If video killed the radio star in the ’80s, you’d think the internet would have wiped out business cards by now. With easy access to company websites, social media, and online networking groups, it’s fairly easy to seek out other professionals in your field, with the exception of celebrity CEOs. As the world continues to turn more digital, how have paper cards wiggled their way into the future?
Well, we think it’s because they’ve evolved into something bigger than a medium to share contact information. A business card nowadays is a tangible thing that highlights the tone of your company — whether fun and quirky, serious and professional, or just plain delicious. We went through a stack of business cards we’ve been handed over the years and selected five of our favorites. Here they are, along with some tips and tricks to make your business cards look so good, Patrick Bateman would kill for ’em.
Ice Cream with a Hot Concept
When you’re in the business of selling ice cream, you have one key advantage — just about everyone loves it. The smart folks at Snoqualmie Ice Cream thought to put their dreamy flavors front and center. “Our cards embody the perfection we strive for in every pint of our locally handcrafted ice cream, custard, and gelato,” said Nick Beerman, marketing manager.
Why it works:
• The flavors included are a combination of Snoqualmie specialties. From left to right are French Lavender, Mukilteo Mudd, Danish Vanilla Bean, and Cascade Mountain Blackberry.
• Photographer Will Alan captured that perfect moment in time when ice cream is starting to melt but is still ice-cold and freshly scooped. Yum!
• The simplicity of the design and the subtle colors give the impression of natural flavors and organic ingredients.
Take a Creative Route
Hashtags aren’t the only cool tags being shared these days. Visit Bellevue, the city’s official destination marketing organization, uses a die-cut card in the shape of a gift tag. Marketing and Communications Manager Sharon Linton says she always hands out her card with the colorful side up to see how people react before they realize it’s her business card. “Then they flip it over looking for my contact information and say something like, ‘Oh, I love this’ or ‘What a great card.’”
Why it works:
• Visit Bellevue chose an on-brand color; cards also come in blue and plum.
• While shaped like a tag, the card is a standard size.
They’ve Got the Beet
Jujubeet makes artisan juices and wholesome meals in Old Town Bellevue and beyond. Its friendly and colorful logo of a happy beet is a nod to the company’s organic and plant-based whole foods. Using only three colors, this card is bright and inviting, just like its co-founder and owner, Bianca Szyperski.
Why it works:
• Rounded edges and a smooth surface make this card easy to slip into wallets.
• Never underestimate the quality of white space. Less is more.
• Highlight the focus of your card with one accent color.
Simple with a Colorful Twist
W Hotels are known for getting adventurous with modern design. These W Bellevue cards take a minimalist concept and add a fun twist — a hot-pink edge. In a stack of cards, W Bellevue stands out like a neon sign. “I like them because they reflect the personality of W Hotels as they’re bold, vibrant, original, and never boring — just like our guests,” said Brooke Wilson, marketing manager for the Bellevue hotel.
Why it works:
• The hot-pink edge adds a subtle pop of color that makes this simple card anything but boring.
• The glossy silver adds texture and shine.
• The logo may be small, but with all the white space, it doesn’t need to work hard to get noticed.
Get in Character
Kelice Penney makes adorable, furry monster toys for kids (and some adults, too). To go with her brand, she needed a card that stood out. She had a friend draw the blue monster on the front based on her Sasquatch-head plush design. But the thing that really makes this card stand out is the bite mark in the right corner. “After searching for a while, I found a printing company that had the bite mark as a business card feature. I think a lot of bakeries also choose that option. With a company name like Careful It Bites, it had to be done!” she said.
Why it works:
• The monster was drawn by an artist and friend of the owner.
• The bite mark is the perfect addition to this creative company — unexpected and clever.
• The monster is front and center leaving the maker’s contact information more subdued, that way you know this company’s focus is on entertaining and delighting its youthful clientele.
Don’t Do This
Everyone wants a business card that stands out. But standing out as a nuisance doesn’t leave a good impression. Here’s what not to do.
Odd Shapes: They may seem clever, but really, they just don’t stack up well with other cards or fit easily in wallets or card carriers meant to accommodate more traditional card shapes. Avoid squares, thin rectangles, circles, and oversized cards.
Too Busy: If you pack your business card with too much information, it’s a burden on the eyes. Relax; people will get what they need with a few numbers and an email address.
The Dark Side: If one side of your card is a dark blue or black, it’s hard for you or others to jot down a quick note if the need arises. Be sure to include some white space.
Break the Code: Let’s face it: QR codes were a good idea, but no one really scans them. Instead, opt for a business-specific hashtag, social media handle, or simplified website address so clients can see what your business is all about at a glance.