The origin of business cards
The business cards you carry in your pocket today evolved from visiting cards that go back as far as the 17th century. During the 18th and 19th centuries, a visiting card would be given to a servant at the door and carried to the lady or master of the house on a silver platter.
Thus avoiding Chinese whispers “this king bloke at the door would that be Mr King the Baker or his Royal Highness George IV” and providing the ability to be out to people trying to save you money on your gas and electricity supply. If no one was at home the card would be left to say who had called, thus avoiding the need for teenagers to take and forget a message.
Why do you need them?
Whilst no longer carried around on silver platters, even in today’s electronic world, business cards are still an essential tool for any serious businessman or trades person.
We still expect to be able to ask for a business card and phrases like “I’ve just changed jobs and haven’t got the new ones printed yet” don’t leave one with a warm feeling about the organisational ability of a potential new supplier.
If you don’t intend to have business cards, think of your response now to a potential customer requesting one, would you be delighted to hear this response from a potential supplier? If so, stop reading now and find a more useful way to spend your time.
Glad to see your still with us, now before rushing off to your nearest printer for an urgent run of business cards give a little thought to how they will be used and what is the best design for you and your company rather than what’s the most convenient design for the printer.
How will you use them?
Many organisations use business cards as an advertising medium. Plumbers frequently ask their favourite builders merchant to keep a supply of their cards on the counter in a suitable business card dispenser. On the third visit for parts, even the most diehard DIY’er considers screaming for help.
If you’re likely to use your cards in this way, keep in mind they may end up in a multi pocket business card stand with only the top part of the card visible, keep this in mind when designing the layout.
Taxi firms place a plastic business card holder full of cards in pubs or restaurants to encourage people to get a ride home instead of walking. When out and about in the evening, you’re more likely to have a wallet or purse with you than a desktop card holder, so the smart taxi firm would have cards about the same size as a credit card.
Slightly smaller than the standard but, much more likely to be carried around and be easily to hand when needed in the future.
If you’re an oven cleaner, consider cards made as fridge magnets.
Magnetic cards also attach to metal filing cabinets and are an excellent way of separating your cards from the herd.