Business cards are the symbol of growth, the vessel for branching out your network, the medium of new connections. With every card given, an impression is made, so design and details are pivotal to their success as a tool for marketing. From client meetings to event settings, the ability to hand out your contact details and give an impression of your work is imperative. Design is key to the translation of brand identity and personal flare, a reflection of you as a professional.
Business cards are more than the sum of their parts, they are a vehicle for the sharing of contact details, a sense of connection and shared interaction. Consider the world of international business and the importance of business cards in Japan, business cards are of cultural importance, an essential formality, ritualistic in nature, the formation of a working relationship, and a symbol of trust.
Brands and businesses are constantly evolving, their image regenerating and growing, this calls for greater levels of versatility and flexibility that a physical business card cannot provide, without resulting in staggering environmental impact.
Physical business cards may be perceived as low cost and economically viable, however, in order to remain current, physical cards need constant updating and reprinting; the lasting environmental impact of such a small gesture is harder to justify.
‘2 million trees – 40,000 acres of forest – are lost every year just to make business cards. When they are free to grow, 2 million trees will absorb around 48,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year, many of them for centuries. Forests provide Earth with 28% of its oxygen and support thousands of species of biodiverse flora and fauna.’ Sources: nationalgeographic.org, The Environmental Catastrophe, Dr S. S. Judson, smallbusinessrainmaker.co
A staggering 88% of business cards are discarded within weeks of printing, an amount which is equivalent to a direct loss of £250 million, or if we reframe that, its equivalent to the loss of 1,760,000 trees; trees which have the capacity to absorb C02. With every wasteful card printed and disposed of, the deforestation and monoculture it triggers directly threatens biodiversity and results in the degradation and erosion of soil. Consider this, the production of a single tonne of virgin copy paper results in the emission of 2.6 tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Compounded by the fact that the paper industry uses more water per product-tonne than any other industry, and cumulatively discharges an abundance of pollutants directly into the environment.
‘Over half of all paper will be in landfill or incinerated within a year of production, releasing more greenhouse gases. Recycled paper releases 1.6 tonnes of gases but transportation costs make its environmental impact comparable to virgin paper.’ Source: The Environmental Catastrophe, Dr S. S. Judson
In order to kindle trust and reaffirm legitimacy, business cards are still important in the business world of today. But as times change, technologies adapt, so must business cards.