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“New card. Whaddya think?”

Patrick Bateman sits at a conference table with his fellow stockbrokers. He removes a silver case from his pocket. One of his colleagues leans across, smirking.

“Is that a gram?”
“New card. Whaddya think?”

American Psycho is a 2000 American satire, horror film. Set in the 1980s, the film stars Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a wall street hot shot banker who is going through a metamorphosis  and gradually turns into a  serial killer. There is a famous or infamous business card scene in the movie that points out the ridiculous narcissism and hyper-masculinity of this architype. However, this scene turned business cards into most iconic movie props ever.

According to the film, Patrick’s card is printed on “bone” colored paper, and is set in a fictional typeface called “Silian Rail.” The actual typeface appears to be Garamond Classico SC.

Business card has always been an important tool of the business world. It carries important information and sometimes offers a window to the identity and personality of the card holder. Business cards are also one of the victims of coronavirus pandemic and the explosion of Zoom meetings and online communication. The demand for this particular printed product dropped sharply during pandemic and it is yet to regain its past glory. So, shall we bid farewell to this beloved piece of printed communication tool Not so fast.

For the record , around 27 million business cards are printed each day! If we multiply that by just the working days in a year, that would come to around 7,047,000,000 business cards printed each year at a very low estimate. Although pandemic did damage the ritual of handing business cards, it is still considered necessary for many occasions.

Many believe despite the Coronavirus crisis business cards remain one of the most effective ways to prospect clients and keep your business in your customers’ minds. إ Although you might think that in a digital age that business cards are outdated, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Business cards are still relevant in today’s business world no matter what.  The business card is an established social building block of meeting new clients and building new relationships. Based on some estimates 57% of business owners think business cards are essential to the promotion of their goods or services. But it is even more than that. It offers a window to the card holders’ identity and success. It comes in many forms and shapes; b/W or colored. Some even carry QR code or are printed on special materials.

In our region many believe business cards are here to stay and despite a brief hiccup during pandemic the demand for ubiquitous cards are strong at the moment.

Zahir Hassan
Zahir Haassan, managing director of Power Print- UAE

“It’s a fact that covid has curtailed people movements and subsequently physical meetings. Physical meetings were replaced with online virtual  meetings during peak period  of covid as it was a need of the hour without any choice. This adversely impacted business card printing. We have witnessed even movies shifted from theatres to online. I feel this is a temporary phenomenon as there existed great amount of insecurity amongst people for physical meetings. Sign of changes are already visible with demands for business cards are slowly coming back as COVID restrictions are being relaxed. People would continue to meet and interact physically rather than virtual online meetings as socializing through physical interaction is unique to human behavior” Comments Zahir Haassan, managing director of Power Print n UAE and adds, “as with diminishing demand for other print items business card requirements too was dropped. But it is getting back to normalcy as people have started venturing out.”

Khaled Abdullah Al-Shehri, General Manager of Easy Print Group in KSA
Khaled Abdullah Al-Shehri, General Manager of Easy Print Group in KSA

Khaled Abdullah Al-Shehri, General Manager of Easy Print Group in KSA maintains pandemic did not have huge impact on business card printing.” printing of business cards was not significantly affected. However, the demand for printing QR codes on business cards increased dramatically. Also, there’s more demand for UV lamination on cards.” Comments Al Shehri.  Easy Print Group was established in 2009 in the city of Riyadh and it offers a wide range of digital printing, offset printing and advertising services.

Recovery takes time

Business cards are was very much in demand cross the world. Especially in India where physical exchange of business cards carries great significance. However Indian printers believe it takes some time to reach the post covid level of demand for business cards.

O. Venugopal, Managing Director of Anaswara Offset Pvt. Ltd., Kochi, Kerala says while printing of general and common cards have reduced, bespoke cards for key personnel have increased in demand.

“The awareness amongst customers is much higher and e-business cards with links are also common nowadays.” Says Venugopal and adds,” we are looking forward to an increase in sales with better antibacterial coatings and paper to come in. Business cards will be printed for sure. But I feel that it will be used more smartly rather than giving it out just like that to anyone whom you meet. It would be used more on a personal basis than as a transactional one.”

Anaswara Offset Pvt. Ltd. is the recipient of the much coveted ‘Printer of the Year Award’ at the 14th edition of the prestigious National Award for Excellence in Printing (NAEP), the highest award for printing in India, instituted by the All-India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP), the apex body of the printing industry in India. However, some Indian printers hold a more pessimistic view about the future of business cards.

N. Visvakumar, Proprietor of Rajams Digital Offset Prints in Chennai is wary of the future. He says the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on this particular segment. The demand for business cards was less than 50% of what it was before COVID-19 and there is negligible demand for QR codes as well. . less than 5% of his customers use QR codes on their business cards. He believes it takes some time for recovery to happen.

“Post-COVID, the trends have changed a lot. The lockdown also taught us a lot about modern gadgets and their use. Looking at the current market trends, I feel it may take some more time for a full sales recovery.” Comments Visvakumar.

Mehul A. Desai, Founder and Chairman  of Mail Order Solutions India Pvt. Ltd., in Mumbai says that  not just printing of business cards but most commercial printing activity has been impacted negatively due the COVID-19 pandemic. He doesn’t see recovery happening in the near future.

According to Desai business cards will continue to exist but may evolve and their numbers in terms of printing will also reduce.

The demand for business card may have been hampered, owing to the pandemic but there are many aspects to business card that keeps it relevant for many years to come. It is part of a global business ritual and an efficient and ceremonial way to introduce yourself to someone that is important for you and your business. Someone that could change the course of your business and your life, and that is a killer combination.

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