Taking an Internship After Graduation: Pros & Cons

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Once you’ve got your diploma in your hand, you’d think the hard part is over and that finding a job should be a breeze. Unfortunately, for many newly graduated college alumni, landing a dream career in their field is way harder than planned. Many are now turning to short-term internships to help the transition. However, there are some major pros and cons with doing an internship after graduation. Here’s the breakdown to help you decide if an internship is right for your post-commencement plans.

post-grad-internship

Pros

The biggest pro is that you’ll be working. Sure, you may not be making much (or anything, if it’s an unpaid internship), but a job is a job, especially if it’s a foot in the door of a place you’d really like to work. You’ll be able to put this experience on your resume, which could really improve your application if you didn’t work while in school.

While working, you’ll get your name out there. It’s said that most of the jobs are filled less by traditional application and more about face-to-face networking. If you’re able to score an internship in your field with a prestigious or growing business or with working under someone “in the know,” you could really benefit from the experience.

Internships are also a great idea if you’ve had a change of heart. For example, let’s say you are a graduate with an art degree but you have decided you don’t want to be a professional artist after all. While it may be too late to change your major, you could move into a new field by interning right after college. Instead of taking on a job you do not like, interning at a museum, as a digital designer, or in marketing could get you the relevant experience minus the degree.

 

Cons

We hate to say this, but it’s important to remember that most internships are unpaid. And unlike college where your tuition covered your room and board, you’re going to need to make some cash to pay for your apartment or to put food on the table. You’ll also have student loans coming due soon after you graduate, so you cannot forget to budget for that.

Interning life is expensive, and even if you get a small stipend, you may need to take on a second job to meet all the rest of your expenses. So on top of trying to impress your bosses at the 9-5 gig, there’s a real possibility you’ll be pulling double duty at a night job and still only make minimum wage.

Internships also mess with your schedule. Instead of having time to apply around for an actual, paying job, you’ll be busy behind a desk as an intern. Because many internships require a timed commitment, such as a three-month contract, you won’t be able to get out of your work without burning some bridges and it reflecting poorly on you in the future. So what an internship essentially does is delay the inevitable — the application process.

 

 

To Intern or Not to Intern?

When deciding if your next step should be an internship or not, there are a few major things to consider.

For one, can you afford it? Living with or getting assistance from your parents may ease that burden. Secondly, assess whether you will you have time to continue your job search so you’re not in limbo.

By solving or relieving those big negatives, you can take advantage of the opportunities interning has to offer recent grads.

Seniors: Now’s the Time to Fix Up Your Resume

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Seniors-College-First-Job-Resume

For seniors everywhere (as well as anyone looking for some cash over the summer), the job hunt is about to begin. But before you even think of putting in an application or making some cold calls to your network, you’ll need a new resume to give out to potential employers. If you’re unsure where to start or how to update your resume before graduation day, here’s what you need to know.

 

The Format

Resumes will vary based on the job you are applying for. For example, an accountant’s resume will most likely be formatted differently from a teacher’s. And if you’re applying for a federal job, you’ll need a special one on top of that!

It’s best to know your industry’s standards by finding other successful resumes in your field. Your college will, most likely, have copies on hand for you to view from alumni. Another option is to use a downloadable template to help guide you through step-by-step.

 

What to Include

With your template or plan ready, it’s time to fill in the blanks. Start with your education since that’s the easiest part. You’ll want to list the year you started, your anticipated graduation date, your major, and then any academic awards or honors.

Then, move to what should make up the bulk of your resume — your professional experience. Do your best to list all the jobs you’ve held down, whether it be a fry cook at a fast-food restaurant or manning an information desk at a student office. This all counts and shows your responsibilities. However, you most likely want to avoid listing small jobs like the occasional babysitter or the time you worked as a part-time camp counselor for a week.

If you don’t have much in terms of experience, don’t fret! It’s not too late. Experience can also include volunteer activities (such as working at a food kitchen regularly or organizing a church event) and your extracurricular experiences that put you in the field. This includes internships, a working study abroad, or an activity that served a professional purpose (putting on a concert, working at a campus radio station, etc.). All of this can be done in your final semester if you’re willing to put in the work.

