Business cards. Your ID, your value.

Recently we covered the place business cards have in the modern world, however, this only scratches the surface of the value of a good business card. You probably think you know all there is to know about business cards. Chances are you do know what you need to know, but have you ever thought about how we got to have these handheld documents that can change the whole persona you are trying to push?

The Origins of Business Cards

It is said to be from the 17th Century. The place of origin is allegedly Europe. The main and most common use of the first stage business card was to announce a visit from some kind of royal or spiritual organisation. Whether that may be to a specific town or a family home.

One colour ink print graphic on vintage paperOne ink print of shield and frame on vintage paper

Business Cards, but not as we know them

It seems Square business cards for printing were not the first abnormally-shaped business cards. The original first stage business cards were more closely shaped to the size of a playing card rather than the standard 85 x 55mm double-sided business cards you see today. They generally didn't make use of all of the space and only used pencil or one colour of ink on them.

We then move into the 18th and 19th centuries when business cards took their next evolution. The business cards had transformed into cards that were given to each lady upon her first visit to a house for them to be received as social cards.

Calligraphy text on muted yellow business cardText written in calligraphy on a faded white business card

It was a matter of good etiquette and to set up the first impression of the person it came from much like the business cards of today.

Since then the use of business cards hasn't evolved so much but you can tell the difference between the 18th and 19th-century versions based on the design and content included in them and you can order some quality business cards now. The older versions would more likely have included a name, date and a message to that first lady.

Whereas now, business cards come with much more information, plan with a better layout and are available as Recycled Business Cards, they generally include a name, job role, contact information and logo (or person's name or organisation name).

New Innovations; into the modern world of business cards!

Some even go above and beyond from here and are shaped in ways some wouldn't even be able to imagine until they had seen it. They have broken through the boundaries of said 85 x 55 mm business card sizes we see as the basic standard nowadays.

You will see business cards shaped in the form of the company's logo. or in ways that will be useful for people to make actual use of.

Business card containing parts to assemble into a toy carBusiness card featuring a bottle opener

Embossed cards, are cut into to create negative space allowing them to leave lasting impressions as they are not very common at all. However, for the price you will have to pay for these you can understand why they are not for everyone.

Business card with teeth embossed into a white business cardBusiness card featuring security tools

An edible business card is a newer trend, coming in the form of chocolate, salami, biscuit, cake, and even toothpaste!

One of my favourite business cards to date is an ingenious business card that albeit isn't designed to be very exciting but its use of it is top drawer.

Foldable creative business cards

Here you see the business card for a Lawyer, a lawyer who specialises in divorce cases. Now it looks like a normal business card but if you look closely at the middle of it you can actually see a perforation.

This perforation really is incredible once you make use of it. The action taken to the business card of tearing through that perforation is like the tearing through of marriage and creating a division between the paper business cards. This is significant because the lawyer deals in divorce law as you can see.

In the end, you are left with two separate artefacts, just like a marriage that has gone through a divorce, 1 becomes two. To make sure the business card stays useful you can see that the lawyer's information is still included on both sides of the perforation.

What should a Business Card include?

We've looked at style, now let's talk about what a business card can offer you. Stemming from all those years back you know in the 18th and 19th centuries the social card was used to present yourself. First impressions count.

More times than not, your business card will lead the way in being your first impression. When we say this we don't mean just give your business card and run away from the person.

We mean that after you've spoken to the person and really given a great account of yourself, you want to follow it up with a business card that represents you or your line of work in the best way possible.

For example, imagine the printed transparent business card with no text on it at all, just all the icons and styling were present.

Business card created to reflect the lens of a camera

You can clearly still get a complete idea of what the person or organisation/company is offering. Something on the line of photography and video recording. It's these kinds of special cards that will most definitely impress and stick in people's minds.

I love business cards and what they can represent, but I personally love ones that have gone crazy with technology and innovation but can still fit in your wallet. For me, the card must be able to fit in the wallet or it is most likely going to be lost.

This can be such a shame because the innovation from the ones that aren't constricted to the standard size are the ones you're even more likely to remember and maybe even more likely to show interest in whether that may be to the company or a single person because of their incredible vision in it alone.