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Jean Jullien’s Business Cards: The Journey of a Genius

It was the most spontaneous thing. I heard the news on the radio, and I had this heartfelt reaction. I wanted to draw something that could symbolize peace and solidarity, and I wanted something with the context of Paris. - Jean Jullien on his prolific work, 'Peace for Paris'

If you're an artist, designer or aficionado of all things visual, Jean Jullien needs little introduction. A creative tour de force, this French-born visual artist has set a new precedent in the design world with creations and concepts that have inspired an entire generation of young creative minds.

Now London-based, Jean Jullien is world-renowned for his depth of artistic talents which extends to photography, video, costume, books, poster art, and of course, business cards.

The artist at work. Photo by Daniel Arnold

Understanding the power, potential and untapped creative versatility of business cards, Jean Jullien teamed up with us to collaborate on a project to create, craft and materialize a small range of designs injected with a healthy, innovative dose of the artist’s signature style.

In the design world especially, a business card is a powerful tool that can create a lasting first impression. And more importantly than this, a business card offers a true representation of a designer’s work, showcasing talent, style and individual measures to prospective partners, collaborators customers or clients.

To demonstrate this very notion, ourselves and Jean embarked on a creative journey to develop a set of business cards that defied normality, experimenting with a range of different weird, wonderful and unconventional media - and the results, we’re proud to say - we’re sensational.

The ‘Jean Jullien’ design and printing process

Armed with his new series of business card designs, Jean Jullien worked in close collaboration with us to turn these concepts into a living, breathing reality.

Akin to some of the previous projects we’ve work on with Jean Jullien, we decided to employ a unique letterpress process to give the business cards an additional layer of depth and dimension - this mind-blowing die cut hand-shaped creation is no exception:

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

For this subversive and eye-grabbing design, we opted for an inset Gmund 600gsm Cotton, using a two-colour letterpress process. Germany’s Gmund Paper is an undisputed industry leader, celebrated for its uncomparable craftsmanship for hundreds of years - so it’s safe to say, we thought this material would be the best choice for the job.

The selection of our hand-picked Gmund 600gsm Cotton: the very foundations of Jean’s creation.

To give you an insight into the creative printing process of these miniature pieces of promotional art, here is a step by step guide showcasing the materialization of this ‘handy’ print for your reading pleasure:

1. We kick-started the process with the meticulous selection and mixing of the inks, beginning with a light flesh tone using Pantone 488u


The stringent process of pantone color matching: we match all of our colors according to the pantone swatch to ensure they are 100% precise. In printing processes like this, lighter colors are added to the design first, followed by darker tones.

Next, once the perfect tone was balanced and set, the ink was manually added to the press roller.

Jukebox uses vintage presses that have been carefully preserved to work at optimum capacity.

3. Step three of the process involved setting up the die. This process covered the creation of metal plates, with each plate being applied to a specific colour (in the case of Jean’s cards, two colours were used). The print was achieved one colour at a time, using the lightest shade first.

Setting up the metal plates for complete perfection.

4. Once the first colour passes were complete, a talented Jukebox letterpress operator examined the colour density and impression in great detail, making sure the quality was impeccable, and the detail crisp, clean and on point.

Letterpress printing requires precision, passion and niche expertise.

5. After the two flesh-toned inks were applied (one to the front and one to the back of the card) and the colour density and impression were signed off, the black ink for the text and hand outline was applied to the design. The pressure used to apply the ink was more intense than for the previous colours, thus giving the paper a true letterpress impression: deep but rich in detail.

The delicate application of the card’s first color (Pantone 488U), off to a flying start.

Pantone Black is getting applied to the press.

6. After all the inks were successfully applied, the next step was to die cut the cards and bestow them with their custom hand shape. More than their whimsical look alone, what makes the cards particularly special is that the die cut allows the fingers to be folded into a fun variety of hand signs.

Inspecting the letterpress Impression, registration and ink density prior to cutting.

The result of a superior die cutting process revealed.

7. The final step of the process involved painting the edges of the cards in a matte black to highlight their unique features and mirror Jean’s artistic style. This was achieved by spraying the edges in our specialist chamber with fine nozzles - genius.

The edge painting process unfolding.

A panoramic view of the final ‘handy work’.

The end result: a simple, effective and completely one-of-a-kind networking tool - and real conversation starter - that reflects Jean Jullien's distinctive work, vision, character and personality.

Jean posting his business cards on Instagram: a testament to the power of innovative business cards both as a physical and digital promotional tool.

Now, the next time you see a simple yet brilliant business card, you will understand the intricate process that has gone into making it a living, breathing reality - and that, our friend, is a beautiful thing.

If you want to create your very own unique piece of promotional art, explore our Inspiration space and get those creative juices flowing , Jean Jullien style.



About the Author
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Dan Huges is a bass player, content writer, fiction scribbler, and oddball tech enthusiast from the UK. Originally from the London area, he now resides in the wilds of North Staffordshire with his wife, Lynsey, and his son, Sidney. You can find out more about his on Twitter or by getting lost in his Catchy Space.