Usually concealed behind credit cards, a business card usually sits in your wallet for weeks on end. The card only surfaces when you meet someone you want to share your contact information with. Typically, this person is either a business associate or a prospective client. Regarded today as a trivial piece of paper, the business card has a long established past.
A business card is a type of card displaying the business specifics of a business or an individual. The key importance of business cards is for convenience and memory aid. A business card generally features the following:
- The giver’s name and title
- Business affiliation that usually comes with a logo
- Contact details including the company’s address, phone and fax numbers, e-mail address and website
Modern business cards may also include social media handles like Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Customarily, business cards were plain black text on white paper. Nowadays, modern business cards can sometimes incorporate one or two eye-catching graphic designs.
The History of Business Cards
Developed in Europe in the 17th century, business cards were used to announce the arrival of aristocrats. Fashioned much like playing cards, business cards became well-used by royals and affluent people. The very first kinds of business cards were high-class and embellished with embossed gold and opulent fonts. Houses of affluent people notably had card trays carefully placed for callers to leave their cards.
In the 19th century, aside from business cards, leaving social cards when visiting a house became the norm. The card tray was made available to the visitor and social cards were put into the tray as a sign of social graces. The tray will then be removed to be brought to the lady of the house. She will then evaluate the card to acquire a first impression of the caller. The style and fold of the cards highlighted who the card was meant for. Folded edges meant that the card was for a particular person in the house, while being folded in the middle meant that the card was for every member of the family. Additionally, there were also letterings on the card for various meanings: P/C was for a condolence call and P/F was for a celebratory visit.
The formality surrounding the use of business and social cards has changed as the years passed. Eventually, business and social cards merged. Formal etiquette had vanished but some principles still apply today. One of them is that there must not be any handwriting on the card. Any handwritten note must be penned on the other side of the card. Another business card etiquette that is still used these days is to always present the card using the right hand.
Business Cards Today
These days, almost every professional, particularly those with high ranking positions, have business cards. Unlike before, card designs these days are more minimalist and less luxurious. Gold carvings and heavy embellishments aren’t necessary anymore. Today, it’s all about eye-catching but clear-cut design and important contact information.
Do you think of the importance of business cards in the past is something that can still be applied to the modern-day networking methods?