Four Things You Never Knew About Business Cards

Once it has been designed and printed, many people don’t give much of a thought to those little rectangular cards that are know as business cards. Your business card can tell a lot about your personality, for example, Lascom Communications. This article will provide a comprehensive overview on the history of the business card, and what makes it such an essential business tool.


They Have Been Around For A Long Time

Business cards have been in existence in one form or another since the early 1400’s. These cards originated in China and were known as Meishi meaning the “Visiting Cards.” These cards were used as calling cards to announce a meeting with someone else. These cards were decorated with beautiful calligraphy on handmade paper and used by the upper echelons in China. The card was handed out at an establishments entrance in order to allow the owner to decide if the owner is worthy of a meeting. At the same time, these cards were also popular in Germany. They were used in the form of wood cuttings with the bearer’s name printed on it.

Business Cards Are Distantly Related To Greetings Cards

The business card came to Europe only during the 1600’s. It was introduced by King Louis XIV and referred to as a Trade Card. One side of the card had information, and the other side would contain a map to direct the recipient to the bearer’s home. These trade cards were used as a means of introduction than for business. They expressed condolences and provided notice of an arrival or departure of a person. Women used a shorter and wider card compared to men. Women’s cards were 2.75 to 3 inches wide and 2 to 2.75 inches high. Men’s cards measured around 3 to 3.4 inches long by 1.2 to 1.5 inches wide. The bearer would include a set of initials on the card when writing it. This would express the reason for leaving the card with a particular recipient. This was a popular fashion in France. The most common initials used in France were:


  • r (expressing thanks)
  • f (congratulations)
  • c. (condolences)
  • p.c (taking your leave)
  • f.N.A (Happy New Year)
  • p (Send your visiting card if you want to be introduced to someone)

They Quickly Became Signs Of High Standing

Trade cards became a mark of a gentleman by the 1700’s. Their designs became much more flamboyant and stylish by this time. Men were permitted to carry the cards loose in their pockets while a woman was expected to use a card case for tidiness. If you call into someone’s house, you were expected to leave a card with the servant. The card would be delivered to the host or hostess, and they will decide whether to let you inside. Men were expected to leave their card with every woman in the room when they were visiting friends. If you folded the card in half, it signaled that the card was for multiple members of the same family.

The Use Of The Card Was Divided By The 1900’s

By this time, the lithographic printing method was invented. There are exciting ways to print and display the calling card by this time. Business cards contained a lot of information while a personal card contained only the name and address. Letterpress printing brought about a variety of cards printed on different materials. You could make a card standing out by this time. Exchange of business cards was quite informal during this time. Some countries were meticulous about the card etiquette. In Japan, it is considered rude to write on someone else’s card. Holding the card in your hand is considered a sign of respect for the other person. You should bow and introduce yourself with your name and title while giving the card to another person in Japan.

It is considered rude to study a card for too long once you receive the card in Korea. It should be put away quickly. You should present your own card before asking for someone else’s card. In India, you should present the business card only with your right hand. In Columbia, you should hold the card in one corner with your thumb and index finger. This is because you need not cover the important information in the card.

Today, cards are exchanged freely within the United Kingdom. They are considered an important tactic of branding a business. This is why it is important to have the best business card possible these days. It will definitely help promote your business quite effectively. If you need to know about business card printing, or you prefer to start your own design process, get in touch with us.