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UX, Usability and Design

Business Card Usability

Usability of a Business Card

As an entrepreneur, how many business cards do you collect every event you attend? Let’s say about 50. Suppose that all the 50 cards/contacts in the immediate context were “dormant” just-in-case business connect for you. Now, few months later, you re-visit your card collection, trying to visualize impressionable people using the in-hand prop (the business card). How do you connect a face to a card? Even for a non-entrepreneur collecting fewer cards, this holds as an issue – recollection.

business card

What are some of the elements in a business card that can immediately find a mental re-connect with the exact person whose card you’re holding? Attractive design? Good structure? Clear text? Crazy size or shape?

Let’s explore and point out few ideas by which a business card can be made more usable (and memorable) for the recipient.

#1 Picture or Graphic

A photo of the person would be an interesting experiment to try out. There’s a certainty of an immediate reconnect, when there’s a face to the name. People forget names (which face it belongs to) easily, but they remember faces. Another similar idea would be to have a profession or offering specific graphic or a background that would easily jog the memory and stand out.


#2 Space for Additional Notes

How about a provision for jotting down some notes on the card? This has two-fold purpose. One, for the recipient, if he wants to use the space to mention specific points related to the person. Second, for the card-owner – as in, he can write notes for the recipient or more commonly put “updated” information that changed since the time the card was printed. Like new phone number, new address, etc. Moreover the very thought applied in this design might be enough to impress the recipient, if done properly.


#3 Witty Lines or Value Slogans

You may also want to try out some witty lines/words for your title or slogan or have a personal quote that helps the recipient’s memory. If while handing out the card, you recite the line, it will definitely “replay” with your voice in the recipient’s mind when he reads the line on your card again after few months. Nothing cheesy, but a high-level humor or pun will do the job. Or you can introduce your values/beliefs using a quote with credit to the origin.

#4 Shape

A slight experiment with shape might be good to position your brand/persona as someone unique. With the constraints of standard sizes, you can still expend a bit more and have a different “die” cut the card into having rounded corners. I had once tried a punch-through hole for my card within the portion of my logo that forms a light-bulb, which I think helped in many people recollecting the context of “ideas are transparent” that I would say when handing out the card.

vikipedia#5 Profession Context

How about if your card design has an intelligent connect – about your profession, such that without even reading your title, the recipient possibly gets around knowing what you do? For instance, what if the Optometrist (eye-doctor) has a card that has his information as his reading chart? Or a Chartered Accountant displaying his information on a calculator interface?



Whichever technique you use, the important thing is to spend some time thinking on the design of your business card, or appoint a professional to do so. It is very difficult to stand out in the noisy world, before people engage you; before you can give them a chance to relate you by your work. Business card may be one of the first interfaces with your target audience, even before they visit your website or look at your work. So, let’s not underestimate the design-thinking that should go in your business card – to match and augment your professional persona.

Make it usable; make it memorable.

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a UX professional, hands-on designer and coder. He is a consultant to product companies in San Francisco Bay Area. He loves to play chess and design solutions in spare time. He ran a UX company, IDYeah Creations for six years in India. His expressions can be found on popular platforms like UX Booth, Technorati and SAP Community Network.

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  1. Thank you for sharing some of the key elements to consider for a business card. I like the photo recommendation, I had not thought of that before. To the second point, I’d like to add “make sure the card stock allows note-taking.” Many business cards use a glossy finish or card stock which prohibits note-taking.

  2. Thanks Deborah for your comments. I agree on your observation – I should have added about the “selection of material” that allows notes easily, if it doesn’t compromise on the look, that is.

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