Let's Keep In Touch
Ray Tomlinson is often credited as sending the first e-mail, at least the earliest sent using the ‘@‘ symbol to separate the name of the user and the machine.
Taking place in 1971, that event is now quickly approaching its half century anniversary. Widespread access to e-mail, whether you wanted it or not, didn’t occur until the mid 1990s, accelerated by the launch of AOL in 1995, and Hotmail the following year.
When we started the practice, we spent a lot of time ensuring that our e-mail signatures contained not only relevant contact details, but also stamped our presence on the range of social media channels that we felt it was important to establish. We had no immediate plans to bolster the electronic information with a physical version, but we’ve been reminded quite regularly that in industry, people still like to exchange business cards.
We designed our stationery, including business cards, as one of our first activities in setting up DesignXY, but we held off printing hard copies of anything to see whether we were pandering to our own pre-conceptions of value, or perhaps seeking to ignore some kind of superstition that without business cards, we weren’t really committing to the long term… you know… it’s better to see how things go at first.
Extending the DesignXY Brand
We’ve had a number of meetings recently where despite our resolve and commitment to digital / sustainable methods of practice, we’ve found ourselves apologising for not being able to reciprocate in the exchange of business cards. Even to the point of placing the order for our first batches of cards, I was still thinking that this was a concession to an external pressure, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t really that bothered either way.
And then they arrived. I remembered the sense of holding this physical thing in my hand, and the excitement that comes with it - just the same as when I’d belonged to other organisations. As a designer though, it’s about more than just a name on a card. Is it too heavy and ostentatious, or too flimsy and cheap? The logo, the colours, the layout, even the blank space between the elements on the card, all serving to paint a picture of our values, our approach… of us.
The business card is a little piece of what we believe in; we leave it with the people with whom we want to connect, as a token ambassador of our brand. We hope it serves as a bridge between where we are now and where we hope to be in the future - a doorway to a new connection. It’s no surprise then that even after the advent of all of the technology that crowds in to our working lives, we still place value on the tactile elements of business; the face to face meetings that we organise, or the perchance liaison as we dash out for lunch. The little piece of cardboard says ‘I want to talk to you again.’
‘Let’s keep in touch’.
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