The Evolution of Business Card Design- From Traditional to Modern

Thanks to modern technology, you can easily design custom business cards online using digital platforms. Some platforms let you upload and edit templates or add unique features like scannable QR codes. Modern card design has come a long way from the traditional forms seen in past centuries. Here’s an overview of the evolution of business card design:

Brief History of Business Cards

The first forms of what would later become business cards can be traced to 15th-century China. Visiting members of the aristocracy sent special name cards known as “Meishi” to the host in advance. The host would then determine the visiting dates and details to prepare for the visitors. In 1436, German inventor Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press, which made printing name cards, books, newspapers, magazines, and flyers easier. 

Visiting cards, or “Visite Biletes,” became popular throughout France during the 17th century. People would have trays to collect and show off visiting cards they received from guests. Calling cards later became a popular social accessory in Europe. They featured one printed side with the holder’s name and a unique design. The other side of the card was a blank space left for a guest to write a message intended for the cardholder.

Trade cards emerged soon after, serving as mini advertisements for people, products, and businesses. They were commonly used by businessmen. Early trade cards included the name of the business and a slogan or image of the product. Some people would print a map leading to their storefronts or describe the place with text. The concepts of the modern business card came from early name, visiting, calling, and trade cards.

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Traditional Business Card Design

The modern business card design originated from early calling and trade cards. Calling cards had a classic rectangular design and were used to leave special notes to friends and family. Trade cards retained the rectangular shape and featured more business details on both the front and back. Here are three features of traditional calling and trade cards:

  • Simple design with printed calligraphy
  • Printed on different types of colored paper
  • Include maps, logos, slogans, business information, and textual descriptions

Modern Business Card Design

Today’s business cards have modern features but retain many design elements from traditional designs. Modern cards still have textual descriptions like business names, logos, slogans, and other information. 21st-century business cards have evolved from traditional paper materials to sleek plastic, metal, and paper cards you can carry in your wallet. Because card materials and printing technologies have changed, scannable QR codes and 3D embossing details are seen on many modern business cards. 

You can design, edit, and order custom business cards online and get them shipped to your address. Leading card design platforms offer sophisticated tools and dashboards you can use to create and manage your cards. The options for materials, colors, patterns, and decorative elements are endless. Here are three characteristics of modern cards:

  • Bold designs with sleek finishes
  • Printed on various materials with superior durability
  • Include optimized business information and links to digital spaces

The Future of Business Cards

Business cards continue to play a role in modern marketing, and with evolving technology, future cards will likely have advanced features. Currently, QR codes and contactless business cards are the most advanced technologies.

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QR codes allow business owners to include a unique code on the card that people scan with their mobile devices. The scanned code opens a link to a digital website for more information. QR code links extend the card’s functionality to beyond what’s printed on its surface.

Contactless cards are novel and involve a tiny NFC (near-field communication) chip embedded in the card. Users can tap the card on a smartphone and transmit contact information, directions, links, social media pages, and videos. The future of business cards is limitless, and the cards are here to stay in one form or another.

Design Your Business Cards Online

Online platforms offer the most convenient solutions if you’re looking to design, edit or upgrade your business card. You can use simple drag-and-drop tools, extract templates from old business cards, and order cards in bulk. Leading platforms let you order business cards online, so you can design and order your cards in one sitting. Find a reputable online design platform with superior design tools and start creating your business cards today.

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