guest post by jill means: what the heck's a backer?

i'm so excited to introduce you to jill means, our guest blogger for the week! jill is the owner and designer of the customizable stationery shop brightside prints, and jillmeansdesign.com. today she's sharing the ins and outs of one of my favorite stationery features: the backer. more posts from jill later this week! - L

A "backer" is what's printed on the back of a flat stationery card. I'm a huge fan of printing on BOTH sides of cards. As a designer it gives me a lot more design real estate to work with and for the receiver of the card, it's like a little surprise on the back. Printing on the back also can be very functional since additional information, like directions, maps, websites, and special instructions can be placed on the back without compromising the design on the front. I've found some examples from some of my favorite stationery designers:

1. No Job too Small Business Card: Available on Minted.com
This card designed by Ann Gardner is pure genius. The front is a customizable business card for anyone in the repair/construction industry. The back is a ruler! Not only does it reinforce the message and industry of the client, but it is more likely to be kept around for it's usefulness.

2. Sweet Tidings: Available on PaperDahlia.com
I'm a huge fan of Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia. This delightful holiday card shows how the back can be used for a note, newsletter or personal message. It gives you the best of both worlds by combining the holiday photo card and the holiday newsletter. I do one like this every year!

3. Billows: Available at StaceyDayPaper.com
I love this personal stationery by Stacey Day. This design features very clean and simple front with lots of space for writing then complementing it with a more elaborate pattern on the back.

That's a huge advantage of printing on both sides. You can use contrast to your advantage. If you have a very simple design on the front, you can have a detailed pattern on the back or if you have a lot going on on the front, you can use something simple on the back like a solid wash of color or a full-bleed photo.

When I started Brightside Prints, I thought it would be fun to offer a backer with every card. And have it be complimentary! So that's what we did. We allow our customers to print a coordinating pattern, solid color, photos, or letter on the back of any card in our shop for the same price as a single sided card.

4. Here's a custom-designed birthday invitation we created. The client wanted to have a "2 of hearts" birthday party for her little girl that was turning two. We used the double sided printing to create an over-sized playing card invitation.

5. And, here is a little sampling of some of the patterned backers we've printed on our cards:

Jill graduated from Brigham Young University with a BFA in Graphic Design has worked as a graphic designer for over 15 years. "I worked primarily doing corporate design work; logos, brochures, advertising, etc. In the last two years I started dabbling in the stationery industry, getting my feet wet designing cards or templates for several companies. ...and I fell in love with it! So in May of this year I launched BrightsidePrints.com...a collaborative collection of hand-picked designers providing cards, invitations and announcements. I get lots of inspiration from my five children ages 5-14 and my husband Scott is the best sounding board for all of my crazy design ideas."

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