New York Library Association Annual Conference. Five of them are from LIS students, while the one in at the bottom is from a seasoned practitioner. What stands out to me are two things. (BTW to prevent spamming, I have purposefully obscured their contact info.)
First, we still value "the card". It remains the easiest and consistent way of transferring contact information from one person to another. Yes, I'm all for using QR codes and, in fact, two of these cards have QR codes on the other side. Yes, I'm all for capturing people's Twitter names rather than exchanging business cards. However, those two (and other) methods don't work for everyone. The card is still the thing.
Second, if we're still going to use business cards, we want to have fun with them and we want them to stand out. How do you know, though, if your card will stand out appropriately?
When I got my first set of business cards for my consulting practice, two colleagues tested my cards in ways that I wasn't used to, but that quickly made sense. One colleague had worked in a print shop for a number of years and so she took one of my cards and picked her teeth with it! What she was testing was the quality of the card stock. Thankfully, my card passed that test. The other dropped by card on the floor and looked down at it. Was it interesting enough...readable enough...to want to pick up? I passed that test, too.
For those reading this that are designing your business cards (like students), you might want to keep those tests in mind. Yes, it is better to have a business card on card stock rather than on copier paper. Yes, the information should be accurate and relevant. Yes, the format of the information should be clear and easy to read. Yes, it is okay to have a non-traditional design. And...yes...you should give them to people! (And ask for one of theirs.)