If Digital Rules Why Are Business Cards So Important?
Most people would agree that our world is largely online these days; with more and more services, processes and information moving over to digital formats. And in most cases, it makes our lives easier and information more readily available. So, if digital is the way to go, why are business cards still important in the age of the internet and social media? Should you still print business cards when contact information is easily available online?
Business Cards – A Brief History
In the modern world of business, business cards are ubiquitous. They’re so common that you’ve probably never taken the time to consider why we use them or their origins?
Business cards as we know them; a smallish card featuring a person’s name and contact details, first started being used in 17th century Europe. The cards were bigger than the standard 3.5 x 2-inch ones that you see today – they were about the size of a playing card. The cards weren’t used for business though; rather to announce the arrival of a wealthy or aristocratic person about town.
As with anything that the fabulous and rich have, the trend soon filtered down to the middle classes and by the end of the 19th century, anyone who was anyone had a ‘calling card’. A symbol of wealth and how important you were, having a fancy card was a must.
Trades people in the UK also used an early form of the business card – for practical purposes, they often had a map with where they could be found or other contact details.
The two types of card eventually merged and became the business card as we know it. The advent of the industrial revolution and better printing techniques meant that business cards became widespread, especially in America.
Is the Business Card Still Relevant?
Now that you know a little bit about their history, let’s talk about business card use in today’s world.
Business cards are traditionally used by a person who is meeting another person for the first time, and they want to leave their contact details with the other person. This could be for sales purposes, marketing or some people still use them socially.
This has been standard practice for much of the 20th century – cards are exchanged at meetings or trade shows and nobody has questioned it because the system has worked well.
Things are changing though; over the last 10-15 years the internet and social media have become widely used and you can look a person up in a matter of minutes.
In fact, it’s scary the amount of information you can find out about somebody, using just their name.
So, if it’s so easy to add someone right then and there, on LinkedIn for example, then why would you bother to give them a business card? Is there still a place in this world for printed business cards?
Despite the ease of contacting each other online, we believe that the business card is irreplaceable. Here’s why;
Handing over a business card instantly creates a more personal relationship with a person. It’s warmer and more personal than ‘following’ someone or sending a friend request. On a contacts social media account, you are bound to get lost amongst adverts and posts from their other contacts. Handing over a card gives the other person a physical reminder of your meeting and how it went.
Your business card is also your chance to make a good first impression. A well designed, striking card can say a lot about you and your business. Clever marketing people realised long ago that businesses cards don’t just contain contact details; they tell everyone type of company you are.
Finally, and one of the simplest reasons to use a business card is for convenience. Yes, it’s easy to find someone online, but it’s just as easy to take a card from your pocket or bag and hand it over.
Is Business Card Design Important?
Now, as business card designers and printers, we can get very enthusiastic about what a business card design means or what it says about a person. Don’t worry though, we aren’t going to go all Patrick Bateman from American Psycho on you.
We’re still going to stress the importance of a nicely designed card though.
As mentioned, marketers and graphic designers picked up long ago that a business card is a great way to give a very fast impression of a company or brand.
So, in addition to your contact details, such as name, email and telephone number, a great business card should also say what your company does and be visually representative of your brand values.
Is your business young and in the tech industry? Your card should reflect that with a modern design and glossy finish. Or are you working for a chain of upmarket restaurants? In that case, something ivory with gold lettering might be more appropriate.
You see, it’s not only the business card design that matters – it’s the print finish too.
Glossy or matte, unfinished stock, thick or thin. Spot UV finishes if you’re feeling very fancy. There are a multitude of options when it comes to printing business cards and getting the finish to align with what your brand represent is important.
Looking for A Business Card Design or Print?
If you need new business cards, you’re in the right place. Get in touch with us to discuss design options, printing, costs and more.