The era of cookie-cutter advertising is over. Long gone are the days of identical suit-jackets, identical sedans, and identical business cards. Today’s creative entrepreneur has to do something different–something better–if he or she wants to stand out. Interactive business cards–cards that encourage the people using them to play with them rather than just keep them in their wallet–are one excellent way of taking that step outside the ordinary.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Image via Flickr by Ran Yaniv Hartstein
The first step in making a business card is to brainstorm. What can you make a business card out of? What kinds of business-relevant flat (or flatten-able) things can you make out of those materials? How much information do you want to include on the business card aside from contact information? Can you think of a design that relates to your business? The only limitations on your brainstorming should be that:
- It should fit in the same rough amount of space that a normal credit card fits into
- It shouldn’t destroy someone’s wallet/card holder when they put it in or take it out
- It should give the person receiving it something to do. (That’s what makes it interactive!)
Step 2: Narrow It Down
The step that always comes after brainstorming: go through your list and cross off ideas that simply don’t work. Start by narrowing your focus to just the ideas most relevant to your business then cross off the ones that would be too fragile or complicated. Check the remaining ideas against your budget. The ones left over are your candidate pool; pick the one you think represents the best co-optimization of your business’ image and practical functionality. Look for ideas that include useful tools.
Step 3: Make a Prototype
Image via Flickr by yuichirock
There are several tools that will allow you to create your business cards online to customize your interactive ideas. Find one that makes sense to you and figure out what it will take to get a prototype set made. Even though it might be more expensive per card, it’s always wise to get a small batch of the prototype built so that you can hand them around your company and encourage people to “stress test” the cards. Ideas like this can seem absolutely perfect and then end up being not quite viable for a wide variety of unexpected reasons. Prototype runs are always a good idea.
Step 4: Order a Good Run
If the people around the company like them and there are no major complaints, order a nice big batch and start spreading them around! Always carry a set with you; you never know who you’ll run into out in the world. Make sure to give out a business card after every meeting and interview.
Interactive business cards, done right, leave a lasting impression. An innovative business card can easily become a conversation piece, a source of entertainment, or serve an actual function for the people carrying them — and every time they get one out to use or play with it, they’ll remember you fondly.