First impressions are everything! Business cards have always been a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. They serve both functional and practical purposes and have the potential to leave a lasting impression, either good or bad, on those you encounter. Business cards are a form of branding, an extension of your personality, persona, and uniqueness while communicating your personal values. Although some are more creative than others, all possess various but diverse elements of design including: assorted fonts, textures, shapes, sizes, levels of legibility, and use of logos as well as the addition of atypical information or purposeful and blatant omissions.
Today, our consultants rank and also share their insight and expertise on the 15 greatest business cards in pop culture.
15. R. Sterling, Quantum of Solace (2008)
Experts say: Matte Black is a bold choice. Stylish and sophisticated, the monochromatic color scheme oozes sex appeal.
14. Tobias FÃ¼nke M.D., Arrested Development: “Forget Me Now” (2005)
Experts say: Classic design. Hard stock with Baskerville font. The gold internal framing pulls you inward. Great use of space including the oval monogram. I assume that’s pronounced a-nal-ra-pist?
13. Ace Ventura, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
Experts say: The flamboyant caricature in the center is silly, but eye-catching. The entire space is used, but it doesn’t feel overcrowded. Bold arced text paired with basic primary coloring, makes it pop. It’s low-rent cardstock, but noteworthy nonetheless.
12. Agent K, Men in Black (1997)
Experts say: DÃ©jÃ vu. While the minimalistic embossed design is intriguing, there’s no way you’re going to remember anything about the person who handed you this or any other consequential details for that matter.
11. Murph and the Magic Tones, The Blues Brothers (1980)
Experts say: The glitzy pattern combined with the script font give it a retro look, suitable for the entertainment industry. The glossy finish borders on being cheesy, but it’s not too distracting. I’m intrigued, when and where are they playing next? I’m on a mission to find Murph and the rest of the band and hear what they sound like.
10. Tyler Durden, Fight Club (1999)
Experts say: Artisan, possibly hand-inked and pressed, or even just simply photocopied. The person’s probably a freethinker, possibly an anti-consumerist and therefore they believe all this is useless fine print–read it and you’re wasting your time. Their message: quit your job and pursue your passion. Start your own business–hipster soap is so in right now.
09. Patrick Bateman, American Psycho (2000)
Experts say: On the surface the card is exquisitely crafted–from the bone coloring to the Silian Rail lettering. Yet honestly, it looks like every other yuppie-type card out there, and it reeks of insecurity, shallowness, and self-hatred. There’s even a misspelled word. I bet underneath the guy’s a real phony, maybe even a sociopath.
08. Cosmo Kramer, Seinfeld: “The Strike”(1997)
Experts say: The condition of the card with the chipping around the corners and borders, scuffs, creases and the fading ink, isn’t optimal, however, I sense there’s a great vulnerability at play here. The card’s unsophisticated, but the holder is more than likely an unconventional type, aloof, possibly misunderstood, intrusive, yet entrepreneurial.
07. Lionel Hutz, The Simpsons: “Bart Gets Hit by a Car” (1991)
Experts say: Attorneys are a dime a dozen. Seen one card, you’ve seen them all. However, when you need one to help get you out of a little scenario in Tijuana, involving you, a donkey, and a woman that’s not your wife, you want someone that’s a bit unscrupulous and above all cheap! Avoid lawyers that print their cards on that premium Strathmore stock, and go with the one whose card turns into a sponge when you put it in water–to help clean up that mess you’ve gotten yourself into.
06. Mirage, The Incredibles (2004)
Experts say: Effortless, chic, and seductive, especially when the light reflects off the iridescent Cinzel Decorative typeface. There’s more to this card than meets the eye, and mysteries are probably hiding in plain sight–making it a card that’s superior to most.
05. Wile E. Coyote, Merrie Melodies (1949)
Experts say: That color is southwestern, I believe it’s called Zuni, a muted version of bird-of-paradise. Well it’s certainly not lacking gravitas. Arrogant, maybe even too self-assured. Catchy expressions, or tag lines can make illustrious connections – this one’s balanced and gives the air of someone who’s resourceful, persistent, and not afraid to fail.
04. The Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters (1984)
Experts say: A classic example of how a clever customized logo paired with text can be a powerful and bold marketing tool. Iconic and unforgettable. Once you see it, who else are you gonna want to call?
03. The Joker, The Dark Knight (2008)
Experts say: Unconventional. Bold. It definitely stands out from the crowd. The card’s a bit unnerving, a little brutal even. Strikes me as an expressive type, maybe a force to be reckoned with in the workplace, and one who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
02. Paul Allen, American Psycho (2000)
Experts say: Magnificent! That subtle off-white coloring, the tasteful thickness of the stock, it..oh…my…god, it even has a watermark! I’m actually perspiring. Now, this is a card you’d kill for.
01. Carter J. Burke, Aliens (1986)
Experts say: Because of its non-traditional design, you might think that a futuristic-looking business card made from LV-426, an eco-friendly, clear synthetic polymer, might send your budget out-of-this-world, but these state-of-the-art cards are surprisingly affordable, extremely resilient, and attention- grabbing. Time to reboot your brand.
Honorable mentions: Rand Peltzer, Gremlins (1984), Elwood P. Dowd, Harvey (1950), God, Oh, God! (1977), The Devil, Bedazzled (2000), Inspector Detector, Speed Racer (2008), Newman, Seinfeld: “The Package” (1996), Moe Szylak, The Simpsons: “Pygmoelian” (2000), Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale (2006), Kevin Gnapoor, Mean Girls (2004), Cordelia Chase, Angel (1999), Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network (2001), Robert Clayton Dean, Enemy of the State (1998), Caterine Vauban, I Heart Huckabees (2004), and Max Fischer, Rushmore (1998).