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20 Creative and Dramatic Enhancements for Business Cards

Your business card is your calling card. It's the first impression someone has of you, oftentimes whether or not you've actually even met in person. When another person passes your business card out as a referral, you gain an edge as that person is effectively vouching for you and the service that you provide. Your business card should visually support that recommendation, giving you an instant foot in the door for a possible business opportunity.

An unlimited number of personalized details go into creating the perfect business card for your company or your services. What color will you choose? Will it be glossy or matte? How thick is the cardstock? But business card design goes far beyond paper type and print color. Today's advances in printing technology and marketing design allow you to design just about anything you can imagine, slap your name and contact information on it, and print it up for distribution to the masses or to targeted prospects.

Here are 20 creative enhancements to consider as you design a professional yet memorable business card for yourself or your business.

  1. Raised Print - There's something oh-so-satisfying about running your thumb over raised print on a business card. It's so subtle yet so subliminal, getting your name and company name embedded a little deeper in the minds of those you meet. Consider embossing as well as special printing techniques like thermography that deliver a fashionable raised print.

  2. Foil - It's hard to mistake the metallic sheen of polished business cards boasting a touch of foil. The amount of foil and the specific areas covered in foil are up to you. Start simple with just the text or build it out to include your logo or other graphical elements.

  3. Rounded Corners - While not a new concept, the idea of rounded corners on your business cards does give an immediately noticeable design differentiation from 90% of the other business cards out there.

  4. Non-Paper Material - Plastic, metal, even wood can serve as the canvas for your contact information. Get creative and make a connection to your business.

  5. Cutouts - Cutout business card designs are all the rage right now, adding dimension and a daring dynamic to your cards. Laser out a logo, an initial or monogram, or an entire silhouette scene for truly dramatic effects.

  6. Holograms - Get your message across with no mistake using creative holographic designs on your business card. Cleverly show off a before + after visual of what your company does or multiple versions of some product that you offer.

  7. Textured Paper - Something as simple as the touch and feel of the paper you choose for your cards really does make a difference. Give the immediate perception of quality with patterned, textured cardstock that feels as nice as it looks.

  8. Non-Straight Edges - Unique borders and edges on your business cards change the vibe completely. Consider whether your company or line of work would benefit from a touch of attitude or a bit of contemporary charm created through jagged, curved, or otherwise modified edges.

  9. Unique Shapes - All business cards are not one-size-fits-all. Think outside of the 3.5 x 2 inch rectangle and consider whether a different shape or size would make the cut for your company's calling card.

  10. Optical Illusions - Anything that's going to make your business card a conversation piece is a huge win. Remember the Magic Eye puzzles? Your business card could be just as eye-catching.

  11. Transparent - Create a sharp look with a clear plastic card that features colored ink or colored coatings. The largely see-through design adds enough visual appeal to keep your card in your customer's collection for quite some time.

  12. Folded Designs - Sometimes a single business card doesn't get the whole message across. Instead, consider folded business card designs that add another dimension to your first impression. Folded business cards can stand on their own, display and conceal information, and add a special touch to your contact details.

  13. Mini Envelopes - Add a layer of intricacy or confidentiality to your business cards with petite envelopes that convey a touch of graceful beauty or a hint of mystery. As an added bonus, you can slip additional tiny trinkets or bits of marketing inside the envelope, such as a complimentary coupon, a token, or a slip of paper with a schedule or business specials.

  14. Fully Round - In the world of business cards, a totally round card is sure to turn heads. It may not fit neatly into your prospect's stack of collected business cards at the tradeshow, but isn't that the point? Standing out is a good thing.

  15. Embossed - Go back to old school elegance with the look of handcrafted charm. Embossed details on business cards add a hint of glamour and class. The raised feel adds interest, giving your cards a tactile edge to match the visual allure.

  16. Colored Edges - Subtle coloring on the edges of your cards turn to wow factor when you stack them up for the taking. Something so simple still sets your cards apart with a pretty look that doesn't detract from your information or your messaging.

  17. Ombre - The trend continues in the world of printing with attractive designs sporting dip-dye, gradient, and ombre coloring. Enhance your business cards with visually appealing two-tone designs that are sure to catch your prospective customers' eyes.

  18. Cards that Reveal - Pull-strips and tabs can be nearly irresistible to those you meet. Revel in money well spent as you meet new folks and watch as they can't help but tug on the pull-strips or tabs on your business cards. These are another style likely to remain in your customers' collections for a while, for their sheer uniqueness if nothing else.

  19. Origami - Keep the scales tipped in terms of tactile goodness with yet another style of business card that begs for interaction. Origami business cards keep things interesting with movable parts and the satisfaction of creating a memorable meeting with your potential customers.

  20. 3D - Traditionally, most business cards have fallen into the flat, roughly two-dimensional variety. Up the ante on your card's impact with a three-dimensional design. 3D business cards may not be practical in all applications, but even if your cards aren't physically three dimensions, you can still have some fun with them. Create a visual statement with graphics and borders that appear to be 3D but actually are as flat as can be.

Before jumping into your latest business card design head first, make sure you consider your budget as well as the message you are looking to project. Business cards offer many benefits but the cost can certainly add up the fancier you get with your designs. A successful business card is clearly legible, pleasant to look at, unique, and free from misspellings.

Even with the current state of technology, the business card exchange continues to be an expected ritual in the corporate world. Having impressive business cards to pass around can spark conversations and keep your brand on hand for an indefinite time. Give some thought to these creative ways you can enhance the look and feel of your business cards for a great first impression every time.