View Full Version : Designing for Business Card Scanners

Dec 14, 2005, 10:29 AM
Got a new request the other day.

It seems I need to redesign a company's 2-sided business cards. Currently, the logo is vertically oriented and knocked out of a dark PMS green. Their main complaint is that business card scanners are not reading the logo. I believe the scanners are interpreting it as artwork.

This is a new one on me. I'm ashamed to say I have not kept up with technology. I have never used a business card scanner, and never really considered what parameters it uses to import relevant business card information. So I need help. Does anyone have a set of guidelines to designing business cards that work smoothly with scanners?

Blue Velvet
Dec 15, 2005, 06:43 AM
Having done a little reading, I would imagine that a business card scanner has some kind of built-in OCR processing capability that captures the contact details etc.

However, if type is set to run vertically or as you say, knocked out then OCR software would have problems with this which is a shame because if all design work had to conform to OCR-readable parameters then it would be a dull world to live in.

Is it possible to post a sample of the business card in question so that we can see the logo in question? You could delete or mask the important personal contact information for privacy purposes.

Dec 15, 2005, 08:27 AM
Here is a sample of the cards in question. There's an awful lot of information stuffed into a small space, but overall I thought they worked nicely. I've already told my client that we will need to edit the copy, but I'm not sure how much I can get them to eliminate.

I hope this jpg comes through okay.

Blue Velvet
Dec 15, 2005, 08:41 AM
There's an awful lot of information stuffed into a small space...

It's one of my constant struggles. Dealing with people who feel they need to fill every available square inch with information...

Anyway, you just may to run the logo horizontally or alternatively, repeat the same info within the logo as a line of text at the top of the card or elsewhere.

If it's a major concern and an important aspect of the brief to have a scannable OCR-able business card, then I can see no other way around it.

Which is a shame.

Dec 15, 2005, 10:29 AM
I think you're on the right track....as I posted the image, I thought about listing the company name in print above the address line. It's not an elegant solution, but at least it will allow me to maximize the logo size vertically. Because the logo uses an "Ultra-Condensed Light" font, I think the vertical orientation is best.

I'll have to present some other options, of course. But it looks like I will need to test the cards with some readers. That will be fun, I'm sure.