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In the engineering profession, like many industries, employees regularly leave their offices to attend client meetings, tradeshows and other networking events. With the way we now exchange information electronically with smart phones and computers, many wonder if business cards are still relevant in the digital age. The answer is a resounding yes.

Marketing experts say they are still the most effective direct marketing tool to use during engineering conferences sealed with a handshake and a business card exchange. Not only do they leave a lasting impression, they are also a personalized form of marketing when it comes to building your brand.

The first business cards were the size of playing cards and used in the 17th century in Europe. They announced the arrival of aristocrats or royalty. They were frequently engraved with a coat of arms. By the 19th century, a visiting or calling card was essential for the middle and upper classes. Homes had special trays displayed for guests to leave their cards. Much has not changed since the earlier days of business cards. First impressions still do matter.

Business cards are often regarded as “old school,” especially by the younger generation. However, they are a timeless and powerful way to make a new connection.

You never know when and where you are going to meet a potential business contact. Rather than just jotting down your name and contact information on a napkin, scrap of paper, or perhaps on another person’s business card you happen to have with you, it is important to be prepared. In addition to being a convenient way to exchange contact information, business cards impart a feeling of credibility and professionalism when you are meeting someone face-to-face for the first time.

Before you rush out and order new cards, think through how you want to design a unique card that best represents your company and brand. Get creative! With a little time and research, you can produce a memorable card for your business.

Whether you opt for a conventional look or want something more visually striking, a unique card can often initiate conversation. Recipients are also more likely to keep the card longer if it stands out from the rest.

There are business card themes for nearly every type of engineering discipline. When you are choosing the one that is the best fit for your business, ensure they are classy and eye-catching. That might mean choosing a specific engineering template or finding an icon that represents the work you focus on, such as building bridges. One young electrical computer engineer used a tiny circuit board as his business card with much success.

Deciding what information to include is another consideration. Most cards include the vital components, such as your name, position, company, phone number, email, mailing address and website. However, don’t forgot to add your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Some cards also include a company motto, tagline or memorable quote.

10 Current Business Card Trends

QR Codes
For those unfamiliar with a QR code, it is a barcode that stores information and can link to a website, contact information or even a full resume.

Check out http://www.qr-code-generator.com/ to learn how to create your own.

Using recycled chipboard, cardboard or paper business cards can help promote a “green” image for your company and show your commitment to the environment.

Clear Plastic
Stronger and more durable than standard business cards, using clear plastic distinguishes your business and can help it get noticed.

Eco-friendly wooden business cards are an easy way to leaving a last impression and reduce your carbon footprint, especially if you are a green business.

Want a little sparkle? Foil accents will set your business apart from competition. A recent trend is to include multiple colors of foil on one card.

Reminiscent of precious metals such as gold, copper, platinum, copper and bronze, metallic cards shimmer and shine as well as fit well in your wallet.

 A top request from clients, there are endless possibilities when it comes to custom shaped die-cuts such as jets, vehicles and tags.

Raised numbers and letters can give a business card an added dimension that helps company information stand out.

With a smooth feel, frosted business cards are another unique design option that is a popular trend with companies.

Translucent in nature, matte business cards are another alternative to traditional cards. With a stylish look, they also have a nice texture.

When it comes to choosing your business cards, keep in mind that accuracy is key. Make sure the information is easy to read and there are no misspellings. Above all, be true to yourself and your business and find a design that tells others about who you are and what your business is about. Have fun and make it memorable!

Like this blog? Explore innovative ideas on the latest engineering topics on iConnectEngineers™ blog.

Stacey Phillips is a writer and editor at iConnectEngineersTM . At iConnectEngineers™, we use engaging content, creative design, and smart campaigns to bridge the worlds of business, marketing and social innovation with a primary focus on the engineering and technology industries.

Follow us on Medium, learn more about our work at www.iconnectengineers.com, and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Originally published at www.iconnectengineers.com on April 5, 2017.