Visual business cards

I attended a workshop last week sponsored by the Senior Forum of ASTD-Cascadia, Improve New Hire Productivity Using Visual Thinking. It was facilitated by Barrie Levinson, the Director of Consulting at Xplane.

Visual Business Cards

visual Business Card

The first thing we did was to quickly draw our own visual business cards, and share them with someone else. Simple quick sketches drawn on business card size paper with Sharpie markers.

Mine shows I use the computer and photography to work with groups of people. It’s not a great drawing. People don’t look like a circle with a line below it, yet when I tell you that is what it represents, it works. The person I was paired with in the exercise understood something about what I did.

What does my card say I do? Business Card

Image-based Training & Consulting.

I know, no one knows what that means. It is eye-catching with great graphics. I have yet to come up with an effective concise description of what I do.

OK, really I haven’t come up with a paragraph to describe my work. Yet, I can show you in a few minutes. In many ways, the quick rough sketch tells you a lot more than the expensive professionally designed version about what I do.

Now I don’t think I am ready to ditch my cards that actually give you contact information. I do need a new tagline (any ideas???). But I am thinking about ways to use the back of my card to show something more meaningful.

What did other participants think of the visual cards?

When asked to reflect on what it was like to introduce yourself visually, and to hear others’ explanations, this is what participants reported:

  • easier
  • more enjoyable
  • sustainable
  • relaxing
  • evoked more questions
  • learned about the person
  • easier to understand what the job entailed
  • faster to understand
  • gets past the jargon and buzzwords
  • engaged interaction
  • immediately multidimensional
  • focuses on one component
  • works when both are on the same plane, similar expectations
  • requires talent and confidence
  • some jobs are easier to depict than others

I certainly don’t hear those outcomes from exchanging regular business cards. So why don’t we see these methods being used more frequently?

What are we really trying to do with a card?

Guy’s business cardA few weeks ago Guy Kawasaki wrote a post about his new business card . No pictures, but nothing extra. Guy is about his websites, which are all listed there.

They were designed by Justin Ruckman. You can see many examples on his site of simple effective design, and the thing that jumps out at me, is you really get a sense of what people do.

Visuals don’t have to be the answer. Guy’s card is really effective using words. Now I would argue that a large part of the effectiveness of the words are their visual quality. So I don’t think the answer is the same for everyone.

How would you show people what you do?