What does your business card look like? If you’re like the majority of people in business, your card is flat, built from templates at Vistaprint or from some other print shop, and useful only to pick food out of your teeth at best. At worst, your card will end up in a basket full of cards and forgotten, or in the waste basket.
While there’s a place for run-of-the-mill business cards, there will be times when you want to think out-of-the-box. If so, the following business cards may inspire you. We’ve included some of the most unusual cards, most appropriate cards for a given business and edible cards. And, we’ve included articles and how-to information to help you create your one-of-a-kind business card.
The images and links below are categorized, and are in no particular order within those categories. With that said, we do not favor one business card example or idea over another in this list of fifty business card inspirations.
You may have seen some of the examples shown below, as – since they are so unusual – some of these cards have already made the rounds. Others, however, may not have hit your radar yet. One note: As deep as we looked, we could not find a leather business card. It’s a thought…
1. LEGO card for LEGO CEOs via: Chief Happiness Officer. Few of these were made, mostly for LEGO corporate officers. The faces were modeled to resemble the users.
2. A card for Dr. Pramod Niphadkar, a chest physician, who wanted to show the importance of having healthy lungs through the use of his business card. Via: London International Awards.
3. A biz card for Melvin, a “hacker, entrepreneur, and all-around mischief maker,” by Jeni Mattson. The tools supposedly pick locks, and it has received plenty of publicity. Perhaps more than he’d ever get with the card alone!
4. When you travel to this Flickr link, look to the upper right to view the card that this card creates. Any full-service print shop can create a die cut, so talk with your printer about creating a card like this for your business or service.
5. This card is unusual – it won’t fit in a regular business card holder, and it can be used to hold other business cards together! Use the laser printing shown above on the peanut, or use a label-maker to stick your information on the pin. See this pin at BusinessCards24.
6. To learn about the information on this business card, you need to unzip the perforated tab. This is what you can an “interactive business card.” Learn more at Odd Stuff on the Net.
7. Are you willing to spare a few cards to impress a client? Better yet, can you steal a few of his or her cards to build a sculpture in a jar? Send the cards off to Engravables Plus, and they’ll turn those cards into a personalized scuplture – anything from planes to boats to cars and more. Yes, this is unusual. In fact, it’s bizarre, yet possibly heart-warming.
8. A lenticular business card, when tilted back and forth, allow the images on the card to “move” or appear animated. We haven’t see many lenticular cards, and there’s probably a good reason for that fact. We included this one for your edification. Enjoy.
9. Get a handful of these Emerson Taymor cards and create a battlefield. Or, use them to populate your daughter’s dollhouse. Are they effective? Yes. Are they unusual? Yes – although we discovered one mroe pop-up card at Creative Bits. Read more at Geekologie.
If people could eat your business card, will their memory retention become better? We’re not sure, but we were impressed with some of the edible cards we discovered on our hunt for the unusual…
10. Yes, this is a chocolate business card, as described by Plasticbag.org in 2006. We found something similar at Sweet Impressions. We decided we need to request samples to find the best chocolate for our cards, however…
11. For the discreet – a business card with “read it then eat it” instructions. We discovered this headhunter’s card at Ads of the World.
12. If you think you’re sweet enough to carry this off, then grab a handful of cookie business cards from Lady Fortunes. These cards consist of graham crackers wrapped in Belgian white chocolate and decorated with a 100 percent edible image of your business card. Oh yes – and sprinkles.
13. Japanese company, Arigatou, is using high-grade CO2 laster engraving to print logos, names and phone numbers on organic materials like these peanuts. These are called, “Taberu Me” cards, or “Eat Me” in literal translation. Via: Weird Asia News.
14. Trendhunter suggested it, and we looked into it…MyFruitRoolUps.com really does have a way to imprint your message on their fruit roll-up candy sheets. So, instead of a birthday or graduation message, you can create a business card on a sheet of candy. Personalized custom design options are available.
15. Here’s another sweet way to promote your business – print your logo, your logo and text or a message on a handful or more of M&M candies. As the advertisement says, this is a great way to promote yourself at trade shows or corporate events.
16. The nice thing about the ‘business card’ shown above is that the customer can keep the wrapper even after the candy bar is gone. You can find plenty of printers who do this sort of job, but we found this one at Announce It!
The following business cards seem most appropriate to the businesses they represent:
17. If you wanted to patch up your marriage, would you call Ramesh Sharma? We would! He seems to have a sense of humor, something any marriage in trouble needs (in our humble opinon). Via: Ads of the World.
18. What better way to advertise your lawn maintenance company than to give away free grass seed? Very appropriate, via: 2wenty 4our.
19. If you’re into graphic design, you might appreciate Jan Sabach’s business card. Via: Visual Culture. (PS – you might find something similar to this at printing companies that offer plastic business cards).
20. Designed by Ji Lee, this card is minimalist and perfect for the SEO. But, hopefully, when you Google your name you won’t find incriminating evidence such as drunken videos and earlier jobs that were just too embarrassing.
21. When is a $25 business card appropriate? When you have high-end clients. This card is as slim as a regular credit card, yet holds streaming video and audio, it can be password protected and its scope for innovative uses is unlimited. You’ll be remembered with this little gadget found through gizmag.
