History of business cards
Dipped your toes into the business world? If yes, you know that one primary sign of professionalism. The Business Cards! They are not just 2×3 inch pieces of cards that display contact information of an employed individual, but they are one’s professional identity. Now, you maybe thinking, “Who needs Business Cards in the age of social media and whatsapp?” Technology has also caused Business Cards to evolve in a way that it can hold more and more information since its inception.
Dating back to 15th century China, business cards were used as a courtesy call ahead of a person’s visit to their home or place of work. Funnily enough business cards – back then did the work to Whatsapp or Facebook messenger – giving a head’s up before arriving at your destination. “Meshi” were business cards used for the same purpose but for a royal family. These cards were presented in a grand ceremonious way, a process still done today.
From the 17th century onwards, business cards starting serving their purpose as they do today. “Trade cards” in England during the 17th century were roughly square pieces of papers or cards meant for the purpose of marketing services or goods. Merchants during this period would hand these cards out which had information such as the business name, which services were provided and locations where they were provided – sometimes a primitive map was used to display the locations. With the inception and advancement of the printing press – a “golden age” in traditional trade cards was ushered in. Almost every business ranging from shoemakers to forgers had a trade card to advertise their services. These early editions for the modern-day business card, share the same features as the cards in use today – providing essential information for doing business.
By the 20th century, business cards became mandatory – for any sized company and important individuals providing a service. It would be weird and embarrassing for a business owner if a customer asked for a business card and the owner was unable to provide one. Safe to say, the customer would have left with a very bad impression of the business – somehow professionalism became attached with the ability to provide a business card.
As the centuries passed, business card etiquette transformed. From being used as a card to give a ‘heads up’ before arriving to advertising products and services, business cards by the Victorian era had become a “tool of commerce” – which aided in boosted trade throughout the Industrial revolution. The business cards of this day and age are given out anywhere, anytime. They are distributed frequently whenever appropriate and relevant – during networking events, in a casual setting and most importantly during formal business meets. Individuals try to advertise as much as possible about their business – often business cards are attached to brochures or leaflets to promote a product or service.
Even designs of business cards have evolved over the centuries. Originally written in calligraphy – with royal versions engraved with gold, business cards in the Victorian age had features because of the advancement in printing. Using lithography, which was very new then – mass production of business cards began. Today’s business cards contain job titles, qualifications, and contact details – all squished into a compact piece of paper.
Nowadays it has become super simple to design the most sophisticated, trendy and fashionable business card without the need to hire expensive design professionals. With the Sailax digital business card app, you can create your own digital business card in a very user-friendly manner and also eliminate the need to print 1000s of paper cards! Try it for free now!