Business Cards... Do We Still Need Them?

For so many years a business card was a no-brainer. Everyone and everyone wanted one, and used them all the time. Handing them here and there, pinning them to those neighborhood bulletin boards. That little piece of card stock with your name and phone number was exchanged during introductions, enclosed in envelopes to associates, inserted in your presentation folder and left on the desks of colleagues.

But like many things that used to be... trends are changing. Google the phrase: "are business cards still relevant" and lots of articles come up with differing opinions. The subject has become controversial.

With digital file exchanges, email signatures and smart phones that can connect with each other, does a 3.5' x 2" piece of stiff paper mean anything anymore? 

I'd like to think that it does, and I think lots of other people do too.

There are many reasons that I like to exchange business cards with my colleagues.  One of the big things for me: seeing a name in print and associating that name to the face in front of me helps me remember that person more easily.

Also - as a designer I like to examine the look and feel of a card and allow it to become part of my first impression.  A quick look at a card can give me some initial insight... Corporate or creative? Startup or Established? Employee or executive?  Funky or Traditional?

And if the card is super cool, beautifully designed, humorous or made with atypical materials, it can tell me even more, and can be a great conversation starter. Even if it's: "day glo orange is an interesting choice - how did you settle on that?" or "wow... where did you have these steel cards manufactured?"

But far and away the strongest argument I have for keeping business cards "a thing" is personal contact.

In this digital world we live in, that simple exchange, person to person while looking into another set of eyes, is so much more valuable than diddling around with a smart phone to add new digits into my contacts.

I say, print more rectangles!  Keep asking for business cards and keep sharing your own.

No matter how far along we get with the digital exchange of information - I'd like to think that we will not soon lose the ability to maintain those simplest of human connections in business.


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