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  1. #1
    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    Exclamation Unconventional Business Cards

    Dear all,

    I have recently been looking into business cards, and something caught my eye, that being unconventional business cards. I read a few good articles on them, all of which have come with positive appraisal on them.

    I have one slight problem, and it's not the design, it's more to do with were you print such things. I understand that often getting things online is often cheaper. I have no been able to find a place that sells them, even if with good pal Google.

    I am going to Grantham (UK print store) tomorrow, but the likeliness that they are involved in such printouts is slim. I would imagine that printing these cards would be double if not triple the price, and the people who demand that would be rather slim.

    Does anybody have any information about printing unconventional business cards? It would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    After doing my own research, my only conclusion about printing unconventional collateral material (such as business cards) is going to depend on how unconventional they are. For example, if I own a furniture shop and determine I want business cards made out of wood, you have to research what shop would print these, would you have to use a lacquer on the wood if using color besides black, etc. Obviously Kinkos would not be the printer for these, but what about a wood craftsman? And would the cost of having something this unconventional be worth it? What would the ROI be on such a gamble? What about the spoken marketing message - your verbal presentation, or "elevator speech", which should precede your business card?

    I agree that templated business cards should not be used in place of something actually designed and made to reflect your business. My question would be this: If everyone is using something unconventional, how would your business "stick out" from the competition? I"ll be blogging about this later from my site - this is a great topic!

  3. #3
    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by deseynerseye View Post
    I agree that templated business cards should not be used in place of something actually designed and made to reflect your business. My question would be this: If everyone is using something unconventional, how would your business "stick out" from the competition? I"ll be blogging about this later from my site - this is a great topic!
    I always come up with great topics!

    But seriously, not everybody would have an unconventional business card. Many people are tight with their money and won't spend more than the bare minimum, so I seriously don't see this happening until it becomes a cheaper option.

    But let's say if everybody had unconventional business cards, they would all stick out in their own little way, so it would not be that bad.

    Can you give me the URL for your blog?

  4. #4
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    Sure thing, Sega - but I haven't been able to post just yet, I'm still trying to "unswamp" myself from the past 2-3 days. I'll try to get that done tonight. In the meantime: http://deseynerseye.blogspot.com

    I agree that right now it's unique still, but as it becomes more affordable an option it may lose its uniqueness - only time can tell that one. Also, which I'll go more in depth on my blog, if your "elevator speech" doesn't reach the value the listener needs to hear, the uniqueness of the card may still be lost.

    What kind of unconventional card are you trying to print? What line of work do you do? Cheers!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist rhysboy84's Avatar
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    Bear in mind that by having an "unconventional" business card, you may make it inconvenient. If it's made out of wood, or twice the size, or fold out, you'll make it tricky for people to stick in places that they normally stick business cards (i.e. business card holders, wallets, etc.). Sure they may keep them out, but they may chuck them instead.

    The best business card I saw was one for a computer company that was double sided, with "3 top tips for PC Repair" that he stuck on every computer that he made. Not only did he get more repair enquiries, but the 3 top tips were common things that go wrong, easy to put right, and not really billable. He got more enquiries for less work!
    I'm Rhys Wynne & I blog at Winwar Media
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    Excellent points, rhysboy84! That goes back to the message aspect, and you made an excellent point. It matters more what's on your card rather than what it's made out of. I know a realtor who made his cards 1/8" taller on purpose so his cards would stick out and away from competitors, but you're right - I can't put his card in a normal card holder.

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    i did a bit of research on this too. basically what i found is that if you talk to anyone in the print industry, specifically for products and packaging design, they'll tell it's no sweat to get any idea done. so i think the main thing is to think of it less of a business card, and more of a promotional product, depending on the gimic you'll be using.

    the really popular one is the dental offices with the floss in it. or the divorce lawyer who's card is preforated so the two parties can split the card up and walk away.

  8. #8
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    The most unconventional business card I have ever seen was where someone used a specially crafted CD (shaped in the size of a business card) which had a flash based portfolio of the goods they offered on them (like a big presentation) and PDF's of useful information in relation to their business. Though these days a conventional business card with a link to your web portfolio is probably more useful to the end user (who will only go and forget where they left the card)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    The most unconventional business card I have ever seen was where someone used a specially crafted CD
    oh don't get me started on that one lol

    i wanted to make those because of my music work. i did all kinds of research, even bought a few. learned how to print on them with my HP printer which has a disc drive. in the end though i realized that they are not very effective because many people have mac laptops, which have no tray in them. so alas i gave up on that project.

    i once read a tutorial on how to use ruby on rails so you can make promotional codes on your cards for people to redeem special downloads. you could keep track of your retention rate etc.

    sounded really cool.

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrtunes View Post
    i once read a tutorial on how to use ruby on rails so you can make promotional codes on your cards for people to redeem special downloads. you could keep track of your retention rate etc.
    Interesting idea, card based promotions, would be a good way to drum up business too

  11. #11
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    I quite like the idea of augmented reality business cards. Standard card but with an image that allows 3d interaction via a camera. Limited scope for people to view, but doesn't inconvenience a normal recipient of a card. There's probably a lot better use in 3d could be made than the face in this clip but gives an idea of what's possible:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qoucBw60jM

  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    In my option, a business card should fit snug in the wallet.
    Let your actual design work do the talking,
    dont hinder the client with a useless novelty item.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Addict EJ's Avatar
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    Best thing to do is go with a common size, but maybe stand out through the design of the card, or maybe the material. Just using recycled paper might make a big difference.
    “There's a way to do it better - find it.”
    — Thomas Edison

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict zipperz's Avatar
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    With biz cards you have to be a little careful about size a standard size is designed to fit in 99.9% of wallets, so if it is bigger it won’t fit and is more likely to end up in the trash at the end of the day.

    Other materials like wood, plastic, metal etc most people label them as “promotional materials” magnets, key chains, fishing lures. Plastic stuff is usually cheap to produce metal and wood more.

    I wanted to get a nice metal bottle opener with my logo and web address on it but it would be $600.+ the price put a damper on it..


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