Okay, so my business card blew up on the internet last night. It climbed all the way to number 1 on Reddit, in fact! Here’s what I have to say in my defense to common critiques.
1) “Information Artist” is obnoxious and pretentious.
The first thing to clear up is that this is not a term like “code ninja” or “person who is actually just a front end dev who thinks he’s an artist.” I hate those people as much as you do. No, I probably hate them more.
This card is for my art career. This doesn’t mean the card is NOT obnoxious (art careers themselves are, by my definition, obnoxious), but it helps explain what’s going on here.
I do a lot of art work. I have a residency at an art and technology center. I exhibit my work around the world (*in fact, I’m exhibiting in NYC in a couple weeks!). I give talks at conferences. This is a serious title I give myself.
I will say that I have a difficult time pinning down exactly what it is I do, and “3d Information Artist” is the clearest way I’ve figured out how to do it. This is something I’m still working on.
As this card is for my new media art life, I need to cast a wide net. The tech art world is peppered with people who have never plugged in their own computer to people who code in assembly. While this is green-on-white console design makes me squeal with glee (as this redditor kindly mocked up below), I am not my intended audience. Museum curators, social media folk, internet art people… these are who I want to make a good impression on.
2) Well I’d never hire this guy!
I don’t give this card out to people who are looking for employees. I give it to people who have connections to arts foundations and organizations. If someone gave me this card and wanted to build my website, I’d also not hire this guy.
3) Saving XML as .txt file will make your computer blow up.
Okay, but seriously, yes, I agree with the overall cringy-ness of that idea. XML should be stored in an .xml file. This business card is old, and the newest prints of my card do have the proper extension.
4) “I use Vim!” “I use Emacs!”
Well, apparently even Notepad isn’t immune to this rage.
But seriously, who edits XML in Notepad? Who still hangs around in Windows XP?
I chose XP Notepad for this card because I feel that its chrome is the most iconic digital imagery available. It is the least likely imagery that you will see IRL.
If you’re wondering, in practice I use Textmate and E Text Editor. Also, I rock Windows 7 and OSX.
5) Notepad doesn’t have syntax highlighting!
Yep, I cheated. Deliberate choice. I mocked up a few cards that were all black and there was way too much visual clutter. I was more concerned with connoting information than I was about the degree of accuracy of medium.
6) Whoa leading and trailing whitespace! Are you trying to tell me that your name is “ Albert Hwang ”?
Fair enough. I will be honest that I didn’t realize this until someone put it on Reddit. Not sure how to resolve this…
7) XML? Why not Json / YML?
I was considering making a shit ton of different designs and letting people choose when I gave them out. Including Mac and Vista and …. and then I got bored with that idea and gave up.
This is XML because it is the strongest and clearest visual imagery. JSON is too cluttery for those who don’t know code, and YML too neat.
8) This is Photoshopped — no print shop would be able to make those cuts.
I did these cards myself. This is why the edging is so exact. The card in this photo more so than many, actually.
I did find a local print shop whose technicians I’m sure hate this “Albert Hwang” guy. The cards are no longer as exact as they used to be, but this is worth my time and money.
And now to stop focusing on all the negative feedback:
Thanks internet for making my day! My friend Amber Case who took this photo (and I believe who is the owner of the mysterious thumb in the photo) tells me the photo got
600k+ 700k+ views! Crazy! If you want one, sign up for my mailing list. I send out announcements on that thing whenever I travel or exhibit. If we meet in person, ask for a card!
And lastly, my absolute favorite comment in the whole Reddit thread is a description of what an information artist is, by Redditor MindBleach:
Someone clever enough to come up with this idea, but not thorough enough to ensure it makes sense. (permalink)
It is spooky how accurately this sentence describes my life these days.
Update: Source File, if’n you want to make your own.