A lot of designers and creative professionals put a lot of time and energy and money into business cards. And why not? It’s a great opportunity to show off your personality, your design sense, and, to some extent, your design skills.

The intention is that with flashy, unique and well-designed cards, you’re more likely to make an impression on prospective clients, be remembered and, thus, contacted for your services.

However, is that truly the case? If you’re an artist with a flashy card, has it worked for you? Have you gotten calls or emails by virtue of you having a nice looking card?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen my share of impressive, creative business cards and they have indeed been captivating, at least for a short while. However, as impressed as I am by these cards, they have never made me want to pick up the phone or write an email.

I think a lot of people forget that the most important part of presenting your card to someone isn’t the card itself and how it looks.

The most important part of presenting your card is the opportunity to interact on a more human level, and not just through the paper and ink to which we as artists are so accustomed.

The real opportunity to impress isn’t embedded in that little rectangular piece of cardboard. It lies within your ability to make the card you’re about to give to an individual be relevant enough for that person to want to get in touch with you.

The good, old business card has been a permanent fixture in the world of professionals for a very, very long time. No one is really impressed by them anymore (at least not in the way we, as givers of the business cards, hope). I guess that’s why so many of us put so much time and effort into making our cards stand out in the first place.

However, the reality is that, more often than not, business cards get stuffed in wallets, purses and back pockets, only to be forgotten or thrown away. Think about the last time someone handed you his or her business card (even a really beautiful, expensive looking card). When did you find it again?

Now think about someone who made an impression on you by being, what I like to call, "an interesting human being." When did you decide you’d call them back?

The trick with business cards isn’t the card itself. You could write your contact info on a beverage coaster and you basically have a business card.

Making an impression is not your card’s job. That’s your job.

More often, your business card will just be ignored, whereas a truly impressive person who knows how to communicate effectively about his or her work is very hard to forget.

I’m not saying that you should forego having a super fancy, elaborate card to give out to people. I guess what I’m really asking is this: What good is a really impressive looking card if the person handing it to you is not?


Isaac is the Co-Founder and Chief Editor of Design Instruct. He has experience in various design and art related fields including design, illustration, and photography. He's in charge of making sure that Design Instruct publishes high quality content that professional designers and digital artists demand and expect. Get in touch via email and on Twitter as @designinstruct or @IAMTHEGUBE.