You can continue to “bulk” up your resume by adding skill sets, licenses and certificates, activities and honors, and any language you may speak fluently.

 

Rules of Thumb

Like we said, not all resumes are created equal, but there are a few things to consider in terms of a general resume:

  • Your resume should either be a full page or two full pages. Avoid lots of white space or overcrowding. Do not go over two pages unless it’s a federal resume or a CV.
  • Under each experience list three to five bullet description of your job written in past tense (unless you’re still working there). Keep this number consistent to each job.
  • Have a friend proof-read it. Seriously. Even the best writers make mistakes!
  • Speaking of friends, have another friend look at it for 15 seconds and ask what they remember. This is usually the most time your interviewer is going to consider your resume, so it is important to know what stands out and what doesn’t.
  • Save your resume in several different formats. PDF is most common. And give it a name that is easy to identify such as “AlanSmithArchitectResume.”
  • Don’t be too bold, but don’t be afraid to step outside the box. Your resume will most likely be printed out in black and white, so color doesn’t matter too much. And a strange format can throw off. What does impress is something clean cut and easy to read.

 

With your resume ready to impress, you’re ready to hit submit. Good luck, and happy job hunting!

Student Spotlight: Isabelle Ecker Jewelry

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Isabelle Ecker Jewelry

This month’s Student Spotlight features Isabelle Ecker, who realized her passion for crafting jewelry at a young age. Over the course of two years, since her line was officially developed in 2014, Isabelle has built a strong brand of fine, handcrafted jewelry. Here we discuss how a pre-teen with a love for jewelry built a mini-empire for her line, and what she contributes to her success – from her coursework and mentor support at Tyler School of Art at Temple University, to various networking and business opportunities.

Isabelle Ecker Student Entrepreneur

Identifying Her Passion and Following Through

“I started making sterling silver jewelry back when I was 13 years old. After I made my first silver ring, I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life,” says Isabelle about finding her passion. Before even attending college, Isabelle took part in various workshops and classes to better understand the craft. Isabelle explained of her pre-college training, “I attended weekend workshops at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia as well as Tyler School of Art.” While not many business owners find their niche before college, attending workshops, events, and lectures that seem interesting can put you one step closer to finding what it is that really makes you tick.

For any high school students preparing for college, interning or volunteering is a great way to explore different career fields, and add an impressive touch to any college application. Isabelle remembers, “I worked with a [local jeweler] for many years, even through college, who taught me many things. Working with him has definitely helped create the business and jewelry line I have now.”

Through various workshops, classes and an apprenticeship, Isabelle was able to reaffirm her interest in crafting fine jewelry. “I started selling my work when I was 15 years old. I figured I could do what I loved, [by] making my own designs and then selling them! What could be better?!”

Isabelle Ecker Jewelry Cuff

Balancing School with a Starting Business

Isabelle enrolled in Temple University’s Tyler School of Art for Metalsmithing/Jewelry/CAD-CAM. As far as developing her line, Isabelle says “Tyler helped me well; giving me the understanding of conceptual art and using those concepts in my work. They have a high end studio and well-educated professors.”

Because she was able to apply her personal business goals and fit it into her coursework in studio classes, Isabelle found that it wasn’t as much of a challenge to balance school with the business. In fact, she saw it as a great opportunity to network and learn as much as she possibly could to apply to her personal business venture. “I learned many additional skills, easier ways to go about things, and how to create production pieces through their Productions Class,” she says.

One challenge Isabelle faced, however, was the focus of the program. “They really focus on CAD-CAM, a computerized way to make something which you then 3-D print. I personally like to build with my hands.” Despite this, she was able to apply her teachings in the classroom, along with a drive to continue handcrafting pieces on her own time, to launch her collection.

Isabelle Ecker Jewelry

Developing the Line

It took countless workshops, hours spent as an apprentice, and coursework at Tyler School of Art to prepare her to officially develop her jewelry line in 2014.

Once the collection was in motion, Isabelle was excited about all of the opportunities her brand had to grow. “I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do! I did lots of practice tests, practice pieces, until I got it exactly the way I wanted it to be,” Isabelle explains.

