A business card is one of the most important instruments in your marketing toolbox. It serves as a bridge between your brand and a prospective customer/client/collaborator. It’s a small (and often fragile) point of contact.

In a sense, a business card is like a seed: given the right conditions it might grow into something, or it might not. What it all comes down to is the impact it makes.

If your business card gets tossed in the bin, then the link you tried to forge with whoever threw it away is potentially severed. So the question is: how do you make it so people don’t throw away your business cards?

The simplest answer is to make them stand out. Now there are lots of ways to go about doing this, and we’ve written previously on the methods for creating great business cards. But today we thought, instead of sharing more design pointers, we’d simply show you some fantastic business card designs to get you inspired.

So here’s our pick of 11 brilliant business card designs.

Seed packet

Speaking of seeds in the introduction, we thought this was only fitting as the first example. Lawn and property management company Lush hit on a stellar idea here, having their business cards double up as seed packets. Very creative and, more importantly, very relevant to their service.

Agency: Struck, USA

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Cheese grater

This business card was designed for Brazilian cheese store Bon Vivant. What better way to remind customers that your brand is all about cheese that with a business-card-cum-cheese-grater?

Agency: JWT, Brazil

Hair grip hairdo

Makeup artist Yuka Suzuki used coloured hair grips to vary the hair colours of these simple yet strikingly original business cards. Added bonus: free hair grips!  

Mini Vinyl

Designer Victor Bonates chose to reflect his love of music in these miniature vinyl business cards. Very clever and very unique – a novelty that’s anything but throwaway.

Designed by: Victor Bonates.

Stamped on wood

These rustic business cards, designed for cabinet maker BDH, were made from leftover blocks of wood lying around the company’s workshop. Thrifty, authentic, and eco-friendly.

Designed by: WAX

Mini Skateboards

Miniature skateboards for Powell Peralta, a (you guessed it) skateboard company. Their unique design speaks for itself, really – a failsafe way to make sure people don’t forget what the business does.

Designed by: Jukebox

Tabletop football

These business cards from branded entertainment company Trick & Treat transform into a tabletop football game. Ingenious, playful, and perfectly demonstrates the concept of “branded entertainment” .

Colouring cards

This simple and quirky design for Norwegian illustrator Kristin Tora are the business card equivalent of a colouring book. The interactive nature of these cards succeeds in making them engaging, personal, and memorable.

Designed by: Elegante Press

Divorce lawyer’s tearable business cards

This one is just all-round fantastic. Not only is it highly creative and entertaining, but it’s genuinely practical too.

Mini yoga mat

Maybe not the most wallet-friendly design on the list, but for uniqueness and novelty-value it ranks pretty high. Handing something like this out at a networking event would provide and excellent talking point.

Bicycle multi-tool

Broke Bike Alley created a business card that doubles as a functioning multi-tool. The real genius here, aside from the design itself, is the fact that no one’s going to throw away something as cool/useful as this.

Play your cards right

For more designing and creating effective business cards, take a look at Some Advice On The Craft Of Business Cards. Or, for more design inspiration, check out 12 Of The Most Beautiful And Original Website Designs.