Business cards for the bold
Business cards serve as a physical reminder of the cardholder long after the initial introduction, and in a world of digital communication and social networks, the tangibility of a business card is more important than ever. Stylish, durable, and highly memorable, metal business cards have become popular with those who want to stand out from the paper-based competition. The metal of choice? Stainless steel, prized for its aesthetic qualities, widespread availability, and ease of customization.
^ Metal business cards
Article by Daniel Sweet
For those seeking an alternative to traditional paper business cards, metal has become a popular choice of material. But as president and CEO of MyMetalBusinessCards.com Craig Martyn admits, “when you hear ‘metal business cards,’ it can really be anything. It could be aluminum or copper or nickel. But stainless steel has been our tried and true material—and for good reason. Inhand, a stainless steel business card feels much more luxurious. It has a good weight to it, especially compared to other materials, and it has a kind of cold feel. Put simply, stainless steel is hard to beat. We send hundreds of sample requests each month, and these almost always pay out, because once you have a stainless card in your hand, you’re not going to go back to paper.”
Like Martyn’s company, other manufacturers who specialize in metal business cards work with stainless as their primary material. As Michael Davis, Vice President of MetalKards.com
explains, it all comes back to the “wow-factor” of a stainless steel product.
“We use 304 stainless steel because it’s very durable, cost effective, easy to obtain, and great to work with.”
“There is no shortage of paper cards, and these often get discarded quickly. You put the contact’s phone number and email in your smartphone, so why would you save a generic business card? But with stainless steel, the card becomes a piece of art. You can feel the quality, and you understand that the person who gave it to you cares about their interactions with others. You want to save it, and even show it to others, because it is impressive. That’s the power of stainless steel.”
For those familiar with stainless steel, it is perhaps unsurprising to read that 304 is the preferred grade for metal business card companies. Grade 304 is famous for its versatility and affordability—two features that make it ideal for metal business card companies like Mr. Martyn’s. “Our base material is all 304 stainless steel because of the quality, etching capabilities, and price. With 304, the supply and production chain has been steady and pricing has been stable. There have never been any shortages. 304 is the industry workhorse for a reason.”
Echoing this sentiment, Mr. Davis said, “we use 304 stainless steel because it’s very durable, cost effective, easy to obtain, and great to work with. Our cards are meant to be treasured, but also shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. 304 allows us to source stainless at a cost that doesn’t get passed on to the customer.”
Process & finishes
There are a number of processes that allow stainless steel to be customized for business cards, including chemical etching, silk screening, and laser etching. In the end, the goal is to achieve a finished product that will make an impact on the client, and more importantly, on their business contacts. For
Mr. Davis, the attention to detail in processing and finishing stainless steel business cards is comparable to products like smartphones: “Along with high-end companies like Apple, who offer a variety of iPhone colors, we’ve modeled our color card finishes to reflect the products you carry daily and to offer an extra level of customization for the end user. At the same time, color finishes have a practical application. Raw stainless steel is beautiful, but when you laser etch it, there just isn’t a ton of contrast for the lettering. A finish allows the card to be both beautiful and functional.”
Mr. Martyn also speaks about the importance of quality processing. “We employ a double-pass etch, so instead of just etching 50% from both sides on the sheet, we will etch 10% on both sides, and then go back and do the 50% on both sides. This allows us to etch lettering so that the characters and numbers do not lose their shape. I just love good design, and when you see a finished stainless steel card that looks great, I feel a real sense of accomplishment. Part of the good design comes in the processing—but of course, the other part comes in material selection. We’ve made the right decision in choosing stainless steel.”