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Japan’s ‘smiling business cards’ bring cheer in trying Covid times

Smiling cards from Japan's Nagaya Printing Company

Innovation is the name of the game, especially in times of crisis like the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A prominent example of this came up in Japan, where a line of business cards displays the lower half of the bearer’s face with a smile. This image seems to be saying, “Nice to meet you, this is what I look like!”. This is absolutely true as this half is the one which is covered by the face mask worn by everyone as a measure of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

Now masks that have become a necessary equipment in these times of Coronavirus pandemic have come to stay. The problem is that it makes it hard for one to recognise the other person’s face. Realising this major obstacle in our daily social interaction, a printing company of Nagoya’s Higashi Ward came up with a solution. The firm’s name is Nagaya Printing Company and it decided to "brighten the world on the business front" with the smiling (literally) calling cards.

Established in 1919, this company’s main line of business was printing catalogues and flyers. With the drop in business due to pandemic, the firm was wondering how to innovate in order to spur their business. Then came the idea of printing half of a person's face on a business card as they realised it was difficult to see people's expressions under their masks, making it hard to read their feelings.

Having started the sale of these “smile business cards" from the end of June, the company received more than a dozen orders. Those firms who ordered these cards described the concept as “interesting” and that it had “a strong impact and will be remembered by the recipient."

Even though it has not made any direct impact on the printing company’s business and performance, Nagaya’s representative said: "It hasn't directly contributed to our business performance yet, but we are glad that people are interested in our idea, which no other company has had."