Business Cords

I was out at a bar with my good friend Corin this weekend when he laid some of his badass new business cards from design firm The Dept of Energy on me. They are badass because they aren’t cards at all, but rather functional, palm-sized electrical cords with with his logo and business information imprinted on them.

Very, very cool.

Not only do they reinforce the brand of the firm, but the novelty and tactile values are off the charts. The yellow cable is as pliable as a heavy-duty extension cord while the orange cable is more like a really stiff stress ball.

It’s the most interesting “card” design I’ve seen since The Blood Card and a whole lot less scary. But at 40 cents apiece, Corin is careful who he gives them to.

What are some other examples of creative business card design these days? I haven’t seen anything really jump out at me lately.

27 comments on “Business Cords”. Leave your own?
  1. Wes says:

    These are very cool! I want the red/orange one…

  2. Moo cards work great as personal cards. You can print different photos on them and they look realy slick. There is something about the glossy finish that makes them really stand out.

  3. Christian says:

    In a sense, everything a company puts its logo on is a business card. I’ve got four Michelin round business cards on my car right now, for example.

    Companies that sell services rather than tangible products are always at a mindspace disadvantage because they don’t have the chance to stamp their name and logo on everything that goes out the door. They even spraypaint stacks of lumber with the mill’s logo; how do you duplicate that when you’re a consultant?

    On the other hand, constant exposure usually equals dilution. If somebody at Pepsi handed you a business card, would you really care? You have 3 in your fridge at home and you’ve already seen six or seven on television this morning. When your name and logo aren’t out there all the time, the impact you can make with a well-thought-out name drop is much deeper.

    You’ve probably held a thousand electrical cords in your life, but a strand of cord with an unfamiliar logo is an entirely different thing altogether. If every cord was stamped with ‘DOE,’ you wouldn’t even notice it after a while.

  4. Don says:

    Makes no sense to me … won’t fit in my rolodex (you remember those things?) and won’t fit in my pocket. I don’t see it as a business card at all. It’s a give away. I don’t need any give aways. Energy Dept. site actually resizes my browser … and their site is obnoxious in my humble opinion.

    Best card I’ve seen lately? Tie between an attorney’s card showing the back side of the lady with scales of justice saying let us handle the dirty work of your legal business and a carpenter with a wood veneer card (did fit in my rolodex).

  5. Mike D. says:

    Don: It actually does fit in your pocket. Quite easily in fact. And it’s a nice thing to play with for the few hours that it’s in there.

    Also, rolodex? Really? :) I don’t have a rolodex and I wonder how many people these days do, but here’s what happens 99.9% of the time someone gives me a business card: I put it in my pocket, on my desk, or in my wallet, and if it doesn’t get lost within the next week or so, it gets transferred to the Giant-Box-O’-Business-Cards-That-I-Never-Look-At-Unless-Prompted-To. The rate at which I refer to business cards I’ve received in the past is definitely in the single digit percents. The nice thing about the Business Cords is that they don’t go in the box. They go somewhere else. Somewhere else that I will definitely remember.

  6. These look fantastic but I think it would be very easy to try and be creative and for it to end up looking like a gimmick .

    Standard business cards provide an air of authority which can be easily lost with a poor implementation of any idea.

  7. I love it — however, imagine walking around a conference with 100 of those in your pocket, ha!

    I’ve recently become fascinated with business cards and unique designs. If anyone e;se is on a bcard high, check out a post I put togheter on the Six most uniquely creative business cards of SXSWi 2007

  8. David Pitkin says:

    These are a great cards, I wanted to share this one I saw just last week: Poul Nielsen.

  9. Cellobella says:

    Cute but like Don says – won’t fit in my slimline wallet… and will end up in the detritus at the bottom of my bag from where it will be chucked – along with three broken teabags, a dried up lipstick and the insides of several biros. Give me a fridge magnet every time.
    :) CB

  10. Bob says:

    I would agree that its a neat idea and ties in nicely with the name and novelty of the company, but once I go to their home page it looks like a front. The page is annoying, resizes my window and is difficult to navigate.

  11. Ryan says:

    This design is clever

    “A hacker, entrepreneur, and all around mischief maker, Melvin wanted something he could give to peers and prospective clients that spoke of this nature. A lockpick concept was chosen very early on, and the post production results were excellent. The picks can quite easily be removed from the card and are entirely functional as lockpicks.”

  12. John Whittet says:

    I’m sure we’ve all seen Shaun’s Business Card Wrapup by now.

    I agree with Don, though… not because it won’t fit in my rolodex (I agree, Mike: what rolodex? It’s called .vcard and Address Book), but because it’s much more of a “giveaway” than a business card. After the initial five minute honeymoon period, giveaways just clutter my bottom desk drawers, make me stressed out about organization, and are eventually unceremoniously thrown away . (Most) magnets are ugly, and those corporate pens are all cheap and no comparison to the Pilot Precise v5.