“I worked with a very talented graphic designer to create my logo, business cards, sign, and website. I was all ready for my debut show at Ambler Arts Festival! It was a nice turn out ‒ not the best show income wise, but you learn shows vary.” That being said, a slow first show didn’t halt Isabelle’s passion for fine crafted jewelry or her ambition to grow her brand. She explains, “The following year at Ambler Arts Festival, it was one of my best shows. So never give up!”

The Melt Collection was one of Isabelle’s first lines. “My Melt collection was inspired by melted pieces I made when I was 13,” she explained. “Every piece is different; and I even enjoy hearing customers’ interpretation of what they see.”

As her business and craftsmanship grew, she built on other lines. Isabelle explains, “My Pebble Collection has grown so much. All cast from wax into silver or gold, using Lost Wax Casting. The newest addition to this collection is my cast in place gemstone pieces. The stones are placed in the wax and go through the whole casting process. Very few jewelers do this because, one it has to be done properly, two it sometimes doesn’t work and becomes time consuming, and three it takes a lot of practice. Each piece comes out slightly different so each one is a one of a kind: ‘OOAK’.”

Isabelle Ecker Jewelry Cuff

Success and the Future of Isabelle Ecker Jewelry

For her business, Isabelle imagines, “I see my company doing more craft shows, high end shows, home jewelry parties, office parties.” She intends to further her brand’s reach by attending craft shows all around the country.

For her business, she also sees internal growth. “I would love to find an assistant business manager to help with PR and everything the job comes with. I probably will have a few more jewelers in the studio with all the orders and inventory that there are.”

In the future, Isabelle hopes her brand will be available to an even wider audience. She says, “Getting my work into galleries and jewelry stores would be the next step, possibly even wholesale.”

Isabelle Ecker

Advice for Other College Students Looking to Start a Business: Network!

Isabelle explains of her venture, “I absolutely love my job, I am very grateful for my parents that have supported me and continue to do so throughout my venture.”

For those who feel inspired to create a business while in college – whether it’s something you’ve been passionate about since 13, or a recent realization or business opportunity that excites you – there are many things you can do to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

We all have heard about the importance in networking to find job opportunities, but it is also especially important when hoping to start your own business. Networking was also a great part of what drove Isabelle Ecker Jewelry’s success. For one example, her school had a field trip to the American Craft Council’s Baltimore Show in order for students to view other artists’ in the retail and wholesale businesses. By attending this show, Isabelle was able to learn from and network with established jewelers. “I took the opportunity to talk to as many people as I could, ask them questions about how they started, the challenges they face with this business, and if [they can] make a living selling their work. I got my answers, and I also met a fabulous artist who offered me a job assisting her at her upcoming show.” Networking with others in the field you are seeking to enter is not only enlightening, but a great way to make connects and find potential business partners.

Networking doesn’t have to be your standard meet-and-greet format or suit-and-tie formal event. Be proactive in building our own network. Isabelle recommends, “Look up people who have already started a business near you and apprentice or intern with them. You learn a lot more by doing.”

Some may feel that reaching out to others in the field they wish to start a business in is a tricky move – particularly if you see these people as competitors, or are afraid of having your ideas stolen. However, when done the smart way, you can make lasting mentorships and learn far more than you might handling your business ideation privately and alone. “Advice I give everyone: ASK QUESTIONS! Talk to people! You don’t get answers if you stay quiet.”

Finally, Isabelle offers up a solid piece of advice: “I’d say to never give up on your dream.”

 

Learn more about Isabelle Ecker Jewelry at http://www.Isabelleeckerjewelry.com/ and be sure to check out her Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/Isabelleeckerjewelry/

Why You Should Write for a Blog in College

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Write for Blog in College

Do you have a lot on your mind but not enough ways to say it? Do you love talking to your friends about fashion, food, relationships, and more? Is the written word your best friend and your laptop always by your side? Then blogging may be for you! Starting your own blog or becoming a trendsetter blogger for sites like OCM is the perfect way to put your passion into words. We love blogging so much that we had to list out the top 7 reasons why you should write a blog today.

