10 Creative Business Card Ideas
A business card is like a wallet-sized elevator pitch -- it sums up who you are and what you do in the palm of somebody’s hand. But what if you do more than one thing? When Laura Duff is working for you, things could just as easily go beautifully as get really ugly. That’s because the makeup artist, who works in film, television, and fashion, handles as much work sprucing up runway queens as she does keeping zombies properly rouged for movies like Flight of the Living Dead. Duff's card, designed by an artist named Elisa Chavarri, reflects the split-personality nature of her work “by showing a beautiful woman on one side and a monster on the other.”
Sam Buxton’s business card does more than just promote his skills -- it’s a source of revenue. The Bristol, England-based artist and designer created the first business card back in 2000, which lead to a series of similar mini sculptures called Mikro. These are now available in museum gift shops worldwide, including the Cooper-Hewitt and the Whitney. Buxton has received feedback on the card from dentists and NASA engineers alike, which is what Buxton was hoping for. He likes the idea that museum patrons can not only buy the exact work they see in the gallery, but assemble it themselves. “The democracy of it interests me greatly,” he says. Perhaps most impressively though, since 2002, he has sold over 200,000 of the sculptures, which retail for about $15.
When design is what you do, your business card had better have some pizazz. Clifton Alexander, who owns Reactor, a Kansas City, Missouri-based firm that does design and branding for the Web, knows how important a cool card can be to a client’s first impression. Reactor's cards can be tailored to say things like, "If you see anybody that knows me, tell them I said hi" or "I see an epic brand in your future." The die cut that lets the card stand up helps garbage-proof your contact info. “Whenever I am in a group setting and hand my card to someone, a crowd tends to gather, and other people request a card for themselves," Alexander says. "This also ensures that the card won't end up in the trash, but instead, could end up sitting on top of a monitor or a shelf in someone's office."
When he sat down to brainstorm the most important things to convey about Digital Fresh, a New York City-based marketing and communications firm, owner Sean Kinney says that the “the term ‘cutting edge' and the idea of a razor blade as an icon to represent us” came to mind. After a boost from what Kinney calls the “Internet free marketing machine,” (his company never put the card online but it made the blog circuit anyway after someone they gave it to photographed and posted it) business picked up and the firm began to attract clients ranging from a Chicago barbershop to an Australian start-up.
Sergio Delgado laughs at death -- and he has his business card to prove it. The Dallas-based photographer had a show coming up that dealt with the subject of suicide, which inevitably lead him to contemplate his own mortality. When looking for ways to promote the show he came up with the idea for this card. "The thought of doing it as a toe tag just appealed to me," he says. "I thought it was funny, I thought it was gross.”
Kyle Laser was working on improving the Web presence of his family’s Dallas-based printing business when he hit upon an idea: He’d been researching viral marketing as well as search engine optimization when he thought of a fun way the two could intersect. Laser “designed the card just kind of for fun” but the response it got was serious business. He estimates that as many as 10 of the company's largest accounts found out about them by coming across the card online.
When he was between jobs, Bryce Bell, an Oklahoma native, designed these unique business cards to advertise his mechanical skills, but the cards became a venture in and of themselves. “I was inspired by other cool cards I had seen around the Internet," he says. "I wanted to create a card that fit in with my interests and demonstrated my creativity.” And it seems to have paid off, “People have liked it so much that I've been working on starting a business to sell the Cardapult and other unique cards.”
“What happens if you're dining impromptu and don't have cutlery? You can pop out your emergency set!” says Mark Ramadan. To promote his food blog, which he writes from New York City, Ramadan designed this card, which helped to produce "an enormous jump in traffic," going from 250 visits a week to over 1,000 hits per day. He’s still using it for his latest food-related venture, a company he started called Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Scooping Ketchup.
When he’s not performing as an amateur magician, Emerson Taymor is a code warrior, hawking his Web and graphic-design services. Ironically, for Taymor, who is 6-foot-8, the question was how to stand out from the crowd. “I really wanted to sell myself as a personality as much as a designer," he says. "I wanted to be able to distinguish myself from all the other amazingly talented designers and artists.” Although he acknowledges that his card could seem egotistical to those who don’t know him, he gets an enthusiastic reaction whenever he hands it out. But most importantly, he says, “I've generated a lot of design work from it as well."
You're not going to get their business if they misplace your card. David Holifield rarely has that problem with his customers. The president of InterFUEL, a social media marketing and Web design agency, says that people "interact with [the card] in a way that is unexpected. While a more traditional business card would work, it's often a missed opportunity to create something memorable." At trade shows, Holifield says it's the fastest way to "demonstrate [to a client] we have a lot of ideas you might not have thought of before."
Bonus: Okay, we promised you 10 business cards, but Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's was too good to pass up. PlasmaDesign, a British company that specializes in metal and plastic business cards, cut and chemically etched the distinctive, stainless steel beauty for the Woz. Although the card is a little heavy to carry around in substantial quantities, the ursine entrepreneur usually has enough to go around.