Reviewing weird & wonderful business cards

Business cards. One small piece of card and so say so much. Card’s aren’t just to hand out and forget about, they are to send a strong message about why that person should take notice of your business.

There are so many ways to do this, not everyone is going to like every new idea either, but here’s some examples of businesses that have put their head above the parapet with this iconic piece of stationary.

Being noticed is great, but we have to ensure we are getting return on investment and setting the right impression at the same time. I therefore offer up my thoughts on each one. Lucky you!

THE DUEL FUNCTION

Broke Bike Alley

Broke bike alley

Two different business cards, 2 different functions. Above left works as a wee tool kit for your bike, along with mini inch ruler & bottle opener. Above right is a bike tyre repair patch.
ProsCons
Both are wonderfully creative and their usefulness greatly increases their shelf life and memorability and as they are obviously being distributed to bike owners, they may be the only card to live permanently in a wallet.As we have all discovered from time to time the main factor to put a dampener to our creativity is cost. And in this case, the production costs would be high. Not  a problem if the card could be giving the first impression to a prospective client holding big budget purse strings. But for bicycle repair this is highly unlikely.
My Verdict
Whilst undoubtedly distributing this type of card will reap more business, but not enough to financially compensate for the cost.Sadly it seems Back Alley Bikes is no longer in operation.

Mitnick Security

Mitnick Security

A lock pick kit built in to a business card. Created for the head of a global security company who specialise in testing advanced cyber security systems by hacking in to them. We think this is fantastic and it works too! And whilst of course whilst the cost to create will be high, a single client win will no doubt reap financial reward in it’s hundreds of thousands.
ProsCons
This is more than a business card, Kevin Mitnick is one of the worlds most effective hackers and enjoys a celebrity status because of it. These cards are prized by his followers and a volume of social media exists around how to obtain one.The only hole we can pick in this card is that it represents ‘physical hacking’ in other words breaking in to a building or object as opposed to virtually.
My Verdict
Love it. Want one!

Bon Vivant

Bon Vivant

A quirky little item from a cheese shop in Brazil, whilst not strictly a business card but more a promotional product we have included because cheese is great.

THE EDIBLE

Bombay Bakery

 

Biscuit wafer business cards, what better way to showcase your product?
ProsCons
Using non traditional materials for business cards is usually a pricey business but no doubt these were made in-house with a bespoke cutter. Plus it wouldn’t be hard to take a few out with you for networking events providing they were in individual hygienic bag.They are likely to have been munched before the contact has got back to their place of work.
My Verdict
If cost effective, why not? It put’s personality in to your business and as Bombay Bakery is a catchy name, whilst the contact details may be ingested the impression has not and google is never far from our fingertips.

Meat Cards – Supplier

meatcards

Made of dried meat such as jerky or biltong and burnt with a 150 watt CO2 laser these business cards a produced by a company called Meat Cards for businesses.
ProsCons
It may have a longer shelf life than card but is still edibleThere will be a lack of quality consistency and would only work for niche businesses/individuals.
My Verdict
Whilst a great idea for Survival Training (as above) or jerkey producers, having your business represented by a strip of dead animal will generally be regarded as a bit distasteful at best and at worst, offensive.

ADDING ANOTHER DIMENSION

Gravez Dottro – Supplier of LED Lit Business Cards

LED lit business cards

This company invented a unique business card made of perspex and engraved with brand & contact information.The card lights up when it is held on its’ aluminium corner where the little LED is concealed.
ProsCons
This is undeniably very impressive, although a bit thicker, it can easily sit with other business cards. It will certainly stand out and denotes representing a business that is innovative and forward thinking.Even once the battery has died, you are still left with a stylish usable business card.If the business doesn’t link the lighting to their product/services or uses a tag line such as ‘illuminating clients across the UK’ then it could just be regarded as gimmicky and perhaps a bit ‘fur coat and no knickers’.
My Verdict
This isn’t a cheap unit but it really does stand out, if it’s lighting aspect fits with the brand and big contracts could be won then this would definitely be a good idea for top end prospects.

MOD Hair

MOD Hair -- musical comb

Created for a rock themed salon in Rome, this card/comb plays Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones when you run your thumb down its teeth.

As this unit just carries generic business details rather than specific to an individual it’s classed as a promotional item (which can be produced in high volumes). So doesn’t get a full review.

But we have to say, we love it! A business card that is a comb that plays rock?  For a rock themed hair salon? How great is that? It doesn’t get any better, surely?

 

ACTIVITY BASED

Tok & Stok Furniture

Tok & Stok Business Card

The business card then you can turn in to a little chair.
ProsCons
This offers a great opportunity for a prospect to take a few minutes out of their grown up day to enjoy this simple activity. It then becomes a 3D representation of a product sold by Tok & Stok.Once it’s been built it’s probably not going to have a long shelf life. It’s a bit of fun but the next important meeting the prospect has will probably see it going straight in the bin.
My Verdict
The cost will probably compare to a high end card so no astronomical but I think it’s  a bit of a flash in a pan. A bit of fun and then in the bin it goes.