1.    You’ll Establish Yourself

Here’s a secret you may not have considered: having your own blog can actually land you a job. No, seriously! A blog about your future line of work that documents your classes, your readings, your observations can actually show how committed you are to your work. And, if you want to go into writing, having a blog can attract clients and publishers. Think of it as your very own e-portfolio!

2.    Blogging Makes You Smarter

Practice makes perfect, and that couldn’t be truer for the art of writing. Even if you struggle to get out a good sentence or have issues with grammar, just committing yourself to a paragraph or two a day in your blog can make you a better, more confident writer. And we all know that having writing skills is a must for college students.

3.    You Can Go Anon

Maybe you want to blog about something sensitive, say your relationships — have no fear! With a blog, you don’t have to put your name to it like you would a status update. Instead, write about what you love and care about without much fear of getting it traced back to you (as long as you blog safely and don’t give away too many personal details). 

4.    It Can Make You Some Money

Making money from blogging is a tough road and requires a lot of hard work. But there is money to be had for those willing to really grow their readership outside their friend circle and build relationships with businesses. Some clients even send you free items to review or will pay you to attend events!

5.    It’s a Free Way to Express Yourself

College students juggle a lot of hats and take on so much stress. With a blog of your own, you can get it out there and talk about what is really important to you. You can address the hard topics or keep it light and airy. Eventually, after writing for so long, you’ll develop a style and story that is all your own and true to yourself. 

6.    You Can Set the Trends

Pinterest-loving, DIY-happy, OOTD-wearing bloggers are always wanted, especially over at OCM. That’s why we’re excited to open up our awesome blogging program for new writers who want to be first and at the front of what is trending. Just imagine that your writing may be affecting what is on the runway next year!

7.    It Helps You Stay In Touch

Finally, don’t forget that a blog, unless private, is made for an audience. Those readers may be your friends from high school, your family curious about college life, or a cousin living on the other side of the world. Your writing reaches the people you love and gives them a glimpse into your thoughts and day-to-day better than an email or text here and there ever could! Blogging with those you love in mind makes the process so much more exciting and purposeful!

 

If you’re a college student, high school senior, or academic professional looking for a unique writing opportunity, you’ve come to the right place! At OCM, we’re always accepting applications from those interested in joining our team of Trendsetters.

Parent’s Corner: Talking to Your Kid about Getting a Job

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Parents: College Kids Getting Jobs

When you get that first college tuition bill for your student, there is bound to be a bit of sticker shock attached. Every year, the cost of getting a degree rises at nearly every school. While scholarships and outside funding are available, finding that elusive full-ride is harder than ever. That is why many parents will sit down this fall and talk to their children about the importance of getting their first job or paid internship. Here are a few tips on how to discuss working in college with your student.

What You Need to Consider

Before you talk, it’s important to understand the other side of the picture. For example, are you sure your student’s schedule can actually accommodate a job? Many take a mixture of morning, afternoon, and night classes throughout the week (and even some weekends), making it hard to find a job that caters to that crazy, changing schedule.

Another aspect you should consider is what your expectation of their grades is. It can be hard to balance activities and work normally, let alone when your first priority is going to school full-time! If your child is struggling, this may not be the time to encourage it.

Finally, it’s important to understand their personal academic and career goals. Do you know what your child wants to do with their degree after graduation? This can give you an idea of jobs that may be worth their time and efforts or if they may be more suited for an internship. For example, a future teacher might benefit from tutoring, rather than doing fast food work.

Make It Worth Their Efforts

Most students get that jobs = money, but they may not be aware of the other benefits. For example, if you see an opening for a job as an animal tech, your veterinarian major may not understand how great it would look on their resume or may not see it as a way to network. Casually discussing this can be a great way to bring up the job conversation naturally.

If the goal is to get an internship, don’t forget to discuss the benefits of a paid versus an unpaid and which one is right for them. Encourage them to speak with professors or to an advisor if they’re unsure, and introduce them to a former college student if you can. Hearing it from outside sources can inspire them to act.

Lend a Hand

It can be intimidating to search for a job, especially with resumes and interviews. If your student did not work in high school, taking these unknown steps can be scary and a test of confidence. You can help out by offering to assist by proof reading their resume (or pointing them towards someone more capable), helping search job sites, or brainstorming work around town they can take on.

