Earlier this month, we provided the 411 on all things self-branding.

What’s next? It may be time to develop a business card.

Traditionally used by employees of a company, business cards are becoming a popular self-branding item for entrepreneurs and job seekers as well. Here’s the catch: In today’s world, you can’t have any old card. It needs to stand out just as much as the rest of your brand.

We’ve found a few examples that go above and beyond that call.

SeedBizCardCreated by: http://struck.com/work/lush-identity-card-design

reactor

Created by: http://www.yourreactor.com/

CheeseGraterBizCard

Image source: http://mashable.com/2013/05/16/crazy-business-cards/ 

We’re not saying you have to go this far out of the box (kudos if you do!) But it is important for your card to reflect your brand. This way, when you’re at a swanky networking event, you’ll have the card that others remember.

At Gavin, we recommend designing a branded card that reflects your other marketing materials. (Check out a few examples of our work from our awesome creative team.)

Once you pin down your aesthetic, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Focus first on the basics: Your name, job title and main contact, all of which should be clearly displayed. Legibility is key. You want to have a kickass design, but not at the expense of your message of who you are and what you do.
  • Embrace innovation, but stay practical: This beef jerky business card for an adventure company seems like a great idea but once that jerky is eaten; the information is lost for good. The “Growing Business Card” seems like a cute idea; however, once the plant has sprouted you’re left wondering where to place the card.
  • Consider a tagline: This will give potential connections a look into what you do and could be a great way to strike up conversation.
  • If using imagery, don’t rely on a Google images search: Your card should show your unique identity, so use original content to showcase this.
  • Stay relevant: If you are a job seeker, consider including a link to your LinkedIn page or personal website showcasing past work and portfolios. If your industry widely uses Twitter, add your handle.
  • Update as needed: If your information changes, do not scratch out and rewrite a phone number or job title. It’s worth paying for a new order of cards knowing they are representing you properly.
  • Get that card out there! It’s always good to have a few cards on hand at all times — you never know whom you might run into.

Once you begin to see your business card as an extension of your brand — whether for a company or for yourself — you’ll be well on your way to success.