    Neat, but no thanks.

  13. Tom Dolan says:

    Hey Mike — as a Newsvine and loyal MIke Industries reader I’m jazzed you dig the Bloodcard. More info on it on our site if you’re interested. Mutual props.

  14. Jason says:

    One of the cooler ones I’ve seen recently is still iin the shape of a card, but it’s like a mini record sleeve (record like as in the things that had music on them before CD’s). All the printing was on this business card size sleeve, but inside was a random mini origami or mini paper airplane. What was cool about this is that it would still fit in a stack of “normal” business cards, in a rolodex (if people still use those), etc.

    Now there’s a thought (speaking of record albums and business cards). Is “album art” a lost art now? Will business cards soon be that way? (it wouldn’t appear so right now!) :)

  15. corin McDonald says:

    Thanks for the props Miz. Yeah, these aren’t your traditional bcards (if you can even call them that) and we aren’t your traditional design firm. They make an impression and thats what first encounters are all about. We have several paper cards on hand but none of them raise a brow like these do. The first night I starteed giving them out, I received 3 replies the very next day! Granted, they were all from girls that I was hitting on but still. Sure they will end up getting tossed like everything else but it doesn’t matter cause I’ve already shown you something that you haven’t seen before. If you want a standard business card, I’m sure there are many nifty design firms like Hornall Anderson that can accomodate. If you want something unique then call us.

    ** Yeah, we’re working on a new site and it won’t resize your browser we promise…

  16. Jynn says:

    Damn! Corin beat me to a reply…but I already spent the time typing, so bear with me as well…

    Thanks Mike for the props on our new business card. There are a lot of interesting comments in regards both to our idea as well as the functionality/role of a business card in general, all relevant.

    However, one point that hasn’t been mentioned yet-target audience.

    Our main focus is on fashion, action sports, and forward thinking entrepreneurial businesses that seek an identity that makes them stand out from the first impression. They choose us because we DO the unexpected. We don’t just say we do in a tagline or elevator speech.

    One of our expertise’s is in executing outside of the box, especially with regards to materials used and production techniques that often have our vendors thinking we are nuts (but happy we pushed them to try it in the end).

    Our experience is with driving youth oriented trends. For us, using your standard paper business card would not accurately represent us if we are not present to vocalize that which we do, what which we are, nor would it impress those making decisions in the markets we pursue, 20-30-somethings that work hard, play harder, and have seen it all in our visual-driven culture. A magnet card, though the perfect execution for a plumber, 24-hour Vet, or Pizza delivery, would be off the mark for our brand and clients, as well as who we are.

    And yes, we wanted the card to act as a give-away, something to be played with, to cause a reaction be that whatever it may be. A target is a focus, and when you think of a dart board, the center circle is very small compared to the rest. We’re aiming for those that fall inside that smaller space.

  17. Mike D. says:

    However, one point that hasn’t been mentioned yet-target audience. Our main focus is on fashion, action sports, and forward thinking entrepreneurial businesses…”

    That, and chicks Corin wants to date. :)

  18. Corin says:

    Hey, if you hand a cute girl a soft bendy chord about 3 inches with your name on it and she still smiles…bam…you’re in.

  19. Jynn says:

    So what does it say for me then, when I, a chick, hands out a 3 inch bendy cord with my name on it? * Thinks *…Damn! I’m only handing out the stiff ones to the guys…

    (We’re allowed to be sassy here, right?)

  20. Rob Paterson says:

    Not new news at all, but I always thought that business card-shaped CDs are pretty cool:

    Business Card CDs

    I’ve always wondered if they’re practical, e.g. if they’ll jam in some CD players. Neat idea though…

  21. I like them. They could also be an investment someday… like when we run out of copper or copper prices go up ;)

    I bet environmentalists won’t like the idea since it’s harder to recycle the cables. If you do, you will need to strip the outter shield before you can recycle the copper.


  22. Brian says:

    I like the cards. But man, there should be a warning on your site before starts blinking like that. I almost had a seizure.

  23. Nic says:

    For the hundredth time, it’s and interesting concept; but I wouldn’t have chosen DOE for anything from their website: It resizes your browser, it should have a surgeons general’s warning for all its flashing – perhaps they think that’s what “Flash” is for! – and last, but definitely not least, it is probably the best example I have ever seen of mystery meat navigation. Stick to the physical domain, DOE.

  24. Max Thrane says:

    The red one will go nicely with my site :D Me likes!

  25. jamesv says:

    I ran out of “regular” cards this year right before Flash in the Can, and couldn’t get more printed in time. I could however make ones in my kitchen for ~$.15 a pop that I like quite a bit more than my old, more traditional ones.

    wood veneer bcards

    A friend and past co-worker also whipped these up: screen prints on cardboard

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