 Marko Stanzl – Hair Stylist

hairdresser

A business card you can style yourself! This is the quirky offering of a freelance hairstylist.
ProsCons
It’s memorable and fun. Unlike the chair card this can be undone and flattened again to go back in the pileIt’s more likely to hit the bin than go back in the business card pile.
My Verdict
It’s quirky and memorable but ultimately doesn’t demonstrate quality hairstyling, could be regarded as a bit childish, gaudy and tacky. It’s a no from us.

Mais Pilates

Mais final

Using the tag line ‘Wake up your body’ these cards encourage you to do just that by teasing out the cards head and limbs and having a little play.
ProsCons
Not only memorable and fun, the activity part of the card relates directly to the services offered. Plus it can transform back in to a simple card so not likely to go in the bin.It looks like these need to be assembled at the printers and with such an intricate design it will accrue a relatively high cost per unit.
My Verdict
Whilst I love it, it’s not likely to get a good return on investment, although each client can bring in hundreds a year, how many cards need to be distributed to gain each new client?

Reactor Design Studio

Reactor

With a simple cut out these cards work as traditional business cards or can be popped up to sit on a desk.
ProsCons
A simple change to the traditional business card makes them really stand out. This card does a good job of showcasing their design approach.Can’t think of a single one!
My Verdict
I think these are great, they have added a simple quirk to the traditional business card which really makes them stand out. They sell design services and this demonstrates a forward thinking approach and for very little additional cost per unit.

EXAMPLES FOR FREELANCERS & SMALL / MICRO BUSINESSES

Lush – Lawn Maintenance

Lush Lawn Maintenance

Using the tag line ‘For best results, spread seeds then add Lush’ this lawn & property maintenance company have created something memorable and strongly linked to their services.
ProsCons
I think this is really sweet and would sow the seeds out of curiosity. The envelope functions as a serviceable enough business card.As it is a simple envelope, it will be pretty flimsy and not last a long time.
My Verdict
A little winner and will cost less than a traditional business card as it is ultimately a printed envelope, it will require some work at home to fill them with seeds but shouldn’t be a problem for a small business.

Yuka Suzari – Hair & Make Up Artist

Yuka Sazari

A playful and funky design that wouldn’t break the bank.
ProsCons
This looks like a traditional cost effective print with the addition of punched holes and slides attached. As Yuka appears to be a high profile artist this labour was probably carried out by the printer which would add to the cost considerably, however the idea would work with a make-up artist punching & attaching slides manually at home.Can’t think of a single downside, not one.
My Verdict
Building personable relationships is part of a successful make-up artists business, these cards are memorable, funky and offer a little gift. When purchased in bulk these little coloured slides costs just pennies. A real winner that won’t break the bank.

Ovi Prunean – Painter & Decorator

Painter Business Card

Based on the design of paint sampler card this is eye catching and witty. To me this card denotes the feelings of excitement one experiences when changing the appearance of one’s home.
ProsCons
It’s a fine thick embossed card which denotes quality, exactly the right impression a conscientious painter would want to project. It also shows wit and intelligence which will also help secure those contracts.With such a high gsm (thickness of paper) and with the embossing this is one high end pricy business card. Will a painter & decorator get a good return on his investment for this? Considering the amount that need distributing it’s not likely.
My Verdict
Lovely idea, looks great and emanates quality but not feasible financially, if printed on a more standard card and without the embossing it should still work the same however.

Web Design Harlow

Web Design Harlow

A business card? Or a laptop for a borrower? This is another great yet simple design.
ProsCons
Memorable, amusing and simple. It demonstrates the businesses services through its shape and printThis does offer some limitation as one would hope for some ‘web design flourish’ on the card itself to showcase its services. Perhaps this could be achieved on the screen alone, it does however leave a lot
My Verdict
We really like this, but when someone makes a decision on contracting a web designer one of their main priorities is the ‘site design flourish’ which is lacking on this. But a great idea non the less, it could probably do with the screen showing a particularly sexy homepage and then it would be a winner.

Lou Lou Dreaming – Craft Products

loulou dreaming

Printed by the artist (Louise Firinne) herself, these cards show that with a bit of imagination and handywork you can create your own business cards that look professional in their own crafty way.
ProsCons
This type of card is great for your crafty folk and would work well for wedding planners too.There is a fair amount of labour attached to these cards and not easy to replicate without the right studio equipment.
My Verdict
Time consuming but perfect for certain craft businesses that have their own studio equipment.

Nina Gregier – Graphic Designer

nina business card

Simple but craftastic cards. Fresh and original by displaying basic business information with thread.I’m guessing the holes are hand punched using a bespoke stencil and then sown. Something you can do in front of the telly.
ProsCons
A great homemade card that looks professional and stands out for its innovative use of thread. Using some simple items, items, card, thread and a needle, these can be made at home in front of the telly.The graphic designer describes her areas of expertise as typography, branding and print design. However lovely these cards they denote the crafts rather than modern, digitally created graphic design.
My Verdict
I love this design and think it would work very well for craft businesses, or those in textiles or fashion but I’m not sure it works in showcasing a graphic designers work.