|The earliest known form of business card was the tradecard, used widely in the 17th century as a combination of advertising and also as maps, directing the public to merchants’ stores in the absence of a proper address numbering system.
A business card typically includes the giver's name, company name and logo, and contact information such as street addresses, telephone number(s), fax number, e-mail addresses and website.
The card should be within the standard size so that it will fit into the standard business card holder, although this does not preclude being innovative with the design.
There are many increasingly arresting designs for business cards in the UK, ranging from printing in foil and using spot UV to highlight parts of the design in a gloss finish against a matt background. Other techniques include metallic finish lettering and customising the shape with die cutting.
No business can manage without the business card but the etiquette surrounding them can vary widely around the world, from the casual UK exchange of cards that are then put in the pocket to the much more formal behaviour expected in Japan and China.
In China and Japan, the card’s quality and storage are as important as the formality with it is presented and perused.
In Japan the best quality card should be used and the card should be immaculate, kept in a case to protect it from any form of damage. Business cards are exchanged with great ceremony. The person’s title should always be included on the card.
Business cards should be given with one hand, but always received with two hands and a few minutes spent looking at them carefully. If presented during a meeting the cards that have been gathered should be placed on the table in front of you in the order people are seated. At the end of the meeting, the business cards should be respectfully placed in a card case or portfolio.
In China, one side of the card should be printed in Chinese and if possible this side should be printed in gold ink, which is considered auspicious. Again the card holder’s title should be included and in China the card should be presented with both hands. Never write on a card unless invited to do so.
In India, great value is attributed to qualifications, which should be included on the card and they should always be offered with the right hand only.
While these may seem like small details in a country which does not place much emphasis on formality they are important to pay attention to when doing business in other countries.
Leadprint offers Spot UV business cards and gold or silver foiled business cards that are custom die-cut into any shape.