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A Number of Notable Business Cards
January 22, 2013 9:53 AM   Subscribe

"This week, we discovered an utterly charming card used by Isaac Asimov ('natural resource' is right) and, inspired, began hunting for more famous peoples' business cards, whether boilerplate or highly designed, staid or comical."
posted by gilrain (92 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Incidentally providing more evidence, as if more were needed, that the Road Runner was drawn as saying "beep beep" rather than "meep meep".
posted by gilrain at 9:56 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


For a second there I thought the Wright Brothers had an email address on theirs.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:59 AM on January 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


...let's see Paul Allen's card.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:01 AM on January 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Mark Zuckerberg's card somehow doesn't surprise me.

And Steve Martin's card somehow seems more like the kind of thing Bill Murray would do.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nota bene: someone over on Hacker News pointed out that at least two are fakes originating from this site. The big tipoff would be the address on the Wright Bros. card; "Hangar @ Huffman Field" seems like a pretty dubious designation for the era.

Background on Zuckerberg's jokey card (which apparently was mostly just a gag for friends) can be found here.
posted by koeselitz at 10:02 AM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Newman
posted by cmoj at 10:03 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


You prove to me Lincoln's business card wasn't written by a drunk, time-travelling Chris Onstad. You prove that.

Also, Warhol's card looks like every single well-designed indie band flyer from the early-2000s.
posted by griphus at 10:04 AM on January 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Best Business Card Ever

Runner Up
posted by ColdChef at 10:05 AM on January 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


It's pronounced rew-shay? I've always said rew-sha. Useful card! It the stress on the first syllable or the second?
posted by painquale at 10:08 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


What does Freud's card have written on it?
posted by DU at 10:08 AM on January 22, 2013


Inevitably, your business card is crap.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:08 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


And Steve Martin's card somehow seems more like the kind of thing Bill Murray would do.

No. It's entirely a Steve Martin thing. Bill Murray doesn't leave any evidence because no one will ever believe you.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:09 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


What does Freud's card have written on it?

What do you think is written on it?
posted by griphus at 10:09 AM on January 22, 2013 [38 favorites]


Employees of LEGO win because their business cards are minifigs made to look like them.
posted by Lucinda at 10:11 AM on January 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


painquale: “It's pronounced rew-shay? I've always said rew-sha. Useful card! It the stress on the first syllable or the second?”

STRESS ON

EVERY SYLLABLE

OF COURSE

posted by koeselitz at 10:17 AM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Best Business Card Ever

I met a fellow a few years ago who had taken a similar approach; in fact, either he or the owner of this card must have copied the other (or perhaps they both imitated a third ur-card). Several of the listed services were identical, although this guy's also included "wood piled" and "pornography explained" along with the magisterial "ALSO PREACH AND LEAD SINGING AT REVIVAL MEETINGS"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:17 AM on January 22, 2013


Employees of LEGO win because their business cards are minifigs made to look like them.

/stamps foot

Those Danish bastards!
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:18 AM on January 22, 2013


Metafilter: Business Cards Reviewed in Passive Voice
posted by blue_beetle at 10:19 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, we knew a big (BIG) guy who did security in NYC and it was like: Security, Bodyguard, Tactical Driver, Children's Parties.
posted by shothotbot at 10:20 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


What does Freud's card have written on it?

Might be "Herzlichen Dank!" in the old German cursive script.
posted by gubo at 10:21 AM on January 22, 2013


Nota bene: someone over on Hacker News pointed out that at least two are fakes originating from this site.
...as that site puts it "reproductions". Which is to say, fake.
accurate reproductions of real cards != fake

If someone shows you a print of the Mona Lisa, is that "fake"? Yes, if the print is being sold as an actual item that da Vinci touched but no if the print is being sold as a "reproduction".
posted by DU at 10:24 AM on January 22, 2013


"Herzlichen Dank!"

