Advice about memorable business cards
Some basic advice to make yours be remarkable before you head over to a tradeshow with plain janes or print out more of the same everyone else is carrying. Some thoughts on what to do with your business cards, and most importantly, what not to do. You don't want to stand out from the rest in a bad way. Here's some written examples of things that aren't often a good idea even though many networking sites will advise trying them:
- Metal business cards. Do you really want people receiving them to get hassled about them by airport security? Especially when they're tired, probably having a hangover, and getting through the lines at 3am to board their early morning flight without catching a wink of sleep?
- Strange shape business cards. You want them to easily fit into whatever container or pocket someone might have for any they receive. Everything else might get chucked unless you yourself were a memorable person.
- Cut business cards. For example, having the name of a company cut out in the middle for artistic effect or the portion of a picture. This could also include business cards with strange edges. You don't want anyone getting a papercut or having it snag up against others.
- Artwork on both sides. Many business people who often go to networking tradeshows will write about their meeting with you on the other side of the business card. This might not be a bad thing if yours are either a) great artwork that stands out as being interesting on it's own, or b) light enough that someone can write over it.
In the wise words of Seth Godin, you want yours to be remarkable. Don't stand out from the crowd in a strange way. Instead, make sure your business cards have something about it that's interesting. Here's some suggestions:
- If you've done something interesting that people might be familiar with, include it on your business card. You don't have to stick to the typical company name and job title listings. For example, if you were an architect specializing in creating strange buildings, you could have a picture of one printed on your business card. Anyone who's seen that location will be able to remember you as the guy who designed it.
- Lampoon the industry: This one is similar to the above: A friend of a friend in the gaming industry had the strangest business cards for the GDC convention. He had previously worked at Sega Interactive and included their famous Sonic the Hedgehog brand character on the card. His title was "Gaem Desiner". His business cards? Printed on regular paper and cut out with scissors. This stood out from the crowd in a bad way (he got lots of looks), but it was also remarkable. You can't please everyone... but he sure did please and make it memorable for the people who liked it.
- Another example from the game industry: Someone who was seeking a designer job thought to use his business cards in a way that might help his career. One the sides of his contact information he developed an amusing icebreaker way to play the cards everyone has collected against other people at the trade show. In other words, his business card turned other business cards into a game.
- Find a hook that makes you easily noticable if someone's talking about you. Many people like to wear top hats, strangely colored shirts, and other objects every time they travel to a trade show. Include whatever makes you noticable as part of your business card design. For example: Green shirts, green card. Wear a top hat? Use clip art. It'll help remind whoever is looking at them later of who exactly you were. Isn't that exactly what you'd want to get memorable business cards for?
- You can use the same idea if there's something about you appearance-wise that is noticeably different in a crowd. A bald head, eye patch, missing leg, anything might work with the right train of thought.