Imagine this: You're at a trade show and meet someone who finds your product or service fascinating. He is the first person you've met at the exhibition who has taken a genuine interest in making a major investment, and you want to make sure to put your best foot forward.

"Can I – let me give you my email," you say, fumbling for a piece of scrap paper. Eventually, the trade show attendee pulls out his phone and you hastily type your information, feeling a little embarrassed and extremely unprepared. You may get the connection's business, but a stronger impression certainly could have been made. How could this nightmare have been prevented?

A quality business card can save the day when it comes to interpersonal interactions such as these. Today, the world around us has gone so digital that many forget the value of a tangible, creative piece of paper that can serve as a reminder and a hallmark of a company's brand and creativity.

Don't Restrict Yourself to the Rectangle
When you think "business card," the image of a simply printed, wallet-sized rectangle leaps to mind, or maybe an especially tense scene in "American Psycho." In short, to be effective, one needs to develop the capacity to think different.

On the surface, a custom cut-out contact graphic may not seem like the brightest idea – what if it pokes someone's hand? What if it doesn't fit in their wallet? Exactly.

Naldz Graphics recently released a list of their favorite 60 designs currently on the market, with many featuring an unusual shape that attracts attention ranked amongst the top picks. Even though a conventional rectangle fits nicely into a wallet, this makes it easier for them to be forgotten. When your card doesn't fit into the exact contours of a wallet and sticks out, or even needs to be held onto a little longer, it becomes a familiar item instead of a forgotten one.

Tailored to Your Niche Market
Depending on what you're trying to sell, concepts for a business card can get pretty wild. Mashable writer Vignesh Ramachandran scoured the Internet for the most innovative uses of the medium, and uncovered some incredibly brand-specific media that undoubtedly turned heads upon their release. A survivalist company, BG Adventure, commissioned a design made completely of all-natural beef jerky, and The Bombay Bakery created another edible, but much sweeter, cookie contact card.

Other notable designs included designs that doubled as rulers, seed holders and cheese graters, giving the company the edge of a functional concept that users will likely encounter again and again

Now, imagine this: you're at the same trade show the next year, this time stocked to the gills with a creative cut-out business card design. An attendee expresses interest in your product or service and you are able to hand him your contact information in a tangible, smart-looking format.

"Cool card," he says, tucking it into his wallet. "We'll be in touch."

Nailed it.