Business Card Design


Business Card Design Should Be Neat


If youre looking for a new business card design, whether youre using ready-made business card templates or your own design, consider this. Many business professionals who collect a lot of business cards have turned to using business card scanners to capture information from the business cards they receive. A business card scanner scans business cards and converts the information to an electronic format, using optical character recognition (OCR).

Design For The Scanner

Business card scanners arent perfect. The OCR technology can leave something to be desired, and worse, information can be skipped, misread or omitted from the final electronic format. How can you ensure that your business card gets scanned properly and your information gets saved? A few design hints can help make your business cards trip through someone elses scanner a breeze.


First, business card scanners dont do very well with business cards that are too thick. That doesnt mean its ok to go cheap on your business card printing , but it does mean that youll get a different result from standard 90- or 100-lb business card stock than you will with super-heavy business cards.

Business card scanners are meant to handle standard business cards, so cards with an odd shape, plastic business cards or metal business cards may not do well in a scanner. Graphic design elements may confuse the business card scanner. Just be sure that any graphic elements wont be mistaken for an alphabetic character. If you have an alphanumeric character on your business card, set it well apart from your contact information.


Size does matter. OCR readers can decipher larger characters better than they can manage smaller ones. You need to pay attention to the size of the type on your business card to ensure that your information is interpreted correctly by the scanner. Also, try to use standard non-serif fonts (like Helvetica or Arial) to ensure that your information is highly machine readable. Avoid cursive and highly unusual fonts. Heres a good measure: if the font is hard for you to read, its going to be hard for a scanner to read.

In the real world, a mixture of upper and lower case letters is easiest for humans to read. Machines … eh… not so much. Theres much more visual differentiation between uppercase letters than their lowercase counterparts. For really important information – like your name and title – consider using all upper-case letters.

Make sure your phone number is 100% readable. Dont use any fancy fonts on numbers because its nothing for an OCR reader to confuse numbers like 6 and 8, 8 and 9, 1 and 4, 1 and 7, or 2 and 5. Make your phone number very readable, and consider gently upping the font size.

Make sure your email address is very readable, too. Little characters like . or _ that you find in email addresses can often get missed althogether by OCR readers. If possible, talk to your email administrator about getting an email address or alias that doesnt include these characters, and use that on your business cards.