Old Friends and LIA seek old print business cards
“Here, let me give you my business card”. People exchange business cards every day. It’s the essential ritual of commercial greeting, of sharing contact details, establishing titular levels of hierarchy and reminding others of email addresses for further contact.
Whether it’s the formal Japanese ritual of presenting the little piece of cardboard with two hands and bowing, or the more casual Western exchange when the card is almost flipped to the other with a two-fingered motion, the business card is a traditional part of doing business. It has survived the arrival of the digital era, of emails and iPhones when personal details can be shared easily via wireless communication.
Of course, we expect others to treat our business cards with respect, to read them carefully before filing them away for future reference, even as we shove the other’s into a back pocket and never look at it again. If we’re of an anal bent, we store them in plastic folders in alphabetical order, and never look at them again. Mostly we add them to the pile at the back of the desk drawer, secured by a rubber band (remember them?) and… never look at them again.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from cheap and cheerful with appalling typography and design on unimpressive paper, to the gold standard, which has to be trade printer CMYKhub’s new velvet.
Either way, business cards are one of printing’s most ubiquitous artefacts, a rite of passage for young sales people when they get their first, and an archive of a career for seniors to look back on.
Now James Cryer, industry sage, wants your old business cards. As part of an initiative from the Old Friends Society in conjunction with the LIA, he’s collecting business cards to create a record of the ‘who’s who’ in the printing industry, past and present. On his LinkedIn page he makes a plea for the preservation of ‘the humble business card’.
"They form a record – not just of the great and the good, but also the scallywags, the ne'er-do-wells, the achievers and wanna-bes, the successes and failures.
"In fact, a collection like life itself: a rich and varied tapestry," he said.
Everyone has a dubious stash of cards in the recesses of their desk. Now’s your chance to give them a second shot at being read, which is more than you ever did the first time around.
Contact James if you’d like to contribute, at email@example.com.