Two important lessons about having business cards at trade shows/conventions. The first one is obvious: always have them on hand. Always have some, even when attending a social activity when that activity precludes handing them out, such as skydiving. If you leave them behind, you will encounter someone that could be a good contact just as you achieve terminal velocity.
When designing an identity, the primary element that spawns the entire creative package depends on the client. Are you like FedEx, where your primary contact with potential customers is the delivery truck? Are you like Hot Wheels, where your presence in the marketplace is the packaging? When I look at marketing myself, it’s the one-on-one contact. I’ll be heading to the GAMA Trade Show in a little over two weeks, and my hope is to make several contacts there and hope that some of them will pay off in freelancing opportunities that grow into a great relationship. But to do that, I’ll need something to leave behind with the potential client, something that is going to be my main point of contact with them. That item is a business card.