'Visit my profile': A new generation of business cards

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Some sources suggest the practice of trading business cards dates back almost 400 years to a time when the aristocracy traded visiting cards as a form of introduction. Today, the exchange of business cards is well engrained in professional circles, and ordering business cards is one of the first tasks completed when beginning a new job. Until recently, these cards were typically of a conservative design; while some might have had raised lettering or unusual fonts, very few were printed with colors.

Today the Internet and improved printing techniques provide a wide range of design and color choices for our business cards. And because many of our introductions now take place online, some card suppliers are linking our cards to our online activity. For example, if you want to promote your social media profiles, such as your LinkedIn profile, Zazzle offers cards with a social media theme. (More on this company later.)

Including social media profile links on your card makes it easier for other professionals you meet to find you online. And your connection through a social media site will still function whether you stay with your current employer or not. So even if you change jobs and your card becomes obsolete, the link to your profile won't.

One of my favorite business card companies is MOO, a company founded in 2004. Through their website, anyone can easily and quickly create incredible cards with a photo on one side and contact information on the other. Because you can use up to 50 photos of your own, you can choose to highlight photos from projects you have completed throughout the year. Then when you pass out your card, not only are you sharing your contact information, but you have left an image of your product. As an example, below are the images of one of the cards I had printed. One side shows a photo of a 3D environment (in this case, not created by me) and the other shows the back side of the card with my contact information.

 Business Card by MOO

While the images create a positive impression, one other benefit I cannot adequately convey here is the feel of the cards. They are made of a high-quality, smooth paper stock that's heavier than traditional cards. The company offers standard sizes and smaller sizes called mini-cards. And last week, the company announced a new product developed through a partnership with Facebook to create cards based on Facebook's timeline feature. By following the instructions on the MOO blog, people can now create a set of cards that emulate the Facebook header. Contact information is then placed on the back of the card. To promote these new cards, MOO offered the first 200,000 customers a free pack of 50 cards. (As of Jan 8, this offer was still open because I was able to order a pack for free.)

Although I use MOO to print my cards, other companies offer similar choices. Vistaprint offers customers designs for many different themes or industries. Customers can also upload their own images, although Vistaprint does not seem to have the same ability as MOO to offer multiple images in the same pack of cards. But the prices reflect this  Vistaprint cards cost less than MOO cards.

Another great site is Zazzle.com. I normally visit the site for customized t-shirts and coffee mugs, but they also offer custom business cards at prices comparable to those found at Vistaprint. Here's a link to cards with the company's construction theme: http://www.zazzle.com/construction+businesscards. You can also design your own theme. On most of the cards offered, all you have to do is fill in your own profile information.

In the end, it doesn't really matter where or how you get your business cards, but it is important to use those cards to promote your social media links. In this economy your online profiles may be more permanent than your contact information at your current job.

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January 19, 2012

Great information. How does the price compare with "normal" business card suppliers?.

Posted By: osantos | Time: 1:50:12.387 PM

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March 18, 2012

@osantos From what I can tell, these cards can cost up to 5X more than the traditional business cards. The difference is most likely due to the ability to have full color, printing on both sides, and a higher quality paper stock.

Posted By: Pam Broviak | Time: 11:00:05.277 AM



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About the Blogger

Pam Broviak

thumbnail image A former senior editor of PUBLIC WORKS, Pam Broviak publishes the Public Works Group Blog at http://www.publicworksgroup.com/blog. (All views expressed in this blog are her own and not those of PUBLIC WORKS.)