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Heat-Sensitive Business Cards Are Like Touchable Polaroids

A gimmicky technology, in the right context, makes for the perfect calling card.

The best business card I ever received looked like it had been printed at home. On one side, there was contact information. On the other, the guy was jamming a guitar. His business had absolutely nothing to do with music.

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But the business cards of Natalie Daniels, a Viennese photo producer, are even better. Designed as part of a larger stationery set by corporate branding specialists at Bureau Rabensteiner, each card is coated in a layer of black, thermo-sensitive ink. So when you touch them, a white image develops wherever you make contact. Kiss the card to see lips or firmly tap the card to make a fingerprint. Every interaction you make is responsive.


“It’s just a little effect but has the potential to say so much more,” the studio’s Isabella Meischberger writes. “It’s not so much that the thermo-sensitive varnish itself is an innovation, I think we all have seen it before, but this is a unique way of using it.”

Indeed, for a photo producer, each letter or business card becomes a miniature Polaroid, snapshotting its experience with a potential client. It’s delightfully analog in a world filled with more and more software-induced effects. No doubt, this small analog wonder feels a step more magical than mimicking the effect on some webcam-equipped website might. I imagine that the card could become a small token you’d cherish–at least for a few weeks on your desk–before throwing it away.

“With our passion for materials and paper we’d be lying to say that we don’t see a big value in analog applications and fine printed pieces,” Meischberger writes. “In a world where everything happens faster and cheaper and within an increasing reach, it gets more and more luxurious to produce and own a good stationery.”


For all of $1 apiece, I’d say it was a reasonable printing investment.

See more here.

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[Hat tip: technabob]

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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