I realize that some people think that place cards are too formal. It is my belief, though, that at a dinner party of more than six people they are integral to the success of the evening. There are always many kinds of personalities; some are talkative and some are not. The key is to have everyone participating and engaged in conversation. Although it has to do with the people that are attending, it also has to do with where they are sitting. For example, it is not wise place two talkers next to one another.
If you are at a party where the hostess used place cards, ahdere to them because most likely there was a reason for them. There are plenty of fun ways to be creative with them too!