Business Cards Become a Design Showcase

A Wall Street Journal article reports that business cards are alive and well – albeit in more of a niche than they previously held, as I mention on my *ahem* graphic design services page.

Many technology companies and entrepreneurs that deal with mostly virtual products are embracing the tactile business card. Cards are often the sole tangible representation of a person’s virtual life. And as people amass more points of contact—website, email, @name —the cards become a single carrier of all those details.

“You can’t replace the simplicity of a piece of paper for sharing that info,” says Albert Hwang, a 28-year-old digital artist in New York.

This process has been ongoing for quite some time, but now that people who have never received a “normal” business card are entering the marketplace in greater numbers, this change will only accelerate.

The last business card I received is probably my friend Denis’ (of Mr. Graphic). He’s a designer who specializes in packaging design, and his card is made of brown cardboard with a hand-glued overlay. It’s memorable and meshes well with his line of work, so the card has much more impact than something printed off on cheap cardstock at $10 for 500 units. The card feels special and valuable, and makes you want to keep it.

Of course his line of work is better expressed in a visual medium than, say, an accountant, but any business or professional can have some kind of “special” card. We’re past the time when it was important to have hundreds (or thousands) of cards to give away. Now that quality offers more of an impact than quantity, it might be a good time to revisit the good old business card and drag its design into the digital age.