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  1. Tips to Remember When Designing & Printing Your Business Cards

  2. Facts, Etiquette & Customs Around The World

  3. The History of the Business Card

  4. Links for More Information


Tips to Remember When Designing & Printing Your Business Cards


  • If you're serious about your business be serious about your business cards. Don't focus on the money, focus on the quality. Business cards not only provide contact details, they represent you and your organization. People you give your card to will form a first impression within seconds of receiving your business card (oftentimes before even reading it), and you want that impression to be a good one. Make it appeal to the senses.

    • Have someone in house create a catchy logo and/or design and layout for your card. If you don't have anyone to do that, hire someone.
    • Get high-quality, thick card stock that feels nice to the touch.
    • Apply foil or glossy finishes it applicable to catch their eye.

Make your card stand out. If you spend enough time and quality on your card people will believe you put that same amount of effort into your business. Note that this doesn't just apply to business cards, but is generally a good rule of thumb for all of your printed products!

  • Make the most out of your cards. Don't be afraid to use them as a marketing tool. Give them to everyone you meet. In fact, give everyone you meet two or three, so that they can give them out if the opportunity arises.
  • Give your business card additional value. If you wish, you can usually create a useable backing for your business card—a calendar, appointment card, coupon, referral discount —give it value and decrease the chance that it will disappear into the trash bin.
  • Make sure to order enough, but not too many. Order enough so that you won't be afraid to hand them out in mass quantities whenever the opportunity presents itself. But don't order so many that you're stuck with them for years to come. There are often changes of address, phone numbers, and position, and once that happens your old cards are pretty much useless, unless you want to spend the time to go through all of the cards and correct them by hand.

  • Be creative...but not too creative. It is important to design a visually-pleasing layout for your business card. But there are times when you can take creativity too far. Nobody likes to receive business cards of odd shapes and sizes that wont fit into their Rolodex or other business card holder. Make the text big and dark/light enough to read. Don't use 'wacky' colors or fonts.




Business Card Facts, Etiquette & Customs Throughout The World



    • Always make sure you have enough business cards on you for the occasion. It's always embarrassing to be caught without any.

    • Try to learn the basics of foreign customs regarding presenting yourself and the exchange of business cards before traveling abroad. It's very easy to make a bad first impression if you're not prepared. It only takes a few minutes, so read up!

    • If possible, try to have one side of your business card printed in the language of the country you are visiting. This shows that you are serious about doing business there, and makes a good impression on you and your company.

    • Along with the above tip, make sure when presenting your business card that the native language of the country you are visiting is face up.
    • Keep your cards up-to-date. The cost of making business cards is so inexpensive these days that it is inexcusable to have to write corrections on the card, or verbally tell everyone you give the card to that the phone number or address has changed.



    • Business cards in Japan (called meishi [may - shi]) are an important part of not just business interactions but personal encounters as well. Just about everyone has their own meishi, whether personal or business, from the time they are a student onwards.

    • Make sure that your business and title are prominently printed on the card. The Japanese place great important on rank and title.

    • Hold out your business card with both hands, and accept other's cards with both hands. Accept another's card by grabbing the bottom corners (the side facing you).

    • After handing over your card, bow and present your self by saying your name, company, and title (note: bowing is fading out in favor of the handshake when dealing with foreigners).

    • Present your business card to the highest ranked individual in the vicinity first.

    • When receiving business cards, take a moment to look over them. Then put the card away in a card case (preferable) or your wallet carefully. Don't just crumple it up into your pant pocket.

    • Never leave another person's business card out and start playing around with it in front of them.

    • Do not write on another's business card. Don't fold another's business card.

    • Although primarily practiced in Japanese companies between Japanese, subordinates present their business cards by holding them out at a lower level than their superiors'.



    • Present and receive business cards with both hands outstretched. When presenting the card, hold it out with both hands, then drop your left hand while the right presents the card. After the card is taken, take your left hand and grab your right arm above the wrist.

    • Upon receipt of the business card from a Korean person, nod your head to show respect and express thanks. This is especially important if you are meeting with people of higher rank than yourself.

