THE REVEALING business cards of successful artists, tycoons and politicians contain some remarkable insights into the personalities of their owners.
Donald Trump’s showy card hints at flamboyance, Harry Houdini’s unusual triangle gets immediate attention and Andy Warhol’s demonstrates his understanding of the link between commerce and art.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg shows that when you’re the boss you can put anything you want on your card, and no one can say no.
Business cards of famous people: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
For more than a century before the arrival of 21st century tools LinkedIn and Facebook, business cards were a vital introduction and source of information.
In the infancy of business cards, lawyer Abraham Lincoln included a small essay explaining his credentials.
Business cards of famous people: Abraham Lincoln, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Typically they provide personal details, job description and contact details.
“Business cards provide a very pragmatic function”, says corporate psychologist Travis Kemp.
Business cards of famous people: Walt Disney, Cartoonist
“For many, the style of the card is constrained by a bigger set of corporate style standards.”
“For an individual however, it can be a more personalised vehicle that enables a little more freedom to express uniqueness and to communicate a nuance or more intimate insight into who the owner is as a person, what they stand for or what they want the receiver to know about them.”
Business cards of famous people: Donald Trump, Chairman and President
“So for example, Walt Disney’s card provides a taste of his passion and illustrative skills on the card itself. It’s a vivid example of who he is and what he can do.”
For most people, the way they present a business card presents their name or title is its most important aspect.
Business cards of famous people: Andy Warhol, Businessman
“Titles such as Professor or Dr. are instant cultural artifacts of expertise and professional standing,” says Kemp.
Affiliations and qualifications combine to strengthen this sense of “credibility”.
Business cards of famous people: Steve Martin, Comedian
Alternately, some highly qualified and credentialed professionals choose to omit these details completely.
“This may communicate humility, approachability, humbleness, or accessibility. The balance between understated and overstated is a sensitive one and professional norms may often dictate this”
Business cards of famous people: Bill Gates, Microsoft President
“Academia and science arguably leans towards the understated and conservative in their graphic representation and language structure.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “I’m CEO, Bitch!” business card makes a remarkably bold statement, and may have the opposite effect its holder intended.
“Zuckerberg’s business card clearly presents an impression of radicalism, non-compliance or alternately, a lack of concern or awareness of the importance of inclusive and considered expression.”
Business cards of famous people: Barack Obama, Senator