Fast Company

Card Sharks V

Thanks to the fine folks at xBlog for pointing me to Marian Bantjes' recent comments on business cards in Speak Up. In an entry titled "Logo, Company Name, Slogan, Name, Title, Address, Phone, Fax, Cel, Email, Web Address," Bantjes comments on the overwhelming amount of information that people can -- and usually do -- put on their business cards.

In the past, people worked to solve that problem by offering multimedia business cards (Caveat: The company featured in that 1998 article is no longer on the Web.), but I belong to the less is more school of business card thinking.

One of the most interesting cards I ever got was from Douglas Rushkoff, whose card at the time only had his name on it, like an old-time calling card. "It's not like I'm hard to find on the Web," he told me. "And if I really want you to contact me, you will."

My personal business cards come in two forms -- one with just my name and an email address on it, and one with a Web site name and URL. That's all you need if a lot of the work you do involves the Net. What best practices have you seen in terms of business cards? What cards have made the strongest impression on you?

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5 Comments

  • warren stokes

    I have not seen one, but what about a business card that is actually a phone card that is only good for contacting you? Could be expanded upon...

  • Avi Solomon

    I am impressed with Ideo's blood and seed card concepts:)
    Ideo Identity Card Project
    Blood Card
    Seed Card

  • John Moore

    My personal favourite is Loren Ekroth who hands out a tiny medicine jar (you know the brown plastic sort) with his brief details on the label, and a metaphor about taking a little conversation as a cure for many ills... He does it with a degree of charm that made me laugh - and remember

  • Curt Rosengren

    I remember one card that folded/popped up into some sort of box shape. Don't recall exactly what it looked like right now, but I do remember that the gee-whiz factor was great.

    Theresa, I actually keep my cards in a three ring binder in those plastic sheets with space for 20 cards. I alphabetize them by first name, since that's what I'm most likely to remember. Flipping through and looking for contact info here and there helps me remember who each person is, just because I see the cards regularly (as opposed to having them buried in a stack somewhere). If I can't remember who someone is, I pull the card out and toss it.

    A decidedly low-tech approach, but it helps me keep a wider range of people accessible in my memory bank (i.e., my noggin).

    Curt Rosengren
    Passion Catalyst (sm)
    blog.occupationaladventure.com

  • Theresa Quintanilla

    Since I'm a compulsive collector, it was hard for me to start throwing away business cards, but I do it now--religiously. There is just no good way to file them and be able to find them later.

    I agree that the most important way to be accessible is to have and maintain your own URL. I also proffer a cell phone number for the e-disconnected.

    My current office doesn't have a bulletin board, but I love to post beautifully designed business cards. Odd shapes and surprising images. If you can afford to make a striking visual statement, it's worth it.