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20 Inspired Business-Card Designs to Better Market Your Startup

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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.

image credit: Facebook

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.

image credit: Warren E. Buffett

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.

image credit: Richard Nixon

3. Richard Nixon

If you're famous, or like to think you are, try an autograph. The personal touch goes a long way.

image credit: ClarkandKent.net

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.

image credit: Victoria Vaughan

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.

image credit: James A.W. Mahon

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.

image credit: Broke Bike Alley

7. Broke Bike Alley

Informative and practical. This card does it all.

image credit LaserPrintingInc.com

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.

image credit Mogloo

9. Mogloo

Who doesn't like a funny guy with a beard that turns into a box? It's easy to display.

image credit: Lindsey Casabella

10. The Stylist

The comb says almost all you need to know about this business.

image credit: Cafe Java Fine Espresso

Cafe Java

Show, don't tell.

image credit: YourReactor.com

12. Stand at Attention

Make yourself standout and up.

image credit: Dave Blank - StudioVoodoo.com

13. Blankedy Blank

When you have an interesting name, flaunt it.

image credit: ActualSizeCreative.com

14. Pop Up Guy

Some entrepreneurs just know how to get people's attention.

image credit: NGAP.org

15. Dog Tags

Whether they wear them or put them on a desk, dog tags work on several levels.

image credit: Apple Inc.

16. Software Wizard

Too often, entrepreneurs get hung-up on titles. Have fun with your organization's titles and its business cards.

image credit: Koji Sueyoshi

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.

image credit: Mais Pilates

18. Mind and Body Spirit

Mais Pilates wants to "wake up your body" as well as your mind with this original business card.

image credit: Credit Counselling Society

19. Get Credit

The Credit Counseling Society aims to cut your credit debt in half.

image credit: Jack Hooker Graphic Design

20. Full House

Getting playful with some playing cards is a fun way to introduce yourself.