Clever business cards

BY   /   No Comments   /   February 1, 2015

Business cards have been a staple and a common element of many businesses for decades. It not only advertises the business, it also promotes the brand to customers far and wide. However, for a long while now, the design has remained somewhat stagnant. A rectangular card with printed designs and details conveys the most basic information possible, and in most cases it is adequate. Doing anything more would simply increase costs incurred to the business, and many may see it as an unnecessary expense as a result. But there are times when a more eye-catching and interesting card design is warranted, especially if it starts to bring in more business.

Clever business cards are also nothing new, they’ve been around for quite some time as well. The difference these days, is that print costs have reduced significantly to the point where clever ideas can now be implemented on cards, all without putting too much of a dent on the small budgets of businesses. The benefits are numerous – customers remember interesting cards that uniquely identify with just that brand, clever card ideas stand out from the competition, in some cases there are practical benefits to unconventional cards, and so on. The question then comes down to what design suits your business. This depends on a lot of factors, the most important of which is the unique brand value of the business. Translate that cleverly into physical form, and people will remember it.

1. Flat Diecut

Image of flat die cut business cards
This is the one of the easiest, simplest, and most affordable concepts to implement. All that is required is a special shape cut out and made into a card (also called a “die cut”). Ideally the simpler the shape the better, because intricate shapes cut from thin stock cards would not hold up very well during handling. Out of all of the clever card concepts however, the creative and attractive potential for this concept is not as high.

Pros: Attractive, unconventional, relatively easy to implement.
Cons: Usually unable to fit inside card holders, intricate shapes not ideal, least creative/attractive potential of all other concepts (besides standard business cards), slightly higher costs compared to standard cards

2. Folded Popup

Image of folded popup business cards
Cards can also be folded into two or three sides. This allows for a great range of possibilities – business cards can function similarly as greeting cards, popup designs can be stored inside the fold, cards can also be die cut to increase creative/attractive potential. Depending on the type of concept chosen, this can potentially be easy or difficult to implement. Basic folded cards only require a fold somewhere on the card (also called a “score”). Popups increases the creative/attractive potential much further, by adding a third dimension. These can be achieved primarily in two ways – cuts within the card, or gluing shapes to have elements “pop” out. Cuts within the card allow shapes to ‘come out’ without using additional materials. The idea is typically used for greeting cards, but it can also be used for business cards. Gluing shapes into the cards to achieve popups are also possible, and is much more attractive. However, labor costs are significantly higher for this concept, since individual shapes need to be glued carefully to make the pop-up effect work. The overall thickness of the card may make it disadvantageous to implement as well.

Pros: Wider degree of possibilities in creative/attractive potential, popup cards possible, can fit inside card holders, simple design, unconventional
Cons: Larger paper size increases costs, cards can be quite thick, larger surface area for printing which potentially increases costs

3. Attachments

Image of attachment business cards

Cards can also be modified in such a way that they can include ‘attachments’. Attachments may include anything from seeds, to cotton cleaners, to bandaids, to toothpicks, and so on. Virtually any kind of attachment is possible. This concept offers the most in terms of engagement with the audience, not to mention offer the most creative and attractive potential out of all of the concepts. Unfortunately, depending on the type of attachment included, costs may vary significantly. There aren’t a lot of print and packaging companies out there that offers such services, so some research will be required on your part to find one that will. Not every type of object can be placed within the card either – a right balance is needed to achieve the aim of the message exuded, the brand of your business, the cost-effectiveness of the concept, and the viability of mass-producing the concept.

Pros: Most creative/attractive potential out of all concepts, unlimited types of items can be included, extremely engaging, unconventional
Cons: Costs vary wildly depending on attachment type, thickness vary wildly depending on attachment type, not all types of attachments are possible, research needed to find the right print/packaging company that offers this service

4. Unconventional

Image of unconventional business card
Rather than work with paper, truly unconventional cards can utilize any type of material, including – metals, plastics, glass, wood, toys, and even random objects. Because of the variable types of material used, engagement, costs, and viability are all uncertain. That said however, this concept offers unlimited creative and attractive potential out of all of the concepts. Virtually any concept and idea is possible, to the limits of the imagination.

Pros: Unlimited creative/attractive potential out of all concepts, any concept is possible, most unconventional out of all concepts, different materials possible
Cons: Engagement level varies, costs varies, viability varies

Check out some of our work on business card designs:

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