Corporate business card printing has certainly gone a long way since the 1980s setting of that infamous scene in American Psycho. While the purpose of business cards has not changed since then, the way business cards are made and the way they look and feel has also changed.
Here are 5 trends in corporate business card printing today.
1.) Mass customization
Even as recently as a few decades ago, highly customized business cards were really only for those who can justify the relative expense of creating a custom design. Most business cards were made at neighborhood print shops and tended to be quite plain by today’s standards. Few people would also go through the trouble to have special artwork and designs added, as the bar to this was relatively high.
Starting in the 90s, the appearance of online “print-on-demand” services and the accessibility of design programs led to a renaissance in business cards customization. The mobile tech revolution that followed later and the easy access to design knowledge and digital printers that followed soon allowed business cards to be “mass-customized”, rather than mass produced, making it easy to create unique cards in quantity to serve different departments in an enterprise at a reasonable cost.
Somewhat surprisingly, mass customization still hasn’t taken over the entire business card scene. However, outside of a few handmade artisanal cards, this will likely be the way we get all our cards in the near future.
2.) Interactive design
Business cards that allow you to do more than just display contact information are a favorite topic for clickbait sites. Back in the day, interactive business cards usually meant coupons or possibly a QR code included in the card. These days, however, clever designers have stretched the possibilities of the business card medium in order to create cards that are as much works of art as they are business tools.
However, despite their popularity on the internet, you don’t see them around as often as you might expect. Apart from not always being easy to store in standard wallets and card cases, these cards can be significantly more expensive in terms of time and production costs. Not all designs will necessarily be scalable, bringing the costs higher. These are likely why interactive cards are not quite as commonplace as you might think.
3.) New materials
Thanks to new types of printers, it’s fairly common these days to find business cards made from different grades of clear and translucent plastic, wood, or even metal. While often used to denote a futuristic look, some specialty printers will customize these cards with embossing and engraving reminiscent of traditional business cards. These types of business cards, while increasing in popularity, still have yet to find widespread adoption outside of the tech and creative industry. However, we will likely see more and more cards made from novel materials in every design and aesthetic imaginable.
4.) Puns and symbols
Playful puns and visual metaphors are nothing new. However, they’re somewhat more easily found today than they used to be, thanks to a relaxing of norms and a desire to use design and copy to humanize businesses. Using humor can make a business card and the brand easier to remember than it otherwise would be. However, there are many challenges involved in crafting the right kind of joke, especially one that suits the character of your corporate identity. Perhaps that’s why we don’t see these cards used that often for larger businesses.
5.) Embossed and engraved business cards
Time-tested, centuries-old processes such as engraving and embossing have received a resurgence in interest, as of late. This recent positive reevaluation of classic engraved and embossed business cards is likely the result of recent trends towards minimalist design, which itself is also a reaction to the often cluttered designs we see today. The fact that it’s easier than ever before to find print experts that specialize in such demanding types of cards has also made them a far more appealing option than they may have been a generation ago.
Engraved and embossed business cards circumvent one of the biggest issues with minimalist business cards, which is the perceived lack of visual excitement or texture. One problem many embossed and engraved business cards have is the relative sameness and lack of dynamics that can happen when a designer tries to play things a bit too safe. Embossing and engraving add an appealing visual and tactile element to cards that can elevate even the simplest designs without the need for cluttering up more space.