    • It is appropriate to put the card away soon after receiving it, and is considered rude to study it for too long. It is okay to study it for a few seconds before putting it away though.

    • You should always present your own business card before asking someone else for theirs (assuming of course that they haven't already given you one).



    • It is preferable to present your own card before asking for another's business card.

    • Hold out your card with both hands with the text facing the other party.

    • Study the card for a moment before putting it away. It is then polite to greet the other party.

    • When seated, place previously received business cards upon the table, in front of you.

    • Never write on someone's business card.

    • Gold is a lucky color in China, and gold print or embossing on your card is never a bad idea (when used in moderation).

    • When translating your card into Chinese, make sure the script for the characters is Simplified Chinese, as that is the most commonly used script today in most parts of China (the traditional script is used in Hong Kong and Taiwan). Also, be sure that the right dialect is used in translating the words (e.g. Cantonese vs. Mandarin), and that it corresponds to the region of China that you will be doing business in.

    • Highlight or somehow impress upon any important pertinent facts about your company (e.g. it's the largest or oldest in your country). Your title should also be listed somewhat prominently on the card.



    • Put any university degrees or honors information on your business card.

    • Use your right hand to present and accept business cards.

    • English is widely spoken so there's not as much of a need to translate your card into Hindi or the local dialect.



    • The exchange of business cards is quite informal and does not require a lot of ceremony.

    • Business cards may be placed directly in your pocket if necessary.

    • Cards should be kept neat and presentable.

    • It is only necessary to hand out business cards to business contacts or those who present their card to you first. Business cards are not usually used in personal situations.



    • Never pass out your business cards like dealing a deck of cards.

    • Never put your cards in a stack on the table at a reception.



    • Present your business card by holding it at one corner with your thumb and index finger. Make sure not to cover up any of the important information on the card when handing it over.


    • Always present and accept business cards with your right hand.



Sources:, Wikipedia


The History of the Business Card


Visiting cards, also known as calling cards, first appeared around the 15th century in China. These cards were used as a means for aristocrats to announce their arrival to whomever they were visiting. This tradition spread to the courts of France and England around the 17th century and soon became a proper form of visiting etiquette among the nobles of the time. The rest of Europe as well as America adopted the same practices soon after, based on the French and English systems. Although most of the visiting cards were mass produced with printing presses much as they still are today, each card had to be created by hand before being sent to the printing shop. Coats of arms and intricately engraved decorations were the logos and typesets of the day, and each item was a custom made piece of art.

It was not long after the courts and nobility had adopted the practice of handing out visiting cards that it started to spread to the masses. Upper class families would place a card holder in their front hallway where the cards of visiting friends and acquaintances were placed as a means of letting them know who had visited and who should be reciprocated upon. In the 19th century visiting cards become an essential accessory, and no self respecting lady or gentleman would be without them.

Somewhat parallel to visiting cards were trade cards. Trade Cards first became popular at the beginning of the 17th century in London. They served as means to advertise specific businesses and usually included a map directing potential customers to the store, as there was no formal street addressing system in place at the time. As printing techniques became increasingly advanced, Trade Cards became more elaborate, with pictures and full color designs. Since color images were not widely available, these cards become a collector’s item of sorts. As the collection of these cards was elevated to a hobby, many tobacco companies began to put baseball players on one side and photos and text about their products on the reverse. This was the start of modern day trading cards.

While visiting cards remained the domain of the upper classes and trade cards were made specifically to advertise and promote particular firms, there was still a niche in the market that needed to be filled. Salesmen that called upon prospective clients or met at a trade show or social event needed a means to exchange information in a simple, concise manner. The first business card filled this void and was often pragmatic in its design, favoring simple text and address or telephone contact information, over fancy printing and graphics. As business cards continued to grow in popularity over the 19th and 20th centuries, their designs have become increasingly more intricate in step with advancements in printing processes. Business cards now take on many forms, including custom die cut shapes and sizes, with glossy coatings and fancy, photo quality graphics.


Sources:, Wikipedia


Links for More Information

Wikipedia Article on the Business Card
Wikipedia article on the Japanese Business Card (meishi) Business Card History

The Infamous American Psycho Business Card Scene [YouTube Clip]



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