It took even the creative team of an advertising agency by surprise when a fertilizer company experimented with its business cards. Tiny dry seeds were neatly embedded on one fold of the card. This had to be torn and when soaked in water for two days they would sprout.

It isn't often that large companies go for an image makeover, unless they are going for a new brand identity. Trends in business cards are limited among corporates, with an exception of a few, say creative directors of advertisement agencies.

However, the standard-size, plain white background cards are increasingly making way for cards in innovative shapes, style and colour among entrepreneurs and those in the creative field.

These include card of a fitness company that screams ‘What's your excuse?', a PR agency that has the cartoon of a turtle and hare on one side instead of the firm's name (Turtle & Hare Communication), and that of a copywriter which only has the double quotes in between a blank white space and below in smaller fonts reads “For copywriting, contact -- email.”

The best impression

Business cards seem to be getting trendier for those who want to make the first impression the best and for whom it should reflect the person's personality. L. Narayan, managing director, Silicon Labs Private Ltd., carries two sets of business cards wherever he goes. The particulars on one set are embossed in brass. “It is expensive but that is fine as the card has helped me create the first impression. People can't destroy the card either,” he says.

R. Janaki Raman, former Chief Operating Officer of Zylog Systems and now an entrepreneur, only goes by ‘JR' in his business card. “I was in the U.S. initially and people found it difficult to pronounce my name. Since then I only have my initials in the card,” he says.

Handmade and textured cards are what some like to give to showcase their skill sets, while for many start-ups, a business card with just the website and an email address or some packed with the social profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter is what speaks of them.

“Changing a corporate identity with a business card is a long process, which would affect the image of the company so not many big companies would easily go for it,” says Sanjay Bhattacharya, associate creative director, Grey.

K. Pradeep, Partner/Director, Niyati Technologies, also agrees. “There are associated brand guidelines that restrict them to dots and lines even in the smallest of collateral, like a business card,” he says.

According to M.A. Arivu, owner, The Graphic Design Shop, some companies are so particular that the alignment and texture is uniform that they even centralise printing of visiting cards. “For pharmaceutical and marketing firms, it is volumes that count. Printing business cards incurs a good portion in their budget, so not many experiment,” he says. Snow white cards are the most sought-after as they are economical, it is priced at Rs.1.40 per card, he says. Recyclable cards are also getting popular for its smoothness and finish but they are expensive, he adds.

“Digital printing has also given one getting business cards immense choice in terms of colours and gradient tones that would otherwise cost more with conventional screen and offset printing,” adds Mr. Pradeep.

Keywords: business card

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