Evolution of Business Card from Visiting or a Calling Card

A “business card” also recognized as a “visiting card” is a medium to share an individual details like name, designation, profession, company name, contact numbers, addresses, email ID, messenger IDs, web URLs, etc. Thus it is a common form of advertising media or tool and allows information exchange between individuals and professionals.

In information age though there are several formats used to exchange business card and it might seem a recent invention, its history trails back to 15th Century in China. It was then a “visiting card” or a “calling card” as compared to the modern term.

Like every practice had to come from English, the business card too began to gain its presence vividly in English society from 17th Century during Louis XIV, the Sun King’s reign. English society shifted it’s paradigm from being used for social to business purposes with a new name for it I.e. “a trade card”

Unlike business card which displays designation and contact ids of a professional these days, trade card was more of a road map to help public reach merchant’s location. A typical business card in those days used to be printed using letterpress methods of printing or woodcut in monotones with a small amount of tint.

With the advent of lithography around 1830s it became important to have a trade card with more printing and color options. It became popular in USA leaving not much distinction between it and a trade card.

It was also no longer considered as a “calling card” to stress it’s etiquette on professional grounds especially when it was considered to reflect a business visit to anyone by a company employee to collect a bill or debt in USA

In the modern era of digital age, the term has gained its monopoly and eradicated calling card, rate card and even visiting card from business dictionary. Whether it’s a small or a medium enterprise, a proprietor or a multi-national company, it has earned its essence and is the most vital tool for anyone to engrave their presence in the public.