They may seem like relics or leftovers from past generations that didn't give two figs about the environment or modern business practices. But business cards are not only still used, they're also useful.
They can serve as a new contact or client's first look at your company, as well as a reminder that stays with them long after you’ve left the building. Yet amid the rush to brand a business in more sophisticated ways, entrepreneurs often neglect this elemental tool.
If you're nervous about harming the environment, you can use recycled paper. Or, you can be like Scott Hamlin, the founder of the innovative Portland, Ore., upcycling company Looptworks, who reuses old cards by stamping his company's logo and contact information on the back.
Either way, don't forego this inexpensive opportunity to brand both your business and yourself. For business-card design ideas, we pulled together 20 cards that stood out among the fray, along with reasons why they work or not.
What have you done to jazz up your business cards? Let us know in the comments section below.
1. Mark Zuckerberg
While this technique might be effective and considered funny for a famous young billionaire, such brashness isn't recommended for the entrepreneur that hasn't made it yet.
2. Warren Buffet
You don't need to say very much when your company's stock price is well-north of $100,000 per share.
3. Richard Nixon
If you're famous, or like to think you are, try an autograph. The personal touch goes a long way.
4. Clark & Kent Advertising
When you have a Super (Man) name, why not have fun with it? This card pops up into a phone booth. It is perfect for changing into your game face.
5. Victoria Vaughan
This card is bloody memorable. The designer is passionate about her work and has obviously poured blood, sweat and tears into making it great.
6. Divorce Attorney James A.W. McMahon
Divorce isn't necessarily a laughing matter but this card is. Both sides provide all the contact information in case it's Splitsville.
7. Broke Bike Alley
Informative and practical. This card does it all.
8. Google Me
This clever take on Google's search functions will have people searching you out. However, we aren't sure how Google feels about other businesses cashing in on their brand identity.
Who doesn't like a funny guy with a beard that turns into a box? It's easy to display.
10. The Stylist
The comb says almost all you need to know about this business.
Show, don't tell.
12. Stand at Attention
Make yourself standout and up.
13. Blankedy Blank
When you have an interesting name, flaunt it.
14. Pop Up Guy
Some entrepreneurs just know how to get people's attention.
15. Dog Tags
Whether they wear them or put them on a desk, dog tags work on several levels.
16. Software Wizard
Too often, entrepreneurs get hung-up on titles. Have fun with your organization's titles and its business cards.
17. Let Them Hear It
A great card is a reflection of your business and you. If your thing is music, let it be heard.
18. Mind and Body Spirit
Mais Pilates wants to "wake up your body" as well as your mind with this original business card.
19. Get Credit
The Credit Counseling Society aims to cut your credit debt in half.
20. Full House
Getting playful with some playing cards is a fun way to introduce yourself.