I get the idea everyone thinks I sit at home and paint pictures of cats—maybe someday, but what I really do for a living is commercial art which is largely graphic design. The idea of being able to design and produce a product the volunteers who TNR and rescue cats could use, and myself volunteering by using one of my skills, was just irresistible.
We usually think of business cards to promote businesses, but they work just as well to promote non-profit organizations and activities—including Trap-Neuter-Return and the rescue, foster and adoption of cats and kittens. The Homeless Cat Management Team and Pittsburgh C.A.T. do a lot of social networking, but a good bit of the work is done away from the computer, sometimes out on the streets with people who may not own a computer.
And with TNR and rescue, it may be impossible to find if a person is feeding a colony of cats or is responsible for a stray cat or kittens, or let a neighborhood know you’ll be trapping cats and kittens for TNR on a certain day. We can write down information and hand it out, but for people out there doing the work it’s much better to be able to hand something to a person you really want to have the information, or be able to leave behind something official-looking.
I was happy to be able to design and have printed business cards and doorhangers to help those out on the streets to carry out the mission of rescuing and helping cats, and informing and educating people. I could use my own photos from adoption events and visiting stray and feral cat colonies, and wrote the copy using information from websites, TNR information and my own experience. Because these items stand a good chance of being handled quite a bit, and are going to be used outdoors quite often, I chose a heavy 16 pt. stock for all of them and included an aqueous coating to help protect them in handling and in all sorts of wet weather—they aren’t indestructible, but they’ll last a good while. I hope having these things to hand out will make it much easier for those taking the time and making the effort to help cats to get in touch with people and spread the word about TNR, and both help our rescued cats and kittens find new homes faster and help recruit new fosters. (Note: I have my copyright on the designs for use on the internet, but the printed pieces do not have the copyright.)
Pittsburgh C.A.T. business cards
Yes, I used the most touching photo I had! At the Pet Care and Adoption Fair in June I photographed Michelle Longo, a friend of Pittsburgh C.A.T. co-founder Tarra Provident, loving on little Frodo who was trapped by Margo Cicci Wisniewski just days before. Frodo was trapped with one of his brothers but was markedly smaller but very, very friendly and absolutely irresistible. I had the opportunity to photograph many cats and people that day, but I managed to get a series of photos of Michelle and Frodo that I knew I’d be using sooner or later, and here the business cards provided an excellent chance. Michelle enthusiastically approved the use of her image on the card.
The front of the business card is modeled after the banner I’d designed earlier this year, which is also pictured further down in this post.
Homeless Cat Management Team business cards
This plump tabby cat is part of a stray/feral colony near me which is supported by HCMT through TNR and food donations. The caretaker feeds the cats behind her mobile home, and Margo has helped the woman TNR the cats, built a number of shelters for the cats and delivers food for them. One of the times I delivered food I couldn’t help but photograph as many of these robust felines, including the tabby on this card.
I love his expression—he’s waiting in front of the door to the shed where the food is kept—and I also liked the composition of the photo, the nearly monochromatic colors, the expectant cat, the wandering brown oak leaf.
All that makes it handy for adding text too, and being able to get a message to people without being able to speak to them is an important element of a business card. I pulled the mission from the website, and then also a statement I wrote about the humane treatment homeless cats deserve who’ve ended up there through no action of their own.
The front of the card includes the basic information anyone would need to contact HCMT. I wanted the card to stand out wherever it might be used, and I’d seen the logo used in an orange square for years so I started with that and decided if the entire background was orange the card would likely not be missed! In the center of the card is enough space for someone to write a name and phone number if they need to.
When I’ve been out canvassing a neighborhood for cats, even my own neighborhood, when I’ve found cats, when I see a colony of cats, it’s often not easy to find out if anyone is caring for them or knows anything about them. I’d also seen signage in the literature for TNR groups alerting residents to the fact that cats are being trapped for TNR. A business card is easily missed, but a doorhanger is larger, allows for more information, and can be attached to a door, gate, fence, tree, vehicle, or even a trap, and, again, that bright orange will be easily seen in most seasons. These are 4.25″ x 11″ and front and back have checkboxes for the most likely activities, plus the back has space to write a note if necessary.
Pittsburgh CAT signs and banner
Earlier this year I had the chance to design a banner and some table signs for Pittsburgh C.A.T. The signs are 12×18 and have an easel back to sit on a table at an adoption event. I knew I’d have to include a photo of at least one cat for total effectiveness, and who better than two typical-looking foster such as Bert and Ernie? I used two separate photos and put them together in Photoshop and sized them to fit the type.
When I had designed the banner, below, there was space for something more than just the basic contact information, and a slogan or tagline is often an effective complement to promotional materials. I came up with, “Rescued cats and kittens, fostered in loving homes” as a way to describe how Pittsburgh C.A.T. is organized, and that was approved by the group. Then when the signs came up and had a little more space, I added a little more copy about the cats and adoptions; in turn, I also used it on the business cards. The banner is 24″ x 72″ (2′ x 6′) digitally printed on double-sided reinforced vinyl that can fit on the tent header or on a table, and is grommeted at the corners.
I was happy to suggest these products, and I’m happy to be able to volunteer my services so that rescuers have materials that help them get the point across and persuade people of the importance of spaying and neutering all cats, and to help stray and feral cats.
Read more about my commercial art business.
Subscribe to my e-newsletter
Subscribe to The Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!