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One Perfect Thing: The Business Card

May 23, 2012 - 12:43 PM

Try, if you can, to measure your online footprint. You likely have a few email 
addresses, a Facebook account, maybe a website, a Tumblr or two, a Twitter feed, and a LinkedIn profile, even though you don’t remember creating it and you’ve only logged on to respond to requests from people you’ve never heard of. You also probably have a business card. No matter how much of ourselves we incarnate in ones and zeros, few of us seem willing to dispense with this relic of the offline world. “Almost every piece of printing I knew and loved can be replaced by something digital today,” says Michael Bierut, a partner at Pentagram. “Corporate brochures and annual reports: online. Letterheads and 
envelope sets: email. Magazines and books: iPads. However, sooner or later, you still need to meet someone face-to-face, and at that moment, it’s nice to have a business card.”

Business cards do one thing, and they do it marvelously well. That isn’t to say they’re monolithic. “They are as personal as underwear,” Bierut says. “Some like 
to sport something stylish or unusual. Others are uneasy with anything other than something straightforward in plain white. Either way, as the rest of the world goes virtual, the business card will endure.” To celebrate it as a form par excellence, we asked the Heads of State—whose poster of imaginary business cards for characters in The Great Gatsby hangs framed in Bierut’s home—to design the world’s best business card.

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