Business cards are not created equal. Whether it’s a standard 3.5 inch by 2 inch piece of paper or an origami fold-out that reveals your company name in reverse print, business cards showcase you and your company’s personality. For many years, business cards were just simple and straightforward. But with the online revolution, everything has changed. Smart phones and WiFi have enhanced the contact sharing process. Despite those technological advances, some workers still cling to face-to-face communication, followed by an exchange of cards and a handshake. GoodLife Report picks the best business cards, from traditional letterpress varieties to apps that share info with a simple phone bump.
Like a well-tailored suit
Maybe your inner Don Draper digs the classic appeal of a well-crafted business card. From the weight of card stock to the depth of the letterpress, you are an aficionado with vintage tastes and you can’t bring yourself to simply email your info. If this sounds like you check out Mandate Press whose motto is “Everything looks better letter pressed.” It’s hard to argue with Mandate after you see its business cards. Cards are available in 11 pre-set designs or can be fully customized with your own design. Crisp and clean, these 3.5 inch by 2 inch cards convey that you are serious when it comes to your information—unless you choose to include your twitter handle or personal blog address. Prices start at $95 for 250 cards. www.mandatepress.com
The Mandate Press
Old school with a twist
If you want a card to hand over after dinner or at a business meeting but you detest the status quo, plenty of new card sizes and materials exist that will make your info rise to the top of the stack.
Moo mini cards are half the size of a standard business card and are printed in full-color matte laminate on both sides. The cards are fully customizable with high-quality printing that allows you to showcase your portfolio by printing a different image on each card in the pack. Prices start at $19.95 for a 100 mini cards. www.moo.com
Card size is one way to stand out of the pack but the materials used also go a long way in separating you from the crowd. Plasma Design creates everything from translucent plastic to full-color stainless steel cards. While plastic cards can be printed with your personal design, metal cards are chemically etched and/or cut through the card for a truly one-of-a-kind design. One drawback: it’s not exactly the cheapest form of sharing your contact information. Plastic cards start at $199 for 100; metal cards start at $489 for 100. www.plasmadesign.co.uk.
An app for that
Hundreds of apps exist for organizing and sharing your contact info. One of the most simple but genius apps to be released is Bump. Available for the iPhone and the Android operating system, sharing your contact info—or your whole book of contacts—is as easy as bumping the phones together. Yes, all you do is lightly bump the two phones (an internet connection—WiFi or cellular—is required) and your contacts, calendars, photos, etc. are shared. The app is free and available through your carrier’s app store.
“Bump” iPhone App
Card Reader is an app geared towards people that have a pile of business cards and can’t stand the idea of entering in all of the information. Using advanced text recognition software; the app reads the business card using the phone’s camera and enters all the pertinent information on you iPhone, Blackberry or Windows mobile address book. The app is $5.99 and available through your carrier’s app store.
Stickybits is the perfect solution if you are stuck with a basic business card and you want to add a 21st century dimension to it. The program allows you to attach photos, videos, text, pdfs and other things to a barcode sticker that can be placed on your card. Using a phone barcode reader, new clients or a potential new boss can check out your online portfolio, resume or blog. Stickers start at $9.95 for packs of 20.
No matter how cool the design some people refuse to carry business cards and shun the idea of ever accepting one from another person. With widespread WiFi and cell phone coverage and new programs such as Qubrit and Plaxo, these individuals don’t have to injure the feelings of others anymore.
Plaxo, a subsidiary of Comcast Interactive, is a website that allows you to manage all your contacts online making them available to you at any time, from any computer. In addition to housing all their information you can also see what your contacts are creating and sharing online as Plaxo gathers information from a wide range of social media websites and brings it together in one central website. Best of all, it’s free. www.plaxo.com
Qubrit, much like Plaxo, offers access to all your contacts from anywhere with an Internet connection, but it also updates your virtual business cards the moment any of the information changes, eliminating the idea of having an outdated contact. Free, www.qubrit.com