What’s In A Name(card)?

Impression de Luxe creates the world’s most luxurious name cards

First impressions count. Research from Princeton University suggests that first impressions are formed in less than a second. Within the blink of an eye, the fate of an interview, a business or a conglomerate may rest on the style of your hair, the cut of your suit, the silk of your tie, or even something even subtler, like the notes of your cologne or the design of your name card.

In 2008, the global financial markets saw its largest upheaval in decades. And in business, out of wreckage, opportunity is born. Three colleagues, united by their employ in event planning, saw an opening in the market. Where surrounding them were the buzzwords of austerity and cost-cutting, the three Frenchmen swam against the tide, betting that even as the paradigm shifted, there would always be a demand for luxury products. They created Impression de Luxe, a studio dedicated to creating exquisite, bespoke name cards for the discerning, demanding few. First impressions do count, after all, even for the 0.1%.

The first step they took was to abandon completely the notion of using paper. The second was to embrace the usage of precious and non-precious metals. The third was to school themselves in the art and technology of crafting the products they wanted to produce.

The results are quite stunning.

The simplest design in the catalogue is a discreet engraved brushed metal card (from €540/RM2,600 for 50 pieces). From here the complexity and the imagination heads to the stratosphere. A matt black steel plate card utilising an innovative partial plate etching filled with four silkscreen colours – blue, black, white and red – and studded with a solitary Swarovski crystal (from €640/RM3,080 for 50 pieces). Name cards plated with silver (from €510/RM2,455 for 50 pieces). For an exclusive osteopath in Hong Kong, cards from the gold-plated range (from €510/RM2,455 for 50 pieces). And for French DJ Ben Cooper, a trio of cards – plated with silver, gold and rose gold – designed in the shape of a vinyl LP cover.

Theoretically, any metal that can be stamped into a sheet is fair game for Impression de Luxe. The studio’s workshop team in Var, south France, has handled everything from crude steel and brass to gold and platinum. And there are uncharted frontiers – titanium, perhaps? Or bronze? Pewter? The most expensive metal, rhodium? Mother-of-pearl coatings? Diamond embellishments? The only limit is the imagination.

“We created the company with the intention of making the most beautiful and most expensive name cards in the world,” says Sébastien Talrich, one of the founders of Impression de Luxe and the man responsible for its design division. “(Our cards) are a way to gratify the sight as well as touch. No one is indifferent to a calling card made of metal. It creates a viral interest; it won’t be thrown away but kept, shown and passed on.”

The studio’s list of clients is impressive. High-end professionals and elite individuals seek them out, as do brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audermars Piguet, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Phillip Morris. Talrich estimates that 98% of Impression de Luxe’s clientele are heads of companies, with another separate line of roaring trade – membership cards for high-rollers and the privileged.

To be closer to their audience, the company has since moved to the sunny shores of Monaco, up the coast from Var where the company (then known as the more prosaic Luxury Business Card) was formed in 2007. In this atmosphere of ritz and glitz are the individuals that will appreciate Impression de Luxe’s products the most. And that is not just limited to name cards. Anything that can be desired can be made – certificates, packaging, designer tags, wine bottle labels – with Talrich citing specific examples of bespoke credit cards in 24K gold and brushed metal birthday invitations to a guest list consisting solely of billionaires of what has already been done.

Unsurprisingly, the company’s demographics skew towards the traditional luxury playgrounds of Western Europe and America, along with Russia and the United Arab Emirates. There are fertile pastures further afield and that is where it is heading next. Largely through social media and its online portal, Impression de Luxe has managed to secure clients from over 20 countries and an international following. And it aims to keep growing its reach, further and faster.

First impressions are formed in under a second. What would be the first impression of Impression de Luxe? Exactly what its name means – the unmistakable impression of prestigious luxury.

Impression de Luxe

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