History Of Business Cards
Business concerns use cards to convey information about their business to people they come in contact with. The
forerunners of business cards came into existence in China as early as the 15th century!
These early cards carried the name and title of the person and were called as calling cards. They were left at
places where one made courtesy calls. These cards were about the size of a playing card. There was space for the
visitor to sign his name and even write a short message. These cards began to be used in France in the 17th
century, during the reign of Louis XIV, and soon spread to the rest of Europe.
The use of calling cards was governed by rules of etiquette and these rules were very strictly followed.
Business cards, called ‘Trade cards’, first appeared in England in the 17th century. Newspapers were not yet
developed enough to carry advertisements. Commercial ventures had to rely on trade cards to advertise their wares
Trade cards soon became the common and popular way to advertise businesses. Since there were no proper numbering
of buildings in a street, it was not unusual for a trade card to carry a map giving directions to the shop. Until
the 19th century trade cards were printed using woodcut or letter press method. Usually the name of the trader was
printed in black on a white background. Sometimes simple colors were used for the lettering.
Printing technology kept improving and by 1830 lithographic printing had come into its own in Europe. Now that
it was possible to print in colors, the cards became more attractive with colorful designs and prints. By the time
20th century came around, people were no longer using visiting or calling cards.
Trade cards became very popular and they developed into an attractive and sophisticated means of conveying
business information to the public at large. Today there are numerous styles of business cards to choose from. The
quality of print in business cards is excellent. Every day brings new materials and processes used for printing
The latest technology to arrive on the scene is thermo-graphic prints for business cards. In today’s business
world, the business card would be seen as reflecting the quality of business it advertises.
Business cards now thicker because such cards are thought to create a more favourable impression on a client
than a thinner card would. Business cards used to be printed on 250gsm laid board but now 400gsm cards are
There are ways to give the business card a very sophisticated and classy look. The cards might have a matt or
glossy finish and even spot UV, so that these special cards will make a good impression on the client.
Learn more with business cards for free.