Published On: March 20, 2009
This week at JLB marked a milestone in my career as a graphic designer – I am the proud owner of my very own business card, with my name on it and everything!
This momentous event got me thinking, though. Where did business cards come from? And are these tiny pieces of paper still relevant in a digital world?
A (very) Brief History of the Business Card
Starting in the 17th century, European aristocrats began using visiting cards, or visite biletes. These cards were about the size of a playing card and were often decorated with the family’s code of arms. Visiting cards were presented to the lady of the house upon arrival, and once the card was inspected, the visitors were invited into the home.
Around the same time in London, trade cards were becoming very popular. These cards acted as advertisements for business owners, and since there was no formal street numbering system yet, they often had directions printed on them.
Once the Industrial Revolution began, the growing middle class saw the need for what we would now call a business card. Basic information was printed on plain paper and handed out at exhibitions. Though the upper class looked down on this practice, its popularity grew among the rest of the population and eventually evolved into our modern day business card.
Click here to get the full history of the business card.
So, where do business cards stand in today’s world?
When it only takes a few seconds to send an email or look up a website, some might wonder if business cards are necessary any more. I believe that they are and here are a few reasons why.
- Business cards are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to market your business.
- They give people an idea of who you are, what you are about and are a way to make a great first impression.
- Trading business cards is ritual in the business world and is a great way to connect with colleagues and clients.
- Business card design can be amazing! Check out some great examples on the HOW design website.
So, now you are thinking business cards are pretty cool and that you could definitely use a new design for yours, aren’t you? You are in luck, friend, because we do that here at JLB, we are constantly giving our clients practical business cards that just look really cool.
Check out our contact page and let us know if there is anything we can help you with. And when you stop by, I’ll be waiting … business card in hand.