December 3, 2020
Let's See Your Business Card

Patrick Bateman’s internal monologue in American Psycho captured it perfectly. The emphasis placed on the design and tactile experience of a business card during that era (circa the 1980s); “Look at that subtle off-white coloring, the tasteful thickness of it. Oh my god it even has a watermark”. They have served as the physical embodiment of taste, style and professionalism. They speak to their possessors’ position in the professional ecosystem. Business cards also have actual functionality. Office hours, direct line, email even social media information are elegantly displayed in a compact 3.5 by 2 inch design. They have retained intrinsic value despite obsolescence.

So what’s changed? The business card has been digitized. Be it your contact card on your iPhone, your QR code or physical card they all transition recipients to a digital experience. This metamorphosis has shifted the focus from aesthetics to substance. So ecru, eggshell or bone are not as important as pedigree, experience, certifications, recommendations and original content. Of course, it’s all still wrapped in graphically pleasing packages but the significant point of differentiation is substance. The same effort placed on the selection of typeface, raised versus embossed, must now be aimed at curating the digital experience that defines you, your business card.

Many believe they can pick the channel that defines them, what best represents them professionally. It’s not as simple as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. The tapestry is created by the interweaving of several components; all the social elements along with both solicited and unsolicited customer/peer feedback. The lack of participation is also part of the overall experience. Think of it as negative space. Where you aren’t is as important as where you are in the digital landscape.

Ultimately the significance of the business card remains. It has moved from tactile to experiential with an emphasis on substance and content. Manicure and curate, with Batemanesque levels of specificity, in order to accurately capture your personage, not as an avatar but full complexity, your competence, creativity, guiding principles and overall philosophy delivered with the paced expertise of a seasoned docent.

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