As long as the need to give contact details to strangers still exists, business cards won’t be going anywhere. However, not all cards are created equal and there are some real shockers out there. Here’s our round-up of the best examples, along with some design tips.
1) BDH Millwork – use what you’ve got
Your business cards needn’t be expensive to look good; often the constraints of a smaller budget result in more creative solutions. Take cabinetmaker BDH Millwork as an example: to make the most of a tiny budget, the designer came up with a stamp that could be used to transform any offcuts of wood into business cards. The result is a cost-effective business card in the most appropriate material for a woodworker AND a clever way to reuse waste materials.
2) Sawa Takai – reflect what you do
The goal of a business card is to communicate who you are and what you do. While colourful, witty or experimental cards may look great (and give designers a chance to show off), if these additions don’t serve the purpose of communicating your brand then don’t touch them. These business cards for Sawa Takai, which subtly mimic a garment label, are perfect for a fashion designer.
3) Jean Jullien – think outside the rectangle
Ever returned from an event with a handful of almost identical-looking business cards, all the same size, shape and paper thickness? One way to stand out from the crowd (who clearly all bought their cards from one of those websites flogging five million for a fiver) is to choose a non-traditional shape. Business cards don’t come more creative than Jean Jullien’s, which offer a literal handshake introduction and can be folded to produce all sorts of expressive gestures. While unusual shapes won’t work for every brand, they suit an irreverent illustrator down to the ground.
4) Mylene Poisson – add finishing touches
Making your business cards by hand is the sort of chore that only design students have time for (I almost set fire to a laminator doing mine). To achieve the feel of a lovingly handcrafted business card the lazy way, consider adding a finish by hand; think inks, watercolour washes or stamping. The key to making this look professional rather than pre-school is moderation. For an elegant and understated example, look no further than sommelier Mylene Poisson’s business cards, where a hand-printed red wine ring ensures no two are the same.
5) Lego – 2D or not 2D?
Who said business cards need to be flat? Lego executives (humans who work at Lego, not a new minifigure range) carry the business card of every child’s dreams – their own Lego doppelgänger, complete with contact details printed on its back. Sure, when someone hands you one of these business cards it might not fit into the little slots in your wallet, but there’s no way you’ll lose it or forget which company they work for.
6) Manic – work those words
A lot of the content on a business card is non-negotiable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the copy. Please don’t go full Innocent drinks with your text (this is my businessy-wisnessy card) or include that avant-garde Haiku you’ve been working on, but feel free to inject a little personality into it. These examples from Manic are top of the pack in my opinion; a little bit of self-deprecating humour and a memorable, conversation-starting detail are all it needs.
7) Brisbane Chiropractic Clinic – have fun
You want people to hang on to your business card for as long as possible, so when they remember ‘the guy they met at that event’ your contact details are close to hand. One way to extend the lifespan of your business card is to make it fun and interactive, the sort of thing you’d keep on your desk. Don’t go gimmicky, but if you can find an interactive element that fits with your brand, you’re onto a winner. This chiropractor’s business card with popping bubblewrap has really cracked it (pun fully intended).
8) The Counter Press – lovely in letterpress
If your business card has to be as stylish as you are, think about using artsy printing techniques like letterpress. These beautifully crafted cards from print experts The Counter Press are the sort of work that makes other designers cry with envy. Using an old-school print technique might cost more, but your business cards will feel of infinitely higher quality – and whoever heard of style coming cheap?
9) Aris Sklavenitis – tell a story
Yes, it’s another wine-related business card. No, I don’t have a problem. At first glance, Greek wine expert Aris Sklavenitis’s business cards might just look like they’re made from recycled paper, but the paper is actually made from grape stems collected from the vineyards of Paphos. You can’t ask for a better connection to place and process than this.
10) Amperian – use the rainbow
Your business cards don’t have to be identical, so why not try mixing it up and printing some variations for your set? Wedding brand Amperian has done this really nicely with its differently coloured cards. Each uses a combination of two colours from their palette, resulting in endless variations as unique as the wedding you’d hope for.
We really love a business card challenge, so if yours aren’t quite hitting the mark – or you’d like to inject more personality into any part of your brand – do get in touch.