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Business cards have been around for years. At trade fairs and meetings, they are passionately handed out to potential partners or customers everywhere. But where does the business card come from? And was it always used the way we do? We dived into the history and found out for you!
Is it from China?
There are different stories about the origin of the business card. Some people claim that the business card was already being used in China in the 15th century. At that time, business cards were called Meishi. The Europeans who came there for trade found it interesting that they brought the custom to mainland Europe. According to another story, the origin is France. Here, the card was used to announce visitors. And which of the stories is the correct one?
What was the business card used for in the past?
The first form of business cards was used to announce visitors. The well-to-do sent a servant out with a card announcing his arrival. Did the recipient accept the little card? Did the servant return with the same card? Then you knew you were just welcome.
This is also how the cards were used in the time of Louis XIV – also called Louis the Great or Sun King. Without an announcement through such a card, you did not have to count on a visit from the king. A business card was also ideal for writing down short appointments or messages.
The first business use of business cards
In the 17th century, business cards were first used for business purposes. Already somewhat as we can now. Back then, they were mainly cards to promote a business. Information, discounts, and directions to local businesses began to find their way into designs. The cards were still not very personal. Later, this use was replaced by advertisements in newspapers.
Carte de Visite
In the mid-19th century, in 1854, the first personal business cards were used in France. This was a photograph of André Adolphe Eugene Disdéri confirmed on a card, with his contact details underneath. These cards quickly became popular and were frequently handed out to family, friends, and customers. The first actual business card as we know it was born.
Soon the business card became a must item in the business market. Since printing became more common and affordable, the business card has become indispensable. Business cards are eagerly handed out at all levels of the business world and beyond. Despite the digital age we now live in, their popularity is hardly declining. Not surprisingly, so. Nowadays, you can choose from various paper types and finishes, which can also be an extension of you or your company.
The business cards now
You cannot attend a trade fair or event without handing out business cards. So we can speak of the successful development of this simple but effective product. And nowadays, it creates many more opportunities. Storytelling through a business card or other printed matter can put your company on the map. Still, looking for tips on the perfect business card? We will gladly give you examples of different business cards. That way, you can be full of ideas!