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Classic Business Card Designs: A Look Through the Time Machine

Over the past few months, a lot of attention has been given to business card design. We’ve seen beautiful full color/full bleed designs that are eye-catching and vibrant. We’ve been inspired by out of the box thinking that turns a two dimensional object into a 3-D display that allows interaction between the card and a human being.

We’ve admired the creative use of die-cutting to help communicate the identity of the business to which the card belongs. In short, we’ve seen how the technology of today has allowed the designer to flex his or her muscles to a great extent.

In this posting, we turn back the clock to simpler times. Back to an era when the limitation of technology reigned-in a designer’s range. When lead type and letterpress were the standard. When a single color (black) was very much the expected and to use another color was generally ruled out due to cost considerations.

You’ll notice the importance of typography and the use of the negative space. Interestingly, a few businesses utilize the back side of the card to provide useful information to the customer – a marketing tactic that many would do well to consider in these highly competitive times. (Especially when taking into account the minimal cost for printing the back side.)

Let these examples gleaned from recent eBay listings influence your thinking. In an era when the average consumer is bombarded by many thousands of images and messages each day, the idea of offering a simple, uncluttered design may be exactly what is needed to stand apart from the crowd and gain an advantage that can lead to greater awareness.

From the estate of Mel Blanc, 1908—1989
(Widely known as the voice of Bugs Bunny.)
1920s
19th century (1800s)
Mid century (1950s)
1896 (back side)
1920s -1930s (back side)
1895
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2 thoughts on “Classic Business Card Designs: A Look Through the Time Machine

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