I should have specified that I wanted it in both Freudian and English.
posted by DU at 10:25 AM on January 22, 2013


I've always suspected that the more I found out about Mark Zuckerberg the more I'd dislike him. Suspicion confirmed.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:25 AM on January 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


If anyone needs material fro a FFP about bad business cards, I'll send you mine! (it's awful!)
posted by vespabelle at 10:25 AM on January 22, 2013


The Chuck Jones business card solidly backs up scody's recollection and momento of her Uncle Chuck
posted by Blasdelb at 10:26 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Woz's is so ... Woz.
posted by mazola at 10:27 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


DU: “If someone shows you a print of the Mona Lisa, is that ‘fake’? Yes, if the print is being sold as an actual item that da Vinci touched but no if the print is being sold as a ‘reproduction’.”

They're not reproductions. It may say they are, but I sincerely and deeply doubt that the Wright Brothers put "HANGAR @ HUFFMAN FIELD" on their business cards. I look forward to being proven wrong, however.
posted by koeselitz at 10:28 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had a break in between M.S. and Ph.D. programs, where I was basically a ski bum/vagabond. I had business cards printed up that just had my name on one line and Scientist on the next. I'm very proud of that achievement, although it does appear Asimov outdid me nicely.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:28 AM on January 22, 2013


Best Business Card Ever

These pop up a lot. Supposedly there were gag business card vending machines that made them. here is a similar one.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:28 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a Valve business card lying somewhere, it's orange with rounded corners, very tasteful.

John Romero's is, if I recall, made of metal, and someone was able to cut a sandwich with it.

My business card has a pixilated unicorn on it, and this fascinated Tim Rogers when I showed it to him. He did not have one to give to me.
posted by hellojed at 10:28 AM on January 22, 2013


I figured Tim Rogers would just give you a short pamphlet about his experiences trying to get a business card printed at Kinko's and there's a URL on the back where you can pull up his contact information.
posted by griphus at 10:30 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


griphus, IIRC he pointed to his scarf, which had his email on it. Including QR codes, this was a few years back when they were in vogue.
posted by hellojed at 10:32 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


They're not reproductions. It may say they are, but I sincerely and deeply doubt that the Wright Brothers put "HANGAR @ HUFFMAN FIELD" on their business cards. I look forward to being proven wrong, however.

I'm not saying they are or aren't fake. I'm just saying that finding them on that gift site proves nothing even with the word "reproduction" on it.
posted by DU at 10:32 AM on January 22, 2013


Supposedly there were gag business card vending machines that made them.

Okay Metafilter, show me your meta power. WHERE DO I FIND ONE OF THESE MACHINES?
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:33 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a Valve business card lying somewhere, it's orange with rounded corners, very tasteful.

posted by hellojed at 6:28 PM on January 22


I want you to call up the person immediately and tell them that unless Valve drops everything in order to concentrate solely on producing Half Life 3, then I am going to burn down their headquarters.
posted by Decani at 10:39 AM on January 22, 2013


Supposedly there were gag business card vending machines that made them.

Okay Metafilter, show me your meta power. WHERE DO I FIND ONE OF THESE MACHINES?


I recall them being in the Hong Kong Subway system in the mid 1990s, you might have even been able to use your subway card in them.
posted by shothotbot at 10:40 AM on January 22, 2013


For a second there I thought the Wright Brothers had an email address on theirs.

Is the Wright Bros. one a fake? The address, 1127 W. 3rd, was used by the Wrights from 1897 to 1908. Mr. Huffman's field was used by the Wrights starting in 1904. They built the shed to work on their plane in 1905. The term "hangar" comes into aviation from French for shed, like the one the Wrights built, however on the card it's written "hanger" as in the hooky thing you hang your clothes on. As for the @ symbol. In the late naughty aughties, the symbol was used for "at" as in "peanuts @ $.02 a pound" and not in any geographical sense as is more common today. So anyway, I'm doubtful here.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:41 AM on January 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


mcstayinskool: If nothing else, VistaPrint can be used for a variety of card-related purposes. (I also have a very boring box of cards from them that have my name and google voice number on them, but the linked cards are more fun)
posted by rmd1023 at 10:43 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Wright Bros. card is probably a fake, since it uses Futura, which was designed in 1927 (and commercially released in 1936).
posted by theodolite at 10:44 AM on January 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Wright Bros. card is probably a fake, since it uses Futura, which was designed in 1927 (and commercially released in 1936).

