When your business cards have seen better days...

Ever get caught before a big event with outdated or sad looking business cards?
Ever wish you could order some cards PRONTO, but know they will never arrive before the big day?
Perhaps you have time, but you want something that will stand out more than an average card.
Perhaps you would like people to keep your card longer than the trip back to their hotel room trashcan.
Today I am going to share a few ideas with you on how to get cards that stand out and update old cards to give them new life.

Let's start with a DIY shall we?

Portions of this post showcase various products provided free of charge for review.


1. Embossing Cards

Do you remember THIS TUTORIAL I wrote on embossing paper?  Basically, embossing puts a raised texture/design on your paper and it is a fun little surprise addition to any business card.  Think about it.  10-20-100 people put their business cards into your hands at an event and they all feel the same.  Take your old, boring cards, add a cute textured design to the back and WHAMMO, you are memorable if nothing else! 

2. Triple Thick Cards

If embossing is an added artistic element, then a triple thick paper gives an immediate impression of luxury, professionalism and success.  Certainly those are terms you would like associated with your brand, yes?  Check out the difference between the EXACT same Minted. cards in both regular thickness and triple thick.  It is a small thing and costs a few dollars more, but might just land you that client you really want.

3. Painting Cards

Moving from texture and feel to visual impact, sometimes old cards might just need a visual boost.  A quick and easy update is to give them gilded edges.  Simply put your cards in a "chunk" (see below) and give them a good coat of metallic paint.  Spray paint works really well, but can get your hands messy.  Craft paint keeps your hands clean, but you might have some bleed over onto cards.  In any case, you are just giving old cards a boost, so it is worth a shot either way, yes?

4. Planting Cards

Yes, you read that correctly.  If you really want people to hang onto your cards, invest a little into a product card.  For a gardener like me, nothing is better than a plantable card.  Take my info home with you, contact me then PLANT THE CARD directly into your garden and a wildflower patch pops up.  Could anything leave a better impression?  I thought not.  Mine are from the wedding and paper supplier bloomin.com. 

5.  Vinyl Stickers for Cards

If your card is just "slightly" out of date, you might consider making your own stickers to update them.  For example, last year before the American MADE Event in New York, I had my business cards, but I had acquired Looksi since printing them.  I wanted some reference to Looksi, so I printed out little bubble stickers and attached them right onto a blank spot on the card.  The back would work also.  Again, you are making a visual impact and offering a textural impact with a raised sticker.  Alex of Northstory has a slam dunk textural gift card -- see HERE -- and uses the same technique with a maple leaf on her business card.  If I ever find a good "nest" punch and some veneer I will be all over that technique!

6. Stickers Period

Any type of sticker can raise your business card from basic to awesome.  I like getting a variety of stickers (these are scalloped and flags from Minted.)  The reason I like a variety is twofold. 

A.  A sticker can give information, like my Looksi hashtag and Looksi Square stickers above and you can give out the correct card to the correct person who might need that info.

B.  A sticker makes each card slightly different and sometimes people will compare and contrast "which card" you gave them.  You know, like the sauce packets at Taco Bell?  Anytime people are getting another glance at your name and brand, that is a good thing!

7. Shape Matters

Shape matters when it comes to business cards and I choose to stick with a STANDARD shape for a reason, particularly with everyday cards.  People often keep their business cards together and while a square or round card might stand out at first, they can be easy to lose as well.  They typically cost more on top of that, so I stick to textural and visual impact to stick out from the crowd, NOT shape.

Which card to give to whom?

Let's keep talking about selective card granting.  I am a big-big fan of cards being different for different situations and professional environments you might be in.  Let's take a quick look at which card might be appropriate for what, working our way from the everyday cards to the REMEMBER ME cards.

1.  OLD CARDS with basic information are great for dropping into a giveaway or somewhere where they will be tossed.  It is always a good idea to bring a handful of these to a conference and then toss them in the trash if you end up not using them.

2. Minimal Information cards are a good everybody card.  You aren't giving away personal information to just anyone and yet you can give off a professional impression to everyone you meet.  I love these "give me a ring" cards from Minted. for this purpose.

3.  Nice cards with lots of info!  Give these to people you interact with and want to keep chatting to.  These are a great card to have at a session where you interact with a lot of people, but they are all in your genre (Say creative blogging) and most likely will hang onto your card.

4. Nice TRIPLE THICK cards with lots of info! These are the exact same cards as #3, but better.  Save these for those intimate events where you give everyone a card.  You don't want to hand out nice, expensive cards at each little event all the time helter skelter.  What a waste!  Save them and use them wisely, but remember those nice papers make a difference!

5.  Plantable Cards are more of an actual gift and I will sometimes add in a cute little seed bomb when I give these away.  These are for the people you sit and talk with for a good amount of time and know that you could build a working relationship with them.  These cards are expensive, but wonderful, so use them on your best contacts!

Honorable Mentions --

STICKERS  Remember that a sticker can turn a plain card into a humorous one, give an old card personality or cover up outdated information!  Random selection is fun!

A Weekly Planner  Why is this included?  I like having a planner along because I can immediately give brands a DATE down to the week that might work for editorial posts while handing them my business card.  It is the same concept as a dollar in hand at a garage sale.  It is harder to turn down when there is a direct offer on the table and you can SEE the (figurative) $$$.  It also helps for brands to see other brand names and labels flit past on your calendar.  You are not just some mommy typing about free stuff -- You are a 1 woman advertising agency. 

Gifts  While technically, you are not able to give away branded gifts at a blog conference, little business card add-ons are a nice way to say Remember Me!! to new people that you meet.  From seeds (Plantable paper like me!) to baked goods and tattoos, gifts are a fun way to be remembered.  My gift of choice this year are seed bombs!  Toss them anywhere to "guerilla garden".  Tossing them out in a rainstorm works best!

WRITING on cards. Though some may feel it outdated, a card that someone actually writes on is quite nice in my opinion.  I personally leave my phone number OFF of all of my cards because I don't like to give it away easily, nor do I like to use the phone very often.  I much prefer email.  If I write my phone number on your business card, it means something.  If I write a note to you, it means I want to work with you and I really want to reconnect at some point.  It is harder to throw someone's card away when they have written you a personal note, so consider always having a pen around when handing out cards and meeting new folks in your sphere of influence.

Popular is not always better.  I try to sort cards by popularity when looking for a new design and then choosing something pretty far down the list.  Why?  Because having the same business card as the blogger next to you at the table is akin to wearing the same dress to the Emmys as Jennifer Love Hewitt.  Things could be worse, but it isn't the greatest feeling in the world!  THIS is the card I choose for my full-of-info choice from Minted.  Notice that picture on the back.  A photo can really differentiate your card from the crowd.  Consider it as opposed to a basic backer.


WHEW.  Off to the conference lovelies!  I begin by speaking with Jessica Severson at a photography workshop Sunday and will be enjoying the chocolate and knowledge from the other speakers from there on out.  Wish me luck!
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BeckyB said…
These are so pretty and inspiring! Just found your blog... love it!
Laura Murphy said…
Fantastic ideas, I'm going to show this to my daughter who makes leather accessories for etsy. I agree about the standard shape, too.
Amy Renea said…
awesome Laura!! thanks!