In our recent articles we’ve covered Christmas cards and booklet printing. Now it’s time to turn our attention to business cards. So let’s start with a look at their origins, before moving on to discuss their relevance in the modern world.
The origins of modern Business Cards
We all know what they are and what they’re for … or do we? And are we being imaginative enough when we design them today? Let’s take a quick walk through their history, which might give us some useful pointers. There is some evidence that they originated in China as long ago as the 15th century, but certainly an early variation was in widespread use in Europe by the 17th century as a ‘Visiting Card’. These cards would announce the arrival of a distinguished guest, and were roughly the size of a modern playing card. As we reach high society in the 19th century, these cards – now known as ‘Calling Cards’ – were kept on a card tray in the hall, showing off one’s long list of visitors and more practically reminding the owners who they needed to pay a return visit to. We can imagine Darcy, or any number of characters from Dickens novels, presenting their cards to a servant at the door!
And so to the present day, where business cards are exchanged with very little formality and generally contain simple contact information only. Just think about your own experience in giving and receiving them, and then contrast that with Asian custom where the giving and receiving of cards is not to be taken lightly but with great respect and care!
Why use Business Cards at all any more?
In this age of the internet and social media and virtually instantaneous availability of information; of Smartphone apps and a host of digital contact systems; and on-line networking hubs like Linkedin, is the business card dead or alive?
Well, to put things into perspective, in the United States alone nearly 28 million business cards are printed a DAY, in a business worth over $3 billion annually. That’s a lot of cards!
It’s much more than tradition that drives volumes like this – there are some very practical reasons, including the small size of the card which can be kept in a purse or wallet and be readily accessible (and stored digitally later if required); its use as a reminder or memento; their use as a “who’s who?” if you’re in a meeting with people you’ve never met before and you arrange the cards in front of you carefully; and perhaps most importantly of all the mutual recognition and invitation to stay in touch. The list goes on …
… but there’s a sobering statistic to follow, that almost 90% of business cards are discarded in less than a week!
So if you’re convinced of the need for them, how can you make yours memorable?
The 3 essential characteristics of a superb business card
Seriously, it’s as simple as this. Once again, think about the business cards you’ve been given or seen that you didn’t throw away within a week (if you’ve seen any). What was it about them that was so special? It’s fair to say that it probably wasn’t the contact information itself was it? It was how they looked … and perhaps even how they felt!
So how do you get business cards this good?
For starters, think about the image that you’re trying to portray, and how to do it differently; what information to include; what logos or graphics or photos or other artwork you want; and when you’ve done all that click here and take a look at the options available.
You won’t be disappointed, and neither will your clients!
… and as always we’ll be delighted to help you!