Business cards are a “wondrous and intricate medium for design and culture. And in this era of Internet …, they are highly underrated. Is print dead? Hardly. These days business cards are more innovative and beautiful than ever.” These are the words of Prescott Perex-Fox, the man behind the Your Business Card Sucks blog. In this lesson plan, students take a critical look at design, both good and bad.
- Language level: Upper-intermediate; Advanced (B2; C1)
- Learner type: Teens; Adults; Business
- Time: 45 minutes
- Activity: Speaking
- Topic: Business cards
- Language: Language of design
- Materials: Video; Slideshow
Lesson plan outline
- Use the example teacher script and questions below to conduct a whole-class discussion about the business card scene from the film American Psycho.
I want to describe a scene from a film. Listen and see if you can identify the film. In the scene, there are five men sitting around a table. Each man has something which is very important to him. The men start comparing these things.
What are these things that the men are comparing? Can you guess?
[Possible answers include: mobile phones, pictures of their family, pictures of their cars, etc. Note that you may want to tell students that although the answer is nothing rude, the scene in the film does have phallic undertones.]
While they compare these things, they refer to:
[Write these words and all other bullet points on the board.]
Any more ideas?
Here are some of the adjectives they use to talk about these things:
- Really nice
- Off white (= almost, but not quite white)
Here are some of the things they say / features that they discuss:
- (It’s got) raised lettering.
- It even has a watermark.
- I picked them up from the printers yesterday.
What do you think that these these men are comparing?
- How long have you had your business card?
- How often do you give it out?
- When did you last give it out? Who did you give it to and where were you?
- How does it compare with previous ones who have had?
- From a design point of view, what do you like / dislike about it?
(Note that this might work best if students are put into pairs / groups.)
Thank you very much to Prescott Perez-Fox at Your Business Card Sucks for giving me permission to use adapted comments from his site. Prescott says that these days he is much less angry about bad business cards.
Ask students what they think of this man, the notorious ‘Best business card in the world’ guy. Wouldn’t you like him to be your life coach?