The origin and use of business cards

With all the new and updated ways of marketing your business in 2024, there is one old-school concept that will never go away: the humble business card. But where and when did business cards come into use as a way of networking and drumming up business?

The earliest known use of the business card was the visiting card, used in China in the 15th century. People would carry around small cards that promoted who they were and described their credentials, and they would send these to other people as a request to meet them. Kind of like how we send emails today!

In the mid-17th century, the visiting card emerged as a sophisticated means of social introduction in Europe. These ornate cards served as a symbol of status and were exchanged during formal gatherings. Then the “trade card” emerged, which had business information printed on one side and a small map on the other so customers could find the business.

The Industrial Revolution and the printing press becoming more common served to make trade cards easier and cheaper to produce, and people began using them to introduce themselves and their business in one – thus, the business card we know and love today was born!

Fast forward to the digital age, where virtual connections are convenient and quick, and you might wonder how relevant the business card is today. However, business cards remain powerful networking assets. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, they offer a tangible representation of professionalism and credibility.

In a world rife with virtual communication, a well-designed business card can make a lasting impression. Its physical presence provides a tactile experience, and the act of exchanging cards fosters a personal connection, like a handshake. It’s also quicker and easier than trying to take someone’s details down on a phone or sticky note!

First impressions matter more than ever in the modern world of business, where information is always at our fingertips. An eye-catching business card can make a world of difference in making a good first impression on a potential customer or business contact.

Whether exchanged at conferences, meetings, or chance encounters, these little cards can seamlessly blend design with practicality. So, next time you hand out your business card, remember that you're carrying on a tradition that spans centuries, linking you to a rich history of connections and opportunities.

Need to update your business card? Talk to our friendly team and let Cardzilla bring your vision to life and get your message out there!