A Word On Business Cards

I attend tons of events, networking parties and all that jazz, one thing in common is coming back with a pocket full of business cards.

Some are big, some are small, some are normal, some are fancy. By and large, it doesn’t make a single bit of difference what your business card looks like. I have never once decided to contact some someone back based solely on their business card.

In fact, most of the very successful people I meet have exceedingly simple business cards. Name, contact info and maybe a company logo. Nothing ornate because it doesn’t matter.

What my business card looks like (except a different email address, this was an old photo and I was too lazy to take a new one).

The funny thing is, usually the people with brand new companies which aren’t even making money generally have the coolest/most expensive business cards. I interpret that as a very ominous sign.

Not all cool business cards are bad though. If you’re making good money with the company, then sure, go nuts, although it’ll unlikely make any difference. I like some business card designs that tie into their industry, like some of these which would be great for tradeshows….but for most occasions, a standard personal business card would do fine.

If you’re actually of any interest to a person, it doesn’t matter if your contact info is written on a napkin, they’ll get back to you. If you’re relying on a cool business card to get you a call back, then you’ve probably got some work to do on yourself.

Just remember: You are making the impression, not the business card.


  • In 2007 I bought several hundred business cards with a 2007 yearly calendar on the back thinking it would be a good idea. It wasn’t. Now in 2008 I still hand out those business cards and mention, “…and on the back you have a nice 2007 calendar!” which always gets a laugh! However a more timeless card would’ve been preferable.
  • VistaPrint.com has really cheap and easily designable business cards.
  • I keep about 3 business cards in my wallet at all times, it really comes in handy.
  • Sometimes at events I get a person who introduces themselves and nearly immediately hands me a business card *cough* real estate agents *cough* …these generally go immediately into the garbage. Only trade cards if there’s at least a small possibility of you two connecting again.
  • Even if you don’t have a business, a personal business card with your name, email and phone number would be nice to carry.
  • I don’t like glossy business cards, you can’t write on them.
  • It’s helpful when you get home to write interesting information about the person directly on the business card in case you forget. This has helped me several times.
  • Generally when I get home, I checkout the websites listed on the business cards I get.

Blog posted on: November 15, 2008

12 comments on “A Word On Business Cards

  1. drivelocity

    Great post! This is the type of stuff I come to your blog for… personal experience and good examples.

    Some industries expect high quality, colorful, flashy cards, i.e. car shows. Many car show entries have cards on their cars (tucked in windows, under wipers, etc.) for people to take. If you showed up with something plain, I doubt anyone would touch it.

    Also, VistaPrint offers a nice service, but if you go the free route, you end up with their logo and url on the back, which is not professional whatsoever. Those would probably go in the trash quickly.

  2. Neville


    Some industry events do require more ornate or sample-tied business cards, but those are mainly for trade shows like you mentioned.

    The personal business card is usually what I’m referring to. Haha, the first time I ordered VistaPrint cards they had that “free” logo on the back, I promptly upgraded for a few dollars :-)


  3. Jessie

    First impressions are important in many areas just like a first date as a prominent example. In the business world, your first impression often is dictated by the business card you are handed. Your company has an aura or you could call it a style. Hence, business cards need to match this image. In the highly competitive business world today, it is essential that you show people how you value your business by handling the slightest thing professionally in a quick and user-friendly manner.

  4. Settlement Loans

    Guess a bit of change and modernization here and there is a good to have, However i would still prefer to have a business card that is simple yet sophisticated…….

  5. undertoad

    When I come home from networking events, I often have a hard time remembering the person connected with the card. I think it would be a good idea for someone to start offering business cards with small photo insets of the person in the corner, much like the credit/debit cards that offer this feature for identification purposes. That would take all the work out of searching one’s memory to connect a face with a name!

  6. Anonymous

    OvernightPrints.com has reasonable prices for cards. I actually like cards with a UV coat (shiny) on one side and matte finish on the other side. I also like fancy business cards with either thermographic or embossed printing, but I’m a nerd about these things…

  7. Lulo

    I agree with Jessie 100%. I think that you don’t see business cards to play an important role because you analyze things different than the majority (this is a good thing).
    People think this way:
    Quality, good taste, sophistication, expensive = SUCCESS.

  8. Alex

    I see your point and i guess you could say that big companies speak for themselves–or their quality of service or their product itself does the advertising and not the business card. I myself tend to like the more minimalistically designed and clean looking business cards but If you're in the web or graphic design business though, it's useful to show off with an interesting or creative design.


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