Business cards are a time honoured way of making sure that your details are in the hands of customers and potential customers. They’re very effective and very popular for good reason. They’re small. They fit easily in a wallet. The only problem is – they all tend to look the same. So, how can the humble business card be upgraded so that it can fulfill it’s function while standing out from the crowd (of card rectangles)? Well, just like any other type of design there is a whole world of innovative design dragging the business card into the 21st century.
The Humble Business Card
In the past few years, more and more businesses are trying to get more value from their business cards. While requiring their cards to provide the all important contact details, they also want them to make a statement about who they are and what they do. In pursuit of this ideal, recent times have seen the humble business card taken to all sorts of extremes.
There have been edible business cards, business cards that turn into puzzles and games and business cards printed on everything from balloons to elastic bands. There are also pop-up business cards with cut-out pictures of the owner of the card and business cards that look blank but are sensitive to body heat. The latter display their information once you rub them between your hands and make them warm. These thermo-sensitive cards may be high tech but they do seem like they might be a lot of work.
Two of the cleverest business card ideas, however, may be business cards that turn into boxes with the details – outside the box. And, my all time favourite, the American defense solicitor who encases his business card in a tiny wallet made to look like prison bars. You pull out his card (to get in contact with him) and – you’ve guessed it – you get out of jail – cheesy genius!
Other than these pretty outlandish cards there is also a move in 2012 towards cards that look like paraphernalia associated with the business they advertise. For example, a card that looks like a cinema or theatre ticket advertising – you’ve guessed it – a show. Or a luggage tag business card for a travel agent, a driver’s licence-shaped card for a driving school or a price tag facsimile for a shop, and so on.
Simple Elegant Design
The trend in web design in late 2012 and moving into 2013 is for simple, clean lines, more white spaces and uncluttered design. This same trend exists in business card design. ‘Keeping things simple’ doesn’t, of course, mean looking bog-standard and the same as everyone else, it just means not detracting from your message with clutter. It is still possible to produce distinctive cards that help you to stand out from the crowd without making a fuss.
Simple ideas like DJ business cards that reveal the contact info when you spin the tiny turntable on the card or eco friendly bamboo coated business cards that don’t tear or fade. The fact is that trends like elegance never go out of fashion. You can significantly raise the quality of a business card by changing the paper and type. Simple techniques like using embossed or etched lettering on good quality cards of different colours can be most effective and yet appear very simple.
So the message for 2013 is that business cards really do have the potential to make you stand out. However, you may want to think of clever ways to produce simple and attractive cards rather than cards masquerading as gimmicks – unless, of course, you are in the business of selling gimmicks…