It has serifs, so that rules out Futura, any of the other MeFi fontophiles want to name that font?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:51 AM on January 22, 2013


rmd1023, I have seriously considered making a cycling related set of cards to either hand out to clueless drivers or leave under windshield wipers of parked cars. Safer and cheaper than this, I would think. (And yes, VistaPrint is pretty great.)
posted by maudlin at 10:51 AM on January 22, 2013


I have a business card which I give out occasionally to people who know my sense of humor. It has only 3 lines of text:
Name, Contact Information, the single word;
Expert
posted by X4ster at 10:53 AM on January 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thanks, VistaPrint will save me a plane ticket on a time machine to 1990s Hong Kong.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:06 AM on January 22, 2013


The Wright Brothers and Einstein ones are fakes sold by this site. The Lincoln one is an 1864 piece of anti-Lincoln campaign propaganda. Me and my Tweeps have been running this to ground today, not that debunking ever seems to stick.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:07 AM on January 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's pronounced rew-shay? I've always said rew-sha. Useful card! It the stress on the first syllable or the second?

I had exactly that reaction when I was watching The Cool School--a terrific little documentary about the modern art scene in mid-century LA. His friends all pronounced it "rue-SHAY"--although with it being definitely "rue" (i.e. not a completely unaccented schwa sound) there's a sense in which both syllables are stressed--the second just receives a stronger stress.
posted by yoink at 11:14 AM on January 22, 2013


No doubt also a fake/apocryphal, but the divorce lawyer with the perforated his-n-hers business card is pretty hard to beat for design wit.
posted by colie at 11:14 AM on January 22, 2013


> It's pronounced rew-shay? I've always said rew-sha. Useful card! It the stress on the first syllable or the second?

Second, and it's pronounced the same as Berton Roueché's surname, an odd fact I've always enjoyed (especially since it's almost impossible to guess the correct pronunciation of either name from the spelling).
posted by languagehat at 11:21 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Muhammad Ali
Pavel R. Popovich
Moredcai (Three Finger) Brown
posted by Kabanos at 11:25 AM on January 22, 2013


The serif text on the Wright card is Bauer Bondoni. First used in 1790. The smaller sans-serif text is Futura, first used in 1927. So fake.

Courtesy of Identifont.
posted by Xoc at 11:26 AM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Freud one isn't a business card; it's a calling card.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:34 AM on January 22, 2013


"Herzlichen Dank!"

I should have specified that I wanted it in both Freudian and English.


"Heartfelt thanks!"
posted by mr_roboto at 11:40 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have the Woz's business card. It is made of a thin piece of laser cut titanium. I got an opportunity to hang out with him after one of his speaking engagements on his book tour. He convinced me and others in my group that it could be made to do a green flash if held in the right light. We spent several minutes each trying to get it to flash. I was proud to be the only one who could make it flash regularly right up until he revealed it was a trick. He had palmed a laser pointer. While we were all carefully watching and each tilting the card to try to get it to flash, he was standing off to the side and selectively bouncing his laser pointer off it. He felt bad about this and let me drive his Segway around for a few minutes until his assistant pointed out that he had another engagement. We helped him load his assistant and his Segways back into his Prius and he drove off. I pull the card out to use as a fidget whenever I get really stuck on a hard problem, hoping that some of that Woz magic will help me through. Never called the number on it though.
posted by humanfont at 11:41 AM on January 22, 2013 [18 favorites]


Kaiser Wilhelm II's calling card from your link is pretty great.

"Honey, who was that German man at the party last night?"

"Who, Hans from the office?"

"No, no, he had a military uniform covered in medals."

"Hmm...I think I saw Karl from the shop down the street drop by?"

"It wasn't Karl, I saw Karl."

"Wait, I think the man left a card...oh, right, it was Kaiser Wilhelm the emperor of Germany."

