A Brief History of the Business Card

A Brief History of the Business Card

These days, when people launch a new business venture, it’s considered standard practice to build a new website, create social media accounts, and have a bunch of professional-looking business cards printed up. While business cards are often thought of as being a modern custom, they actually have roots at least as far back as the 15th century.

Visiting Cards in China

During the 15th century in China, visiting cards came into vogue. An individual could have his or her visiting card presented to the servants of a household or other establishment in order to announce that individual’s intention to visit. By examining the visiting card, the recipient could decide whether to accept the meeting.

Calling Cards in France

By the 17th century, the idea of the calling card had reached Europe. Under the reign of Louis XIV, it became fashionable for both ladies and gents to carry a personalized calling card. Just like in China, this was used as a way to express one’s interest in meeting someone else. These calling cards were used to pave the way to all sorts of interactions—from business deals to courtship. During this time, most households in the upper and middle social classes kept dishes near the door to hold received calling cards. When proffering one’s calling card, a person could write down a personalized note. They were often used to express sentiments associated with Hallmark cards today, such as condolences, thanks, or congratulations.

Trade Cards During the 17th Century

Not long after calling cards came into fashion, businesses began using trade cards. These cards were intended to solve a major problem of the time: the fact that addresses were not in widespread use. A typical trade card contained information about the business on one side, with a map on the other side. An example of directions might be “By the Thames River, opposite the butcher’s.”

Here at Reproductions, Inc., we understand the importance of making a great first impression. It’s our business to help your business look polished and professional, so give us a call today to inquire about our full spectrum of printing services. You can reach our team in Tucson at (520) 622-7747.

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