The first postcards were not designed to be postcards at all. The main idea originated from envelopes with significant pictures printed on it. The first card to be sent using the United States Postal System was in 1861; privately printed and copyrighted. The first considered postcard was first patented by John P. Carlton, a Philadelphia native. He sold the rights to the owner of the postal card, H.L. Lipman in 1861, however it did not have any significance with postcard marketing. Many postcards were derived from greeting cards. In 1870, the first predecessor of the modern post card was printed and it covered historical issues with the Franco-German War.
Modern postcard marketing officially started on Europe in 1872. In Great Britain, the first postcard advertisement appeared, however it was only in black and white. The first multi-colored postcard was printed in 1889. However, at that time multi-colored technology has not yet fully developed, as a result multi-colored printing was expensive. Hence, multi-colored postcards were expensive and was not popular.