Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Calling" upon a more genteel time

One of my (many) favorite things is a well-done business or calling card - the tiny size, the endless layout possibilities, and the simplicity of condensed information.  I do love looking at well-executed business cards, but I really love the individuality that only a social calling card can express.  Why hand out your business card when you're out at parties with friends?  Let your hair down and get some personalized calling cards.  I decided that I should do some research on the validity of the calling card today, and whether it still has relevance and practical use.  I found some fun information on the history of the calling card, interestingly enough, on a site called "The Art of Manliness".  According to The Art of Manliness...
In the 19th and early 20th century, social interaction was a richly cultivated, well-mannered affair. The tool that facilitated these interactions was the calling card...The calling card...served as a way to brand your social identity. The way your card looked and felt or the way you handed it to someone communicated your standing and relationship with the receiver. While the calling card had gone the way of top hats and knickers, they’re starting to make a comeback...men today can resurrect this tradition to create some stylish panache in their social interactions.

Read more: http://artofmanliness.com/2008/09/07/the-gentlemans-guide-to-the-calling-card/#ixzz14nP0vGg0
To paraphrase the history of the calling card, there were all sorts of distinct social nuances involved with the art of "calling" upon a family or person.  How and when the card was presented, with what information on the card, the size of the card and whether the card was engraved, beautifully hand-written or simply printed all gave off information about the purpose of a gentleman's visit and his social stature.  Using a business card for a social call was considered impolite, so there was a necessity for the social calling card if you were to be considered a gentleman.  It is actually really interesting to read about if you want to go to the link above to read more.

Moving forward to the present, wouldn't it be so much more personal and civil if people still used social graces like the calling card, rather than some guy "poking" or "friending" a girl on Facebook to make his interest known?  Well, that's probably not going to change, but here are some traditional and some more fun options for the calling card that can be used in today's world - for men and women:

This is a fun contemporary take on the traditional calling card, while still maintaining the overall simplicity.  If you want to correspond with someone socially, why hand them a business card with only your business contact info?  This is the perfect alternative to awkwardly entering your cell information into someone's phone, or trying to remember someone's email address or blog from a conversation.

This is very much how the traditional calling cards are laid out, and I love this.  I am all for keeping the tradition.  The only modern nuance here is actual email addresses and phone numbers, rather than just a name and address.

I love this for a lady.  It has a vintage feel, and is more of a correspondence card than a calling card.  Correspondence cards are still widely used today with gifts, so are probably more useful than an actual calling card if you have to choose between one or the other.  If you could do the lace detailing and name in letterpress, it would really stand out.

Here is another example of what we now refer to more as a correspondence card, made for a couple.  This is a very standard traditional style, with dark grey or black ink engraved on an ecru card.

This is a fun example of a two-sided card for a woman to use as a personal calling card, or for use while in between jobs.

Here's another fun take on the calling card.  This is one way to make the calling card personal.  I think this card would be fun if you were a writer, school teacher or student and wanted to have a calling card that reflected that.  My personal recommendation is to try not to get too cooky with your calling cards, but definitely express yourself.  These are for sale on Etsy.
This is an example of a family calling card.  This can be useful to hand out at school, among parents, etc.

And last, but certainly not least, is the funny calling card.  I witnessed this card being handed to a lovely but chatty girl by my hilarious Uncle Joe, and it was truly amazing!  There is a time and place for this, but when the time is right, it is quite a card to play.

Let me know if I've convinced you that you must now create your own calling card.  I'd love to help you establish yourself as the true gentleman or woman that you are on a tiny little card.  Or alternatively, I'd be more than happy to help you come up with something funny and creative, like the STOP TALKING card.  Correspondence cards are always good to keep in stock with just your name (or you and your spouses name).  And the calling card might just make a comeback, so get ready!

Image Credits: Image 1 - The Art of Manliness, Image 2 - The Stationery Studio, Image 3 - The Mandate Press, Image 4 - The Art of Manliness, Image 5 - Dempsey & Carroll, Image 6 - Red Stamp, Image 7 - Crane, Image 8 - Etsy, Image 9 - Set Editions (Stop Talking)

No comments:

Post a Comment