The French claim that visiting cards first appeared intheir land in the seventeenth century while theChinese seek to prove that visiting cards wereinvented by their ancestors shortly after they hadconcocted explosive powder. However, the firstever known sample of a visiting card, dating back to 1786, was found in Germany. Gradually, with thedevelopment of certain rules of use, the cards hadbecome common by the nineteenth century.
Do you know which corner of a visiting card you must fold when leaving it with a footman inorder to indicate that you have called on to inquire after the master's health? No? Neither doI, but only a hundred years ago this knowledge was as vital for an aristocrat as dancing andpolite conversation.
Visiting cards used to be an indispensable attribute of the etiquette and the rules of theiruse were as sophisticated as those of cutlery. At that time visiting cards belonged to thenotions of such consequence like title, rank, land, horses etc.
First businessmen used their cards as marks of distinction and thus introduced the firstmodifications in their design. Later, as the growing demand for the cards boosted thedevelopment of the printing industry, more and more sophisticated card design patternsappeared.
On the other hand, there appeared an ever-growing social group of private entrepreneurs whohad a constant need to exchange their contact information. These pragmatic people startedto print out their own cheaper business cards to give them at presentations, exhibitions, conferences etc.
In the modern business card design, with its developed professional conventions, one can stilldetect the two conflicting approaches, the fanciful and the functional one. The purpose of thefirst approach is to show that there is nothing impossible for the card's owner. The morestriking by its design and materials and the more sophisticated in its manufacturingtechnology, the card will be the better. What matters is the card's uniqueness. The content ofthe card does not matter much either.
The other approach, on the contrary, emphasizes functionality. It is the one that rules in thepragmatic West. And the English name of the item - "business card"- also focuses on itsspecific functionality. These cards are essential for those company workers that interact withclients. That is why, on the one hand, you can see a small clerk, a service engineer or even aheaver with his own business card and a head of the department without such if he or she doesnot interact with clients.
Business cards used to be made exclusively of stiff paper (card), but today come in materialsfrom plastics to thin metals and even glass! A name or business card reflects the owner - itshould represent visually the company or the person passing it. Take the time to have a closerlook at your own cards and decide if they really suit you and your company.