I’ve used a few different business cards for my blog and consulting work, and often receive questions about designing business cards for low vision and how I chose to design my own cards. It’s always exciting to get compliments on my personal branding and hear people talk about how they want to follow along with my work, and having accessible business cards has helped a lot with this. Here are my tips for designing business cards for low vision, and examples of how I have designed my own cards.
What I include on my website’s business card
I have two different designs for my business cards that I carry, and each one contains the same information. Examples of information I put on the business card for my blog and consulting include:
- First and last name
- Website URL
- Email address
- Social media profiles/usernames- my current design features these in bold font so they are easier to locate
One of my card designs includes a line about how I am a writer, speaker, and consultant for low vision, assistive technology, and accessibility, but I didn’t include this information on the other design as I wanted to prioritize a large font size.
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How to design business cards with low vision
My first large print business cards were designed with the free Canva graphic design application, which has several templates for business cards, and the cards were printed at a local store- I uploaded the finished business card graphic to one of their custom templates. I like using Canva because it has multiple keyboard shortcuts, which makes it easier to enlarge text or arrange images or shapes. With the exception of my blog logo, all of the graphics on my website have been created in Canva.
I also have a set of business cards that are a smaller font size, which were designed with a template from Staples. I created the design on my iPad because it is easier to zoom in on sections of the page with a pinch-to-zoom gesture, and I can position the screen closer to my face than a traditional computer.
Business card templates for low vision
My large print business card is single-sided and contains four lines of text, including my name, email, website, and my Twitter username. I intentionally went with a single sided design because I wanted to be able to write additional information on the back as needed. For example, I might write my phone number on the back of a card if someone requests it, though I don’t like to have my number listed on all cards.
For my other card template, I chose a double-sided design that features my logo on one side and my contact information on the other. I wanted a colorful design that was easy to locate in my purse, and that incorporated my blog colors while balancing readability/high contrast text, so I used a template that had a white background with a colored border/background.
Choosing an easy-to-read font
As part of my website’s branding, I use the fonts Bebas Neue, Oswald, and Arial/Arimo for my blog headings, graphics, and body text. I use the same fonts on my business cards as I prefer sans serif fonts that are easy to read and can easily be identified with OCR applications like Seeing AI, Google Lens, and other programs that read text out loud.
When designing business cards for low vision, I recommend avoiding decorative and cursive fonts, as these are more difficult for people with vision loss and assistive technology programs to read. My favorite fonts for visually impaired readers include:
- Bebas Neue
- Comic Sans
- Lavenderia (for cursive)
Background colors and low vision
Brightly colored business cards with colored text often have poor contrast for people with low vision, so my business cards all have white backgrounds with black text, along with colored accents. I use the same purple color that is associated with my blog’s branding, and one of the designs also has additional green and yellow accent colors in the background- which are my college colors!
Textured business cards for low vision
Some business cards feature embossed text, unique paper textures, and other tactile elements, which can be helpful for users with vision loss to identify different cards. On a previous design, I had my logo embossed/raised, but the cards often got squished when I was carrying them in my backpack or purse.
Large print business cards
While both of my business cards have larger than average font, one of my card designs that I created in 2018 prioritizes large print. Standard business cards measure 3.5″ x 2″ inches, and on my large print business cards, my name is printed in size 40 pt font, while other information is printed in size 24 pt font.
I’m not sure why the screenshot of my large print business card makes the text not look solid black, but the card in real life has saturated black text.
Braille business cards
I do not read braille due to limited tactile sensitivity in my hands, but one of my professors ordered braille business cards with university branding for an event on my behalf- unfortunately, I have no idea what supplier they used since I wasn’t the one to order/design them. The braille business cards featured my name written in braille, and a shortened version of my website URL that could fit on one line- I purchased the domain v4ica.com for this purpose. I chose not to add any additional information in braille since all of the contact info can be found at the top of my website.
Unlike font sizes, braille’s size cannot be adjusted and is roughly equivalent to 29-pt Arial font on a business card. Each line can fit 13 characters including spaces, symbols to indicate capital letters and numbers, and punctuation, and braille business cards can hold a total of four lines. On the braille cards, my name is split across two lines and my website is on one line.
Office supply stores like Staples do not sell options for braille business cards as of 2023, though a few of my colleagues have mentioned Braille Works and National Braille Press as being great resources for braille business cards. Interested customers will need to contact these services directly for information on pricing.
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Reading business cards with assistive technology
When I receive a business card from someone, there are a few different ways I go about reading business cards with assistive technology, including:
- Scanning a card with Microsoft Office Lens, which has a business card option
- Reading text with an automated application like Google Lens, Google Lookout, or Seeing AI
- Asking for a human interpreter, such as through Be My Eyes or Aira
- Reading text with a magnifier, either a magnifying glass, a video magnifier, or my phone
- Take a photo of the card and zoom in
Sometimes I will do this while standing at a conference or event, though I usually prefer to scan/read everything when I get back to my home or hotel, since the lighting is often more consistent there.
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Other tips for designing business cards for low vision
- QR codes are another option for displaying links and contact information, and can be scanned by a user’s phone for easy reference
- Braille business cards often feature dual media designs, meaning that there is both text and braille included in the design.
- Students may be able to get free or discounted business cards through their university, though may be required to use university branding (fonts, colors, etc)
- Assistive technology tools that recognize text may not recognize social media logos- for example, I tested a design with the Twitter logo and it read it out as “bird Veron4ica” or skipped the symbol entirely
- I prefer single column designs as they have more options for large print, though double columned text can still be recognized by screen readers and text-to-speech tools