Creative Insights: Jen Cushman

Do you MOO? Not like a cow. More like a marketing-savvy artist who's figured out how to make a statement by giving away adorable little half-sized art calling cards called MOO minis. MOO is a hip, online printing company that began in 2004 and has gained a loyal following of fans since day 1 of business. The folks at MOO decided they wanted to change their little corner of the world's $100 billion a year printing industry with a very simple, yet ambitious mission statement: "great design for everyone." Normally, I wouldn't be MOOved to give PR love to a printing company, but this seems like a good time to come clean. As a mixed-media artist who often finds myself in networking situations, I've become a MOO-devotee. I remember it well, the first time an artist friend of mine handed me her pint-sized business card with a detail shot of her work on the front and her contact information on the back. It was 2005 and I was attending an art retreat.  I looked at her card with wide-eyed wonder and asked, "Where did you get these??? I have to get me some." There are many things that make MOO unique, besides its clever company name. The printing quality is truly outstanding. Photos of my artwork look like mini-museum prints. They are printed on a smooth matte laminate paper that's 100% recycled stock, which makes them eco-friendly and virtually indestructible (my 2-year-old isn't able to rip them to shreds). But the absolute best part of MOO is "Printfinity" meaning that for no extra charge, you can have one image or 100 images per pack of cards ordered. As an artist, this is a cool tool in your business arsenal, a pocket portfolio if you will. I'm not alone. I decided to ask other artist friends of mine on Facebook if they MOOed and the question garnered 24 responses in less than an hour. Here's what a few others had to say:

"They are unique—people notice and take a step back when you hand them a MOO card in a sea of business cards. The way they feel is also different from traditional business cards," says Jennifer Priest

"The quality and the ability to have something different on every card is so valuable. (I use) MOO cards for important leads or as referral cards for clients because they are so proud to hand out cards with their pictures on the back," explains Portrait Photographer Amy Martell

My friend Traci Lampe, owner of the very cool Etsy shop, Radical Recykes, summed up what I was thinking about MOO without even knowing it. "We all knew we wanted to be different, but MOO helped us get there."

My MOO cards are special to me. I save them for art retreats, or to exchange with other creative friends. I like to give them to my students as a small way of saying thanks for choosing me. I use them as a way to display and sell my handmade earrings by punching two small holes in my cards to hang jewelry from. I've also made themed MOO-minis with random snippets from artwork to use a special gift tags. There are tons of interesting ideas that other MOO-devotees have shared on the company's website.  Check out the "Ideas" section for some more interesting ways to market your MOOs. Seriously now: Do you MOO?

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