"Ah, that explains the armed escort."
posted by Sangermaine at 11:42 AM on January 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


Wow, I used to live like a block away from Chuck Jones' Enterprises... I never knew. :-(
posted by Huck500 at 11:57 AM on January 22, 2013


Incidentally, the genteel southern ladies that taught me etiquette when I was a pre-teen (perhaps more on that later) taught me the proper way to wear your cummerbund was with the folds of the pleats down creating little rows of pockets so that the ladies could place a calling card in them.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:01 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


DU: “I'm not saying they are or aren't fake. I'm just saying that finding them on that gift site proves nothing even with the word 'reproduction' on it.”

This is pointless pedantry. The point isn't that they're fakes because they originated from that site. The point is that they're fakes and they originated from that site.
posted by koeselitz at 12:07 PM on January 22, 2013


My favorite is Kevin Mitnick.
posted by Splunge at 12:11 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


58 comments in and nothing about eating William Carlos Williams' business card? You've changed, metafilter.
posted by boo_radley at 12:13 PM on January 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Eggshell with Romalian Type...
posted by 1367 at 12:18 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


On of my friends had a card with the official seal for NYC, which read:

Namey McNamerson
Creative Director
City of New York

We were both a little disappointed when he got promoted to VP of something or other.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:32 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying they are or aren't fake. I'm just saying that finding them on that gift site proves nothing even with the word 'reproduction' on it.

Three of the four shown on the front page of that site are unambiguously fake. That's enough to make me highly suspicious of the Einstein card too.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:32 PM on January 22, 2013


My business cards are 3x5 and say "Undertaker" on them. When I hand them out to MetaFilter friends, I usually write on them "If this is found on my corpse, please contact ColdChef"
posted by ColdChef at 12:40 PM on January 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Three of the four shown on the front page of that site are unambiguously fake. That's enough to make me highly suspicious of the Einstein card too.


I can't prove the authenticity of the card either way, but I will say that "Dr. Albert Einstein" seems rather over the top for him. He signed only his name even when corresponding with the president.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:40 PM on January 22, 2013


Oh! And my other favorite Undertaker card.
posted by ColdChef at 12:42 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is it my imagination or is the bite out of the side of the Freud card shaped like a penis?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:46 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always liked my friend's card:

Friend's Name
Mad Scientist

posted by trip and a half at 12:55 PM on January 22, 2013


I just noticed that none of these are actually business cards -- apparently, they're just cleverly arranged grids of pixels on my computer monitor that at first glance look like business cards. I feel cheated.
posted by webmutant at 1:02 PM on January 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm surprised nobody is asking about Andy Warhol's telephone number: Murry Hill 30555. I remember NYC's telephone exchanges well, although at 40 I suspect I'm the youngest person who does. They're a particularly delightful piece of NYC history.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:05 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


And he misspelled it, even! (It's Murray Hill, not Murry Hill.) But so many people misspell that one.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:09 PM on January 22, 2013


I have a huge pile of potential titles that I plan on using on business cards one day. My goal is to have them all randomly printed, so when I give one to someone, I don't necessarily know which one it'll be.

Some of my favorites include:

Minor Internet Celebrity
Agent of Chaos
Uncle of Lies
Purveyor of Sin
Esteemed Homeboy
Smug Nerd
ironic hipster douchebag
Pom Star
That Which Goes Bump in the Night
Grand Vizier to the Kraken
Made of Bees
Not A Secret Agent
Arbiter of the Arbitrary
Amateur Iconoclast
Spooky Action at a Distance
Artfully Stupid
Authority Figure
Godless Heathen
Nihilist Apostate
Howling Shit
Brigand
Authentic Lunatic
posted by quin at 1:22 PM on January 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


a few more for you quin:

Provocateur
Local Deviant
Glass Blower Supervisor III
Parliamentarian
Change Manager
Minister of Sauce
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:25 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The smaller sans-serif text is Futura, first used in 1927. So fake.

