designFive Minute Marketing

Why Your Business Card May Be Hurting You

If you’ve done your job right at trade shows and networking events then you walked away with a stack of business cards. Manually entering all this data into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is time consuming and holding on to the cards themselves just creates clutter plus the risk of losing it altogether.

Smart phones offer a few solutions through cleverly designed apps. However, even the best app is no match for poorly designed business cards. Some apps have trouble with the creative design aspects of certain cards. Highly stylized font and big arcs wreak havoc with these smart phone apps. Metallic finishes and raised fonts are also something to think twice about. If you must use these design elements, have a backup in mind like a QRC code printed in matte on the back of the card.

Thou Shalt Not:

  • Use a metallic sheen
  • Use highly stylized topography without plain font on one side
  • Use raised font without plan font on one side
  • Omit a QRC code if you ignore the other rules

This makes sense when you consider the folks creating these smart phone apps think in linear function-based design terms and not for visual ascetics. For our graphic designer friends, this means your design must play nicely with these apps or you risk creating visually pleasing cards that just collects dust until they are lost forever. That is a design fail for your client.

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To illustrate the point, we recently took on the challenge of finding an app that worked well with our CRM tools. Tech Republic (@TechRepublic) has a rundown of their top 5 free apps we used as a reference point. Of their suggestions, we chose two CamCard Reader and ScanBizCards Lite, as both apps included an export option for our own CRM application, OnePage CRM.

We tried the CamCard Read app first with no success on several attempts and moved on to the next suggested app, ScanBizCards Lite. This app worked on the first attempt, but all the cards had to be in a landscape format and propped up at a 45 degree angle. That meant that several of our portrait layout cards could not be scanned with any reliability.

This one and several other apps had trouble recognizing cursive and stylized fonts. Shiny metallic finishes on the background and/or font also posed a problem for the reader as it uses the flash on your phone when scanning the card. Raised font also caused some minor issues for this reader also due to the reflection. All of these are critical points to consider in the overall design process. If you have cards like this representing you, this may be one reason you aren’t getting that call back.

Business cards are still very popular, but are no longer just about visual appeal when modern technology plays such a big part of our lives. If we design with that in mind, then we arrive happily where form meets function.


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