22. If you’re into animation, what better way to show off your talents than through an animated business card? Chung Dha Lam, a student at Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam in the Netherlands got the idea of his animated business card after receiving a special book called magic moving images. Learn more at Neatorama.
23. Hairdressers might curl up in envy once they see this card. Very appropriate use of hairpins and business acumen! Discovered at dailypoetics’ flickr pages.
24. What better way to make your business tangible than by applying a bit of that business to your card? This card, one of many listed at Creative Bits, is a testament to using what you have at hand for great results.
Create Your Own Business Card
The following links lead to tutorials on how to create your own business cards.
25. Learn how to create this business card, including the shiny foil effect and positive-negative dragon at PhotoshopStar.
26. You can learn how to make this print-ready business card using only Photoshop, thanks to pds|tuts+.
27. This tutorial will guide you through the process of designing business cards and postcards in Photoshop as well as providing press-ready templates to get you started quickly, thanks to GreatFX.
28. Big Spoon Graphics provides a detailed tutorial on how to design cards with gradients, like the ones shown above, in Adobe Illustrator.
29. Learn how to create imitation embossing on your card with Photoshop, thanks to Masters of Photoshop.
30. If you think dark business cards are sexy, then learn how to create one like this from scratch though this Photoshop tutorial at Photoshop Talent.
Card Printing Resources
If you cannot create an unusual and yet practical business card, why not develop something from resources found at your fingertips? The following companies can add flair to your business, and present your calling card as a functional or artistic item rather than a plain Jane.
32. Plastic business cards are the rage, and this one designed by SCHMIEDLINDESIGNS for Kris Kuksi, artist, is the most unusual plastic card we’ve seen. The card was produced by Andreoni (scroll down to bottom of page).
33. If you want a clear plastic card, you need look no further than Clear Plastic Cards to find examples like the one above.
34. Is your business appropriate for a metal business card? Metal cards, according to theory, are more difficult for receivers to throw away, so they may be worth the investment. Take a look at the die-cut number above and more at PlasmaDesign.
35. Are mini-CD cards a thing of the past? With the different shapes provided by Rovix shown above, you might change your mind. Choose the house if you’re a Realtor, choose the gear if you’re a mechanic and so on. Then, you also can add a mini-tutorial to your card for your potential client.
36. Remember the clothspin business card above? You might convince SusyJack at Etsy to design some pins for you. These pins are covered with printed labels (something like WL-OL200), so there’s no reason why that pin can’t hold your business contact information.
Build Your Own Business Card
If you want to print your own business cards, you can find resources to create some interesting and personal applications. Use some of the tools below to give your brand a different look.
37. This card, part of the series shown at LifeClever, is a great way to recycle old mass transit cards. The user slapped a label on the MTA ticket above and away he went! You can collect the train or bus cards, and Worldlabel can supply the labels for you to print. Try WL-O950 in silver.
38. If you want to try your hand at an AVR microcontroller-based business card, try to follow the instructions in this article at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.
39. If you want to make an auto-dial business card like the one above, you can learn how at Instructables. The builder describes the card as “a musical greeting card on steroids” that can be programmed to dial any number. It may not work with some PABX systems, though…
40. Watch the video at TrendHunter to learn about this unusual business card with planetary working gears. Who could throw a card like this away? Better yet, if you have a laser cutter, you can make one yourself (look at the other samples at TrendHunter).
41. If you want to make a small cube, or box, out of your business cards, then Ned Batchelder can show you how to do it. Use the box to hide some candy, and you may fit into the “edible” category.
42. Black Hound Blue shows how he created the metal card above and another metal card as well. He then gives a short lesson and a “Part 2″ list of tips to add to that first entry. You’ll need to start at the bottom of this page and work up for all the parts to make sense.
43. Although this article is about how to help your printer create a folded business card, the idea is to take this idea and run with it yourself. Some great tips in this article at Ideabook.
44. Finally, if you’re broke – you’re broke. A pack of playing cards and a pen is all you need to let people know who you are and how they can locate you. Found at Creative Bits.
The following links lead to articles about business cards – how to color within the lines if you want a traditional card, and how to think outside the box if you want to make something special…
45. How to Make Plastic Business Cards: Ryn Gargulinksi provides a step-by-step article on how to make your own plastic business cards.
46. 5 steps to better business cards: how to brand your awesome little business: A rational look at how this architect created her girlscantell business cards.
47. Business Card Lesson Plan 1: An About.com guide offers some great tips on how and why you could design your business card. No matter how outrageous your card, if it doesn’t send the right message, then it isn’t unusual at all. Be sure to read on to Business Card Lesson Plan 2.
48. Business Card Best Practices: Robert Scoble offers his insights into how and why you might use your business card.
49. Color Theory and Business Cards: Of all the forms of non-verbal communication, color is the most instantaneous method of conveying messages and meanings. Learn how to leverage the power of color to your marketing advantage, thanks to GreatFX.
50. Making Memorable Business Cards: This Creative Pro article provides great tips on various ways to use business cards or calling cards. Try using Worldlabel’s AutofillPDF 1.0 label sheets for your experiments. As you add elements, the elements fall into the other cards automatically, making alignment worries a thing of the past.