margins aren’t equal
•  There’s the same spelling mistake in all the cards (Acquisitions should have a ‘c’)
•  The typefaces are bland and the kerning (spacing between letters) is abominable
•  The centred text isn’t really centred
•  Patrick’s card has an additional mistake – there’s a missing space between the ampersand and the Mergers text

Business cards are physically small. But size doesn’t mean you should ignore their potential.

They say a great deal about you, and are often the only reminder of your business after you’ve meet a potential client, supplier or contact.

As the saying goes, there’s only one chance for a first impression.

Make it count.

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