Custom-shaped business cards can highlight or complement your brand when they are designed with care, but you also need to keep in mind that they won’t be as convenient as other cards. Some people may choose to leave yours behind if the card doesn't conveniently fit in their wallet or business card holder.
So, what are the pros and cons of unique and custom business cards, what types are there to choose from, and how do you order custom cards?
The Pros and Cons of Custom-Shaped Business Cards
Custom-shaped business cards can help your brand stand out amongst a sea of other business cards, but they can also feel like a gimmick if not done right. Is there a reason for choosing a different shape? For example, you may choose a square or circle design if that shape highlights your logo, or you might choose a specific medium or texture because it coincides with an element of your brand. A metal or mirror company might choose a shiny finish that matches the company’s offering.
As with any business decision, there are a lot of considerations you need to take into account. What's important is that you intentionally consider the effect the card will have and how it aligns with your offering, brand, and clientele.
💡 Learn how to Develop a Brand Personality and Brand Positioning Strategy.
Types of Unique and Custom-Shaped Business Cards
Curved Edge Business Cards
Curved edge business cards have curved edges instead of pointy ones. Adding curved edges to your business cards can help you stand out while not making a huge statement. The card can be the same size as a regular business card, so it will still fit in a wallet or business card holder.
Shaped Business Cards
Business cards can come in all shapes and sizes. Common unique shapes include square, circular, or oval cards. These shapes are non-conventional but still leave room for you to add all of your branding and contact information.
Oval business cards should still fit in wallets and card holders, but larger squares or circles may not. Think about how your clientele will store your cards when making a decision about the shape of your cards. How much information do you want to fit on the card, and does the shape serve a purpose?
An oval card has a classy or gentle look, whereas a square business card is more modern and bold. What purpose does the shape serve? For example, if your logo is round, a circular business card can highlight your logo.
Die Cut Business Cards
Die cut business cards take unique shapes to a whole new level. You can create any shape or style using a die cut format. Want a business card shaped like a pineapple? No problem!
The die cut can shape the outside of the card or punch parts of the card out for decorative designs and patterns. Custom die cut cards will be much more expensive than other cards, but they can make a statement when coordinated with your brand or offering.
Extra Thick/Triple Layer Business Cards
Triple layer business cards have three distinct layers, making the card extra thick and durable. Because each of the three layers are separate, you can add another design element by altering the colors. This design most commonly has a white first and third layer with a color layer in the middle to create one band of color. You could also go with a black first and third layer with a color in between, three different colors, or any other combination that suits the style of your brand.
This style of business card is unique and stands out without being overly expensive or difficult to manage. The card is usually the same shape as a regular business card, only thicker.
Stainless Steel Business Cards
Stainless steel or metal business cards can be engraved or die cut. As the name suggests, they are a thin sheet of metal, so they are thicker and heavier than regular business cards. Engraved business cards have information and design work embedded into the metal. Laser cut business cards will have some portion of the metal card cut away and removed to create patterns or shapes.
These types of cards stand out and will show the expense you went to in printing your cards—plus, they still fit in a wallet or card holder. That said, these cards can be bulky for you or your customers to carry around, and printing does not come cheap.
Silk Business Cards
Silk business cards have a laminate coating, creating a silky-smooth feel. The coating adds a classy look to the card and gives it a matte finish. The extra coating is soft, but it also makes the card more durable. With a silk finish, you can add additional accents to the cards, such as embossed, glossy, or foil elements.
This is another option that keeps things simple while adding something different to your card. Silk cards can still be the size of generic business cards, and they will easily fit in a wallet.
Holographic Business Cards
Holographic cards have a foil element that makes them shiny and iridescent. The holographic part can be spread across the whole card or be contained to certain selections, such as a pattern, your business name, or logo.
The iridescent finish will capture the light and change color depending on the angle of the cards. While this design certainly makes a statement, ensure this style fits your brand aesthetic. The funky and playful look may not be suited for more traditional businesses or extremely professional settings, such as a law office, funeral home, or medical profession.
3D Lenticular Business Cards
Lenticular business cards take standing out to the next level. Lenticular images become animated when you move the card. Depending on the type of design you choose, a lenticular image can simulate movement or act as an optical illusion. You may have seen this medium before on children’s items, such as lunchboxes or birthday cards.
On a business card, you can make a pattern, object, logo, or mascot come alive. In order for the animated 3D effect to work, the card will have a ticker weight and unique texture, which is typical of the medium.
These types of cards are expensive and heavier to carry around and store. If you are considering going this route, make sure there’s a purpose to the design you choose. What does this texture or imagery have to do with your brand? Does the aesthetic match your style and offering? How will your clients or potential customers feel about your decision?
Where to Buy Custom-Shaped Business Cards
We always recommend supporting local businesses whenever possible. If you can, order business cards from a business within your community or from an industry partner or client. For more unique styles, shapes, and textures, you may need to branch out and order from an online source.
While bulk business cards can save you money, you may not want to get too many unique cards if you are trying out an extreme style or texture for the first time. The money you save ordering 1000 cards is only worth it if you will actually use that many in the coming month or year. Play it safe with a smaller order while you decide if the unique/custom style is right for your business and clientele.
Custom Business Cards
Wholesale Business Cards
Vistaprint offers cheap business cards (free shipping) that are predesigned and ready to order in minutes. Their bulk business cards come in hundreds of designs. They also offer premium cards that are available with rounded edges or squared designs and specialty cards with foil and embossed elements, plastic cards, and triple layer cards.
Moo is another big name in online business cards. The company offers many specialty shapes and textures, including embossed, foil, curved edge, and triple layer cards. They also carry a variety of sizes, including large cards, square cards, and unique mini cards that are 2.75 x 1.10 inches.
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