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Paper info: Let me give you my card: a study of evolving business protocols in the information age


Let me give you my card: a study of evolving business protocols in the information age


Peter Wise, Robin Croft and
Ross Brennan
Middlesex University
United Kingdom
Ross Brennan

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 28th IMP-conference in Rome, Italy in 2012.


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Business cards have been in continual use in Europe since the seventeenth century. The footmen of aristocrats would deliver visiting cards to the servants of their prospective hosts solemnly introducing their arrival. There has been a great deal written about their symbolic, practical and cultural role in the establishment and development of business-to-business relationships (Usunier, 2009). The use of business cards has evolved and much dialogue has taken place with dissonance evident regarding the future prospects for business cards. Developments in technology and software continue to herald the extinction of the business card: but the business card survives and would appear to thrive.Despite forecasts of a move to the paperless society, paper remains in offices. Legislation requires that records must be kept (and though digital storage methods are possible) and often these records are in physical form: invoices, statements, quotations, receipts can be received in paper format, direct mail pieces are sent by surface mail and courier, physical books and magazines continue to exist and so too the humble business card.A business card is emotive, it conveys a desired image, and message the provider envisages. In Japan the business card is critical to your identification, but perhaps more importantly, your credibility.The design of a business card can be rational (e.g. name, title, contact details, website, quick response code) and emotional (material, texture, font, ink, toner, thermography, card shape, size, embossing, foil blocking, recycled, logo/s, images, etc.). The formula is subject to other variables and infinite debate.We decided to complete an interpretive netnographic analysis on business cards via a large business forum to investigate current themes for business cards and perhaps identify future trends.