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Building the ultimate business card

April 13, 2011

“The Coffee Run” is a weekly satirical column. Any advice presented here will probably ruin your career, break up your marriage and suffocate your goldfish.

By Alex Braun

Remember years ago, when people actually handed each other stupid pieces of paper with their names and work numbers on them instead of storing them in a phone? Oh … that still happens.

Business cards are still considered a hallmark of professionalism, and it’s pretty pointless to ask why. So here are three bold business card approaches that warrant your attention.

The Card That Does Stuff

It’s kind of all the rage these days to have your business card made in some weird shape out of some expensive material, and I guess if you were going to go through all that trouble, you might as well make it functional. But there are only so many things a wallet-friendly card can do without being a.) potentially lethal or b.) inappropriate.

For example, this is cool, but if I kept it on my wallet, I’d be dropped by my health insurer.

Miniature Toolkit

This is useful, but would associate my brand with getting drunk. Which is great if I’m a microbrewer, and questionable if I’m a nanny.

The Bottle Opener

And this is a screenshot proving that everything you could possibly think of inventing has already been invented.

Business Condoms

The Card Made of Meat

Meat Business Card

Let's meat again.

Shockingly, after significant hype in the summer of 2009, appears to have never totally taken off. I can imagine few things more rewarding than searing my fax number into a piece of beef jerky with a laser, but perhaps the fact that purchasers don’t actually get to see the burn-in process might have hurt its appeal. That, or the knowledge that your records will decay or be eaten within hours.

The Windowed Card

Adding layers of backing paper to your card improves its tensile strength or something. But the biggest advantage to using a multi-tiered business card is the ability to make alterations on the fly. For example, this is my current business card, which I have been agonizing about because “Blog Editor” sounds about as authoritative as “Bat Boy.”

Alex's original business card

But check out how Vegas-ready it becomes with some simple X-acto blade work:

Business card upgrade #1Business card option #3

Pro Tip: Put graphics on the back side of your business card! This generates some extra brand exposure and limits your space for writing stupid comments next to your number that you think are sexy at the time.

Ran out of room.

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