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In many arenas, 2014 was an excellent year for innovative design. Minimalism invaded every outlet from web to advertising, responsive design improved, and design in all aspects became more about user comprehension. Business cards were among the formats that received new life from some of the hottest trends to hit the market. Check them out below!

Design Elements of Popular Cards

business cards

Popular cards had several standout features:

  • Thicker cards with an accent edge or color insert were very popular. They add a minimalist and bold touch to cards without tacking on a huge design project.
  • Double-sided options allowed room for imagery or logo on one side, and the holder’s vital contact info on the other. White space may be a big part of design, but there is little reason to leave valuable material blank — especially when there are many ways to enhance a two-sided card.
  • Full backdrop photographs added a classy touch to cards in visually-oriented industries. Whether you’re showing off your work or a picture of your dog, photograph oriented cards help people remember who you are.
  • Embossing and Letterpressing were in-demand ways to add tactile interest to a card’s main message. With the DIY market on the rise, designers appreciate the craft of these cards (and they don’t look half bad either).
  • Low-gloss finishes added to the year’s theme of understated elegance. Is it the potential good impressions that make these popular, or the subtle throw back to the traditional ideal of professionalism? (Hint: It is both.)
  • Unusual materials, like linen, plastic, or wood, diversified the basic paper-card landscape. What better way to show your efficient creativity than using metal and cloth to convey a message?
  • Vertical orientation broke up the monotony of sideways cards. After hundreds and thousands of horizontal cards, imagine how much a vertical card breaks the cycle and stands out.
  • Custom die cuts helped networkers think outside the box in their self-promotional efforts. If you thought a vertical card would make you stand out, imagine how a die cut will make you look.
  • Cards that fold into other objects, like a catapult, or that double as useful tools, made explaining a profession fun — like a walking billboard.

While some of these trends have been around longer than a year, there was a boom in industry use in 2014. With so many trends to play around with, designers and professionals could pick and choose which elements fit their personality or brand image more than ever. Standing out as a professional is just one of the beneficial patterns between these business card trends.

Benefits of These Trends

Business Card

These trends are beneficial in multiple ways. In the early 2000s, business cards were technology oriented, such as the inclusion of QR codes, or busy, as designers tried to pack their talents on a one-sided 3.5 x 2 piece of stock paper. Business cards now have evolved into something simple, bold, and uniquely individual — and many don’t even stick to the traditional size. Eliminating nonessential embellishment puts the spotlight back on good design and makes key info easier to remember.

With some of these trends — embossing, textures, fun shapes — the card recipient’s tactile memory is recruited to aid his photographic memory of the card owner. Interactive business cards are not only fun to play with, they advertise your business to everyone who passes them around!

Another benefit, mentioned above, is how these new design movements encouraged more people to express their individuality. However, many of these ideas are still fresh enough that not all of your contacts will have seen them before.

The trends for 2014 are easy-to-use and allow businesses and individuals to customize previous trends to enhance their image. What better way is there to be remembered than a unique and personalized business card?

Predictions for 2015

Minimalist and interactive cards have been popular for long enough that almost anyone can use them credibly, even in more traditional business circles. One well designed card, with inspiration from current crazes, not only allows you to express your creativity, but shows your future employers and clients that you’re up-to-date on what’s trending.

In 2015, expect to see more creative, fun cards in the next year, along with minor shifts within the minimalist community. You’ll be surprised how many times the same few elements can be rearranged! The possibilities are endless. Influencers suggest expansion on visual imagery, semi-flat design, and typography will be used not only in business cards next year, but design in general.

How do you plan to reinvent your business cards? Let us hear your best ideas, along with any personal branding success stories or unbelievable business cards you’ve encountered in 2014.

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Posted by Katherine Halek

Katherine Halek is the lead advertising and print strategy advisor at Signazon and, leading online printers that provide marketing collateral for thousands of designers around the United States. Katherine enjoys writing about web design, typography, and the ins and outs of designing. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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