30 Mar 2012
Typically when I return from a meeting or a conference I come back to my office equipped with a new stack of little white, 3.5 x 2 inch cards that have some guy/gal’s name, phone number, address and company logo on them that then sit in a desk drawer for eternity. After my latest desk clean out, I found a stack that probably represented a small forest and begged the question of whether business cards are really needed. In the days of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and smartphones galore, is it passé to actually hand someone a piece of card stock with your contact information when you can literally bump phones together to exchange contact information?
In a word, no. Traditional business and calling cards may seem archaic, but they one of the most important touchpoints for both your personal life and career and a way for you to stand out from the pack. There is a gentlemanly nostalgic professionalism giving someone your card, but there are ways to bring yesterday’s business card into today’s technological style.
Design is Key: Presentation is key to selling something including yourself.
Whatever your career field or lack thereof, your calling card needs to be an extension of you that highlights your creativity and invokes envy to those you give it to. When designing your card, think outside the box and have some fun with it. Modern business and calling cards come in a multitude of colors, shapes and give you the ability to convey any message or feel you want. Name, address and phone have always been standard but nowadays your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn handles and personal website are now also prerequisites. Plus if you have your own business or the ability to be less formal, give your title some zip. Who wouldn’t want the title or Chief Ass Kicking Officer or Head of Sarcasm?
Feeling is Believing: The key selling point to having a physical calling card is the touch and feel of it because it’s the one thing an electronic card can’t do. So make good and make an impression with your card (pun intended). Letterpress, embossing, debossing or raised ink are all ways to modernize your card and make it stand out. When coupled with good design, the results can be pretty bad ass and can easily extend your theme to enhance folders, stationary, and other promotional materials. Personally, I have an affinity for letterpress and leverage the printing prowess of Ben Webster and The Mandate Press to procure my personal set of business cards. For other design ideas, Graphic Designer Larissa Jaster has some great sources of inspiration.
Whatever your field of work or locale may be, always have a few armed and ready in your suit jacket pocket, wallet, gym bag, ruck or attaché just so they can invoke this type of response.