Heat-Sensitive Business Cards Are Like Touchable Polaroids

A gimmicky technology, in the right context, makes for the perfect calling card.

The best business card I ever received looked like it had been printed at home. On one side, there was contact information. On the other, the guy was jamming a guitar. His business had absolutely nothing to do with music.


But the business cards of Natalie Daniels, a Viennese photo producer, are even better. Designed as part of a larger stationery set by corporate branding specialists at Bureau Rabensteiner, each card is coated in a layer of black, thermo-sensitive ink. So when you touch them, a white image develops wherever you make contact. Kiss the card to see lips or firmly tap the card to make a fingerprint. Every interaction you make is responsive.

“It’s just a little effect but has the potential to say so much more,” the studio’s Isabella Meischberger writes. “It’s not so much that the thermo-sensitive varnish itself is an innovation, I think we all have seen it before, but this is a unique way of using it.”

Indeed, for a photo producer, each letter or business card becomes a miniature Polaroid, snapshotting its experience with a potential client. It’s delightfully analog in a world filled with more and more software-induced effects. No doubt, this small analog wonder feels a step more magical than mimicking the effect on some webcam-equipped website might. I imagine that the card could become a small token you’d cherish–at least for a few weeks on your desk–before throwing it away.

“With our passion for materials and paper we’d be lying to say that we don’t see a big value in analog applications and fine printed pieces,” Meischberger writes. “In a world where everything happens faster and cheaper and within an increasing reach, it gets more and more luxurious to produce and own a good stationery.”

For all of $1 apiece, I’d say it was a reasonable printing investment.

See more here.


[Hat tip: technabob]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.