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July 14, 2014 | Melanie Chandler

Innovative Business Card Design Ideas for Any Industry (and Budget)

Innovative Business Card Design Ideas

Business cards have a straightforward purpose—to promote yourself and your company to other people. Though a good business card can't ensure success, it can make the difference between a lasting first impression or leaving no impression at all.

Working in various office jobs over the past three years has taught me how important it is to network, and networking involves handing out your business cards to a blue billion people.

At my previous job, I remember looking through my co-workers' collections of business cards gathered during their 20-plus years in the financial industry.

One colleague had something resembling a giant Rolodex that would barely turn because it was over-stuffed, and another just had massive but neatly arranged piles of business cards lined up on his desk.

Needing inspiration one day, I took an afternoon and looked through both of their entire collections. After a certain point, they all started blending together, but fortunately there were a few that stood out in this endless sea of business cards.

If you want to have one of those "stand out from the crowd" cards, here are some innovative business card design ideas to fit any industry or budget.

1. Broke Bike Alley

I have a soft spot for items that have additional functions outside of their conventional uses, and this business card from Broke Bike Alley is one of the best! Not only will you remember them, but you'll have a multi-tool for bicycles that fits in your wallet.

Broke Bike Alley Business Card

2. Flow Yoga

This yoga studio had the genius idea to make their business cards look and feel like yoga mats.

Flow Yoga Vancouver

3. Casabella Furniture

Think outside the box, or at least think in three dimensions!

Casabella Furniture Business Card

4. Amma Maternity

Though they may not fit in your wallet, these non-rectangular cards will stand out in a pile on someone's desk.

Amma Maternity Business Card

5. Lego

This one made my list because who wouldn't want to have mini Lego versions of yourself to hand out? On the other hand, you might get swallowed by somebody's pet dog.

Lego Business Card

Sure, those five business cards are super swanky, but they're also high-cost designs.

When you go outside the standard business card size, you have to think about special printing costs and die cuts. Die cuts are simply custom cuts. Think of them as cookie cutters - you have your generic round ones, but you can pay more for fancier shapes, like stars, ponies or Santa's head (great for cookies; less appropriate for business cards).

Just because you don't have die cuts or special printing in your budget doesn't mean you can't have a unique, appealing business card - great design doesn't have to be expensive.

Take your industry into account. Swanky can mean different things to a person in a more conservative industry, like a lawyer, than it does to an artist.

6. James A.W. Mahon, Divorce Lawyer

Here's a great example of a classic business card design taken to the next level: this lawyer kept his card simple, but added a playful twist inspired by his industry. One small critique - when you split the card, it preserves the contact information, but not the lawyer's full name. (Note: Mr. Mahon has since left this firm, so I linked to the original pin on Pinterest).

Divorce Lawyer Business Card

7. Jill Lynn Design

As you have probably noticed from my past blogs, I love color, so the color combination of Jill Lynn Design’s card caught my eye. It’s a nice balance of earth tones with a pop of a contrasting color. It makes me smile when I see business cards that don’t use black in the design.

Jill Lynn Design Business Card

I also love the typography and the font pairings in this card. The script is fun but legible, and is paired with a clean sans serif. Adding unique fonts and colors is great, but you always have to keep the main purpose of the card in mind - if people can't read it, you won't make a good first impression, no matter how creative it is.

I have a small obsession with ribbons and try to sneak them in projects whenever I can. The little detail that gets me on this card is that she has ribbon/banner element that wraps from one side to the other, and it lines up perfectly.

As an added design bonus, there’s blank space on one side that leaves room just in case she needs to write a note to the person she’s handing it to, or they need to make a note about her.

During my last semester of school, we had a Student Design Showcase in which each student had to do personal branding. Here's my entry, along with fellow VIEOans Casey Owens and Lauren Nelson - how do you think we did?

Student Design Showcase Self-Branding

Whatever your industry, you must have good paper (unless you're using another material - I love plastic business cards!). I have a tendency to immediately manhandle any card handed to me before even looking to see if it's designed well. I pay attention to the weight, texture, and sheen of the paper.

In addition to looking and feeling more substantial, heavier weight paper survives normal wear-and-tear better, while thinner weights feel a little cheap.

Your business card is a representation of your company, and it needs to reflect your company's personality. Having a card that stand out from the crowd can create lasting impressions that people associate with your brand, and those can translate into business.

Whatever type of business card you choose, take a cue from one of these innovative business card design ideas and create something original and well-executed that can have a real ROI for your company.

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Melanie Chandler

Melanie Chandler

As design director, Melanie Chandler leads the design team and works with them to create consistently compelling and engaging website designs, images for digital marketing, and other visual content to communicate corporate identity and drive traffic on websites and social media.

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