At the same time, be very careful not to overstep or take over. If you do too much, they may be tempted to let you do all the work without taking ownership. Or, on the other hand, they may lose interest and forget about it all together. It’s a fine line to walk, so be sure to check in often.

Be Honest At All Times

This isn’t the time to hold back. If money is a major concern, especially from your perspective, this is the time to open up. Tell them of your concerns and the reality of the situation. At this point in their lives, they should be able to understand and hear you out.

At the same time, let them talk honestly with you. Listen to their concerns, and help them think through their worries. Balancing jobs and student life may not be easy, but with your help and encouragement, you can make the difference in their decision.

How to Start a Business in College (Tips + Infographic!)

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Start a business in college

Ask the founders of Reddit, ModCloth, or even Insomnia Cookies – there’s no better time to build your brand than as an undergrad! Your college campus is the ideal place to brainstorm, produce, and promote your million-dollar idea. If you’re serious about getting your feet wet as a young entrepreneur, this is the best chance you’ll get to learn and experiment. We’re ready if you are. Here’s how to turn your biggest, scariest, and wildest daydream into a real-life business venture.

Develop Your Ideas & Think it Through

Map Out Your “Big Idea”

What need(s) are you looking to fulfill? What makes your product or service unique? How will you conduct business? Grab a notebook and pen and go to town jotting down notes about everything, from your offerings to your key demographic, staffing structure, and promotional ideas. The more detail, the better!

Immerse Yourself in the Industry

Before you decide to dive in, research the market. Identify your competitors, and make note of what they’re doing right, and what they could improve upon. Read up on the industry, and weigh the opportunities vs. risks involved in getting into this line of business. Be sure to check out blogs, magazines, and other outlets where you can keep up with news and learn from the professionals!

Do Your Homework

Put your electives to work by signing up for classes that will help you build your business. Use class time to learn the ins and outs of finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, and more! Doing so will also put you in touch with teachers and students with similar interests, and those connections may prove valuable as you work towards your business launch.

Give it a Name

Narrow down the list of possible names for your business, products or programs to pick the best option(s)! Before finalizing your choice, make sure the appropriate copyrights, trademarks, and social media handles are available to you.

 

Transform Your Concept into a Business Opportunity

Write a Business Plan

Don’t skip this step! Apply the template you learned about in class to your own business model. Get clear on your mission statement, revenue streams, and 3 and 5-year plans. By affirming your goals and the methodologies to achieve them, you’ll be ready to answer any questions and think through any roadblocks.

Seek Advice from Your Professors

One of the greatest advantages to launching a business in college is the resources available to you – none more important than faculty! Attend the office hours of appropriate professors to share with them your ideas and ask any questions related to their academic field. Make it your goal to find a teacher you really hit it off with, who can serve as your advisor. He or she may even become a lifelong mentor!

Structure Your Support Team

If you intend to venture into solo entrepreneurship, seek out a community that you can turn to for advice and inspiration – be it in person or online. If you want to build a team, start thinking about who you want to work with; what positions or skills are needed, and where to find your future coworkers.

Prioritize by Planning & Scheduling

It takes a whole lot of time and effort to turn an idea into a reality, and as an undergrad, you no doubt already have a lot on your plate. Schedule time outside of class, internships, and campus activities – every day or every week – to continually work towards your goals. Set deadlines every step of the way and hold yourself accountable to them.

 

Secure Finances & Take Care of Legalities

Get Serious about Funding

There are so many different ways to secure the cash to launch a new business: you can apply for a loan, seek out investors, submit for grant consideration, try crowdfunding, or simply ask a family member to lend you some seed money. Do your homework in researching all of your options to determine which is best for you!

Determine Your Legal Structure

Assuming you want to make a profit, you’ll need to dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Decide whether you’ll be operating as an LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, or use another type of business structure. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to register your business name and register for state and local taxes.

 

Prepare for Launch

Develop Your Product or Service

This is where the magic happens. Press play on your business idea and find and utilize the resources you need to create your prototype or prep your service offerings. Forge important partnerships and test your product or service as a way to acquire feedback and insights before the grand unveiling.

