The UX of Business Cards

I received a bunch of business cards at the conference and was thinking about them. Some of the cards had clever things on them that pointed you online. Others were plain white, classic and boring. Others were black, which made writing on them impossible. Some were oddly shaped and difficult to put in the stack of others. (I suppose they thought it would stand out, but I think it just invited tossing into the trash). Some were landscape and others portrait.

There is such a diversity of themes and approaches to business cards. It goes with the axiom that great creativity comes from strong constraints. I love seeing how different organizations approach this universal task. One of my favorite scenes in a movie is in American Psycho, where Jason Bateman is showing off his new business card.

A business card is an opportunity to stand out. Never let an opportunity go to waste. Use your business card creatively, but not obnoxiously. Here are the requirements:

  1. Must have room to write things on it. This is the most common missing feature in a business card.
  2. Must be shaped like other business cards. I know its cute and different, but not in a good way. It’s shaped wrong and begs to be thrown out.
  3. Not have your fax number. What is this 1988? You need something faxed? Seriously?? Scan it and email for crying out loud.
  4. Not overloaded. Some people put their psychical address, phone, cell, email, twitter, company url, blah blah blah. Keep it simple. Less is more. Websites and business cards need editing. Don’t put every single detail there. Don’t let the marketing department use your business card as a billboard for their messages.
  5. Stand out. Think different. Do it better. Study business cards and find the ones that you love. Steal their ideas.

Business cards is an art. Don’t treat it like a checkbox that has to be checked.

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