Business Card Scanner and Your Business Card

Guest blog by Michael King, Designer/Owner, Black Swan Image Works, Graphic Design

Business card scanners have made it easier to control our lists of contacts. So far, so good. But not all cards scan equally well. Some don’t scan at all.  What about your card?

I find that cards I have collected that don’t scan well end up in a second, “enter by hand” pile. Often that pile lies unattended for weeks or months. Certainly long enough for me to forget where I met the person or why I wanted their card. This is not ideal for either side in the transaction. How does your card measured up?

  1. Light text on a black background. This is absolutely the worst combination for most scanners. If your business card must have a black background, some problems can be minimized by using a standard sans-serif font, preferably bolded, and set at a minimum of twelve points.
  2. Closely related to number one is a darker colored font on a black background. Think about it. This card may be difficult to read in anything but a very bright light. I recently encountered a card with a black background and deep purple text. Pretty, but not a good communicator.
  3. Small, light type on a color background. The scanner doesn’t get enough information to “read” the card. A rule of thumb: try not to use type sizes smaller than 10 points. Nine-point type may pass muster, but why take a chance?
  4. Script fonts or eccentric fonts. Fonts that deviate from the accepted letter forms are hard to “read.”

Most of the four traits are fairly easy for your graphic designer to rectify. But if you have a predominantly black and white or light color palette, you may end up having to recycle your current inventory of cards and go for a new design.

If you have any questions about any of the issues I have raised, please feel free to contact me at 303-477-4662 or