Creative marketing materials such as promotional T-shirts and free gifts are great when mixed in with a good helping of creativity. In marketing terms, to “blend in” is bad for business. You know that you and your business need to stand out and make a memory, and sometimes the traditional business card is just not good enough. Whether you are looking for employment or building relationships for your company, making sure your name sticks in the mind of your potential employer or client is key.
Best Alternatives to Traditional Business Cards: Dare to Be Different
Climbing the greasy networking pole can be tough work. “There is no elevator to success,” says a vinyl here at the Printsome office. But there are ways to make the process quicker, like getting a lift to access those who are farther up. Still, it is easier said than done.
Those at the top of the pole are of interest to many people, which translates to being handed a mountain of business cards every day — and then some more. Naturally, after seeing so many, these become mundane and forgetful. In order to get in touch with the alpha dogs, you need to make an impression. You can keep calling them at their office, sending them a friend request on every single social network and “coincidentally” signing up to the same gym (even though it’s nowhere near your place), but that might come across as a little desperate.
It is probably better to just create a memorable moment with a business card so incredibly awesome that they will be telling their friends about you and not the other way around.
In order to create your own memorable business card you should keep in mind:
- Design principles
- Unusual materials
- Special Finishes
- How well it represents you
- Layout and type
- What information you’re including
- Printing methods (if any)
And most importantly, break the rules! Once you know the basics it’s time to throw them out the window and start anew. Here are some awesome examples of people who created their own self-promotion guidelines.
As the name implies, the conductive ink is a special kind of ink that conducts electricity. When the card is placed on top of the smartphone, the conductive ink transmits the contact information to the phone. This technology is developed by a startup called TouchBase Technologies.
Personally speaking, I don’t know if printing your information on a balloon is the best idea because it is hard to read when it is deflated, which forces the receiver to stretch or inflate the balloon whenever they want to access the information and to me that just seems counterintuitive. Usually, people don’t want to work more than they have to. Much like a T-shirt, you can personalise a balloon by contacting the right printer.
Beer mats are a fun option for a business card, you only run the risk of having people use it as a, well, coaster. Having a water ring on your contact information might be fun or unprofessional, depending on the situation. It’s up to you to decide if it is convenient or not. If you want to personalise your own beer mat, you can always contact companies such as this one.
These business cards are sure to make a lasting impression. If you want to create a business card that’s different from everything else, building something useful might be the way to go. Unlike other “creative” business cards, the information in here is easy to access and will be read every time somebody uses the tool. Metal printing is an unexplored area to most people, if you want to explore what it can do, you can start here.
A useful business card that for sure will help out whoever receives it. Admit it, we all have at some point missed a bottle opener.
To have your contact information printed on a sachet might be cute, but it renders your business card disposable since once it has been used it will only go to the trash. Of course, there is also the possibility that someone might decide to keep it, but even so, there is always the risk that someone might sit on it. To order your own printable sachets, you may contact companies such as this one.
They are useful and tend to be more durable than beer mats. If they’re made out of wood, then the better because it will only make it less expendable and more attractive to the eye. Woodcard is a company in the UK that lets you personalise wooden coasters.
As sceptic as I might be about business cards that are too out there, I would still like to be there to see the face of a person when they receive a coin instead of the expected piece of paper. Coins are far more durable than paper, that’s for sure, and if someone confuses one of them for actual money then it might lead to a fun conversation. If you’re into this idea, then you’re in luck because coins are actually quite easy to customise.
Businesses like saytwithacondom.com allow you to personalise everyone’s favourite latex device. Such a design may be a good idea for someone that works in the nightlife sector, sex industry or a company looking to teach safe sex practices. While a condom may have positive connotations (protection, fun, sex) it might also have negative ones, it is disposable and if you carry it with you for too long it starts being a reminder of the lack of physical intimacy in your life.
Like Balloons, the rubber band forces the user to stretch it if they want to read its content. In this context, it might work since as a trainer, he is most likely interested in clients who want to make an effort.
Rings have been used to convey messages since the beginning of civilisation so it was only a matter of time before someone decided to put their contact information in one of them. The above image is an example of a wearable business card which doesn’t necessarily have to be just rings. How about wristbands? Caps? T-shirts?
Everyone loves fortune cookies! Even if you already know that the message you’ll get on the inside is complete nonsense, you still want to open them. I once received a contact information printed on the package of a fortune cookie. It was cute. It caused a positive impression at the moment. I ate the cookie and saved the printed sachet — you know to add her to my contacts, and stuff — only for it never to be seen again. Don’t ask me where I put it because I don’t know. I probably mistook it for the leftovers of a snack and threw it away. I remember the experience, but I never got to add this person to my contacts which is the ultimate goal of a business card. Still, depending on the occasion a fortune cookie might just be the proper way to introduce yourself. Please check out places like Cracking Cookies if you’re interested.