It's a font from the future, duh.
posted by yoink at 1:27 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


This reminds me of a great book I came across once, The Art of the Bookplate by James Keenan. It looks like the book has gone out of print, but if you can find a copy in the library it's worth at least taking off the shelf to flick through quickly. There is some written history, but most of the book is dedicated to a scanned collection of bookplates of the rich and famous, taken from their personal libraries. Khrushchev's was a favorite of mine—a woodcut, if I remember, of him letting a few doves into the air from cupped hands, with a spaceship heading for the night sky behind him.
posted by mcoo at 2:27 PM on January 22, 2013


Somewhere, I have Tom Savini's business card. He gave it to me when I recognized him in a movie theater lobby.
posted by item at 2:49 PM on January 22, 2013


Re Andy Warhol's phone number, check out William Carlos Williams'! It's, like, J-127, or something. How is that EVEN a phone number?
posted by Sara C. at 3:19 PM on January 22, 2013


I don't have a real need for business cards, but I still feel I should get some printed up that say "legitimate businessman".
posted by ckape at 3:30 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Name, Contact Information, the single word;
Expert


Paint it on your truck.

Kienholz could plan a funeral, too.
“His corpulent, embalmed body was wedged into the front seat of a brown 1940 Packard coupe. There was a dollar and a deck of cards in his pocket, a bottle of 1931 Chianti beside him, and the ashes of his dog Smash in the trunk. To the whine of bagpipes, the Packard, steered by his widow, rolled like a funeral barge into the big hole: the most Egyptian funeral ever held in the American West, a fitting [exit] for this profuse, energetic, sometimes brilliant, and sometimes hopelessly vulgar artist.”
posted by zamboni at 3:32 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Bill Gates and Steve Jobs cards are fakes.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:37 PM on January 22, 2013


I'm sorry a lot of these turned out to be fakes. I've self-flagged the post.
posted by gilrain at 4:52 PM on January 22, 2013


I have a friend whose father was part of Just Cause, in Panama, and came home with one of Manny Noriega's cards. It was ENORMOUS, like 5x7 maybe, and all in script, and stated his title as "Commandante Jefe".
posted by uberchet at 5:09 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dean Kamen's card from the mid 1990's
posted by Wild_Eep at 5:10 PM on January 22, 2013


I rather like the business card briefly shown in the movie Mystery Men.
posted by barnacles at 5:25 PM on January 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


My employer has an online form thingie for ordering new business cards. I suspect they're reviewed before sent off for printing, but I have been sorely tempted to use "MASTER OF TIME AND SPACE" for a title.
posted by jquinby at 5:42 PM on January 22, 2013


barnacles, say it with me: "Heller!"

Now, where'd I put my Tornado In A Can?
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:52 PM on January 22, 2013


Of all the business cards I've ever had the only one I ever saved was actually a design proof from when my company at the time was rebranding with new logos and whatnot. I was the manager of my department and in place of my real title on the proof (something boring, which appeared on my actual cards), it said "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle". I felt like that really captured what I did all day in a way my real title never could.

I'm now going back to school for accounting and I look forward to someday having a card that bills me as "Accountant To The Stars".
posted by padraigin at 6:04 PM on January 22, 2013


No Patrick Bateman?
posted by lalochezia at 6:05 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


My latest work business card has two job titles on it. One is the position I was hired for (sales engineering) the other is the other things around the office I work on (mixologist of tipulars, ie companies bartender).

Very strange thing indeed to be working for a startup.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:26 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


How about:

First Lastname
Internet Meme

Also, is it too late to put "AOL Keyword: " on my business card?
posted by ODiV at 9:00 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


not_on_display
this is freeform — go nuts

user 61170
will write posts for favorites
posted by not_on_display at 9:34 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Back when my Google-employed friends never actually interacted with anyone outside the company, but still got free business cards, there was a bit of a competition to see who could have the wackiest title. "Imperial Penguin Commander," I believe, was the unanimous winner.

I knew some other tech guys who thought they were being Oh So Clever by using "Terminus" instead of "Atlanta" on their business cards, until they had problems getting their mail. I would have gone with Marthasville myself, for extra ironic hipster cool points.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:58 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dammit, I'm never going to explain to anyone why I'm laughing at work.

I wanna be an imperial penguin commander when I grow up!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:44 AM on January 23, 2013


Re Andy Warhol's phone number, check out William Carlos Williams'! It's, like, J-127, or something. How is that EVEN a phone number?

Like this.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:01 AM on January 24, 2013


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