Create a Website

Have some official space on the Web where friends, family, and potential customers can find out more about your business. Build your own site, or simply create a no-frills landing page or official social media account where you can share news and interested parties can get in touch with your team.

Use Your Student Status While You Have it

Make the most out of your undergraduate position by taking advantage of campus resources and student discounts. Consider what perks you may need in the future that make sense to get now for cheaper, like electronics, business cards, and other printing services.

 

Present Your New Business to the World

Confirm Payment & Delivery

Have a Point of Sale (POS) system in place so that you can collect, process, and organize orders for your new offerings. Ensure revenue is deposited into the right account, physical or digital delivery methods are in place, and that you are able to obtain all customer information required for a smooth and successful transaction.

Generate Publicity

You can’t be the only one excited for your business to launch! Reach out to the editor of your school newspaper and other local outlets with a press release announcing your new venture. Implement some creative guerilla marketing tactics on campus or seek opportunities for promotion online to get the word out about your business.

Celebrate Your Start!

An event is the perfect occasion to show loved ones what you’ve been working on, as well as to generate interest and secure your first clients or customers. Whether a grand opening party, media night, or just a party with friends and family is most appropriate, it’s important to celebrate your hard work and imminent success!

Start  A Business in College Infographic 

Every great entrepreneur needs a designated space to work, play, and recharge! At OCM, we’re dedicated to serving college students with dorm room essentials and campus gear that is “Guaranteed ‘til Graduation”. We’re in the business of making your dorm or apartment look and feel as stylish, comfortable, and productive as possible! For more helpful tips, advice, and resources on making the most out of your time as an undergrad, visit the OCM Blog at www.ocm.com/blog.

 

Tips for Creating & Designing Business Cards in College

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Business Cards

When you think of business cards, you probably think of older men in business suits handing out little white cards to other older men in suits. But having business cards doesn’t require you to have a business! In fact, it can actually help you land your first job or meet your next boss! Having a business card in college can open tons of professional doors that a piece of paper with your phone number on it simply can’t. Ready to make your own? We talked to four college entrepreneurs on what their top tips for designing and creating business cards in college to get you the scoop.

1. Taylor, founder of Fur Sure Dog Care: “Don’t make the business card too flashy or cluttered. Only put relevant information with a simple, clean design… Keep it professional and simple.”

Taylor gives one of the best pieces of advice when it comes to the overall look of a business card: less is absolutely more. Your name, your college, your major, and two methods of contact are all you need. Anything else is just overkill.

2.  Stephen Soward, Co-Founder and COO of Campus Insights “Having a business card is valuable because it allows you to make a professional first impression and take the first step towards a longer-lasting relationship. It’s important, however, to not wait for someone to reach out to you if you give them your business card. You should take the initiative to follow up.”

A business card is only the beginning of the story. You’ve already made a very serious impression on the person you gave your card to, and if they took it willingly, that’s a good sign — but now is the time to act. Wait a day or two (or wait for the weekend to pass) and send a follow up email reminding them of who you are, how you met, and your conversation. This will get the ball rolling all over again.

3.  Riley Soward, Co-Founder and CEO of Campus Insights “The most important information to include on a business card is your name, email, phone number, and LinkedIn URL. You get bonus points for including a QR code or if your card has a uniquely memorable design.”

Tech can really help your business card flourish. By starting with the LinkedIn page or portfolio website, your card can be a place to show off your resume with just a catchy link or URL name. But if you really want to wow or make it easier for those new contacts to find you, create a free QR code and add the design to the back of your business card. It’s impressive and memorable while also being a great way to show you’re willing to go the extra mile.

4.  Anish Aggarwal, founder of Top Tier Learning: “I’ve always believed that a business card should convey both the purpose and personality of the company.”

Less is usually more, but that doesn’t mean your business card has to be dry and stodgy. In fact, depending on your major and the career you want to go into, you may want to toss a bit of yourself into the mix. If you want to be a social media manager or graphic artist, for example, don’t show up with a dull, boring handout. On the other hand, business majors or those in more rigid career fields should consider traditional over ultramodern designs. Black, navy, gold, silver, and gray are good starter colors. You can add an extra touch by getting cards that are heavier in material, have a different texture to it, or that have features like gold inlaid lettering.