Arduboy is a device the size of a credit card that looks like Game Boy. It runs on Arduino (an open-source programming company) and it is designed to play video games, but it can also showcase your résumé if you’d like. It might be impressive, but the ploy would end up being expensive if your ultimate goal is to hand it out like you would a business card. You can pre-order yours now for $39.
3D Business Card + 3D Specs
A good starting point to create a unique business card would be to imagine a way to represent what you do. Easier said than done, I know, but when people manage to find a way, the results can be quite amazing. Take this example where designer Tyson Junkers wanted to show to potential clients his work in 3d design.
Lego Figures (official and unofficial)
The original Lego figure business cards belong to senior executives at the Lego headquarters in Denmark, but since the news of their existence broke out, many have tried to copy them. Lucky for you, if you are fond of the idea, you may now order your own figurine or you can also buy an original Lego card holder which is pretty neat.
Design Your Own Action Figures
Using an action figure as a business card may sound like a bit too much, but in the right context, it might just be that extra something that makes you stand out. This scenario could be the toy industry, for example. The example is a picture from Swedish photographer Jens Lennartsson. He created 400 action figures of himself to send along with his portfolio to potential customers. This might just be the most epic case of self-promotion ever. To read more about his process, check out the post he wrote about it on his website.
Matchboxes have been used to promote bars and restaurants for a while now, but it hasn’t been until recently that they’re being considered to promote people as well. Matchboxes present the same problems as other disposable articles we’ve seen on this list, but on the bright side, it might lead to an interesting conversation during a cigarette break. Personalising matchboxes is surprisingly easy, you’ll just have to order and submit the artwork as you would do with a t-shirt.
Beef Jerky Business Cards
Talk about making an impression! These cards sure look cool, but as the manufacturer himself said, they’re more of a novelty than anything else. The material falls apart and it’s not edible. Still, they’re pretty wicked. If you want to introduce yourself in a meaty fashion, meatcards.com can take care of your needs. They’re based in the US but make international shipping.
Designer Fabio Milito designed this business card/comb for the hairdressing salon MODhair. Personally, I don’t think there would be a better presentation card for a hairstylist. It not only tells what they do but also the kind of attitude they have.
In this example, pegs are not the presentation tool per se but are holding the traditional business card. This is a simple way to bring attention to something that might otherwise be conventional.
Melanie Yugo designed these pocket squares to promote her business Mobile & Making. The unique design went along with her position which she describes as “Creative Experience Designer” because it encompasses many different disciplines. Square pockets are useful and are not replaceable unlike other devices on this list.
Probably the most inexpensive and simple devices to reproduce of all of the options on this list, post-it business cards are easy to make but will cause an impression nonetheless. Aside from being endearing, you don’t have to call the printer when they run out. Once you’ve made the stamp, you can produce as many and whenever you want.
Tiny plastic guns that shoot rubber bands! What more could you ask for? Oh, wait, it gets better. You can make one yourself! Just download the instructions and you’ll be on your way to create a lasting impression on your next networking event.
The example was designed by the Brazilian agency Fields 360 for a manufacturing company called Mundo do Condomínio. The image seems like a render, not an actual prototype which makes me wonder if it is actually possible to print on sponges since the material is designed to absorb liquid.
Designer Mikey Burton along with Cranky Pressman created this stamp for a Computer Arts Projects challenge. The premise was to take a spin on the traditional business card and I think they’ve succeeded. If you want to order a stamp with your contact information, you can do so by clicking here.
The below image belonged to a startup called Skanz. When people scanned the code it would immediately take them to your Skanz profile page where all of your contact information would be available. My first thought was “Why won’t people just print a QR code on their business card linked to their website or LinkedIn profile?” The bracelet just seemed unnecessary. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thought that way because unfortunately Scanz doesn’t exist anymore, but you can still the wristband idea as inspiration for your next business card.
3D Business Card
Our friend designer Ryan McGuire designed this cool business card that presents him suited up on the cover and with a shirt opened up a-la-Superman on the inside. This is a fun and unexpected way to promote yourself, it is both an animation booklet and a business card. Not to mention that the quality of the paper and the print are superb. In case you were wondering, we got this presentation piece when Ryan sent our coworker Hayley an envelope with some of his famous bunny stickers!
T-shirt Printing for Start-Ups
Thanks to our five years of experience in the apparel-printing industry, we are able to offer a service catered towards the needs of modern start-ups. Printsome’s apparel-printing services are perfect for making souvenirs, merchandise and staff uniforms, among many other possibilities.
From the moment you get in touch, one of our ‘printing experts’ will answer all of your questions and find efficient solutions to your needs. It is our mission to help you reach your goals. We deliver all over the UK with flexible delivery services that can adapt to most deadlines. Printing T-shirts has never been this easy.
Why worry about inventory or logistics when we can take care of that? We deal with the boring stuff so you have more time to do what matters. To find out more, simply visit our website.