We need for people to know that we are aging in place professionals, and we have many ways that we can do that. We have websites, social media profiles, and possibly direct mail or other forms of advertising that we do. Most of us probably have a business card also – but it should be just any business card.
Let’s remember the type of business that we are in and the potential audience that we have. Some of us are designers, and we can have a card that reflects our design instincts. Some of us are contractors. Some of us are occupational therapists, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals. Some work for governmental agencies, and some represent nonprofit organizations. Some are trade contractors, some sell real estate, some represent consumer or adaptive products, and the list goes on of the many varied occupations, professions, products, and services we represent. There is no single type of background for an aging in place professional.
Depending on what we do, our business cards can represent our basic business by having a graphic that easily identifies the business (a hand tool like a hammer or saw for a contractor, for instance). It can have our company logo. It can have the CAPS logo. It can have logos of other professional associations of which we are a member or have a certification.
The important thing to remember about a business card is that it is small. Unless it is larger than normal, square, or smaller than typical, a business card is 3.5” x 2” – horizontal or vertical. This is sufficient to print the basic contact information about our business but not large enough for a long marketing message. Let’s remember, too, that many of the people receiving and using our cards are going to have older eyes with weaker vision.
There are a few style pointers about business cards for our type of business – whatever our profession might be in addition to being a Certified Aging In Place Specialist. We should feel free to be somewhat expressive but remember our target audience. Unless we are going to be working with non-seniors exclusively, our cards need to be readable by an older population.
There are three major things to keep in mind when designing a business card to increase the legibility and use of it by the people receiving it from us – whether it is vertical or horizontal and regardless of the type of business we have.
First, stay with a simple typestyle. As much as we might like them (for those who do), an ornate or fancy typeface (font) may be quite difficult to decipher or distinguish letters or numbers. It can look like some of the captchas on online forms where we can’t easily tell whether a number or letter is. Depending on the type style used, some numbers and letters resemble each other too closely.
Second, contrast is important. However, it can be overdone. If there is low contrast on the card with a dark background (black, navy, burgundy, hunter green, red, or some other dark color) and a yellow, gold, copper, white or other low contrast colors on top of it, it’s going to be hard to read. As attractive as some people find the “reverse” printing with white letters on a dark card, the writing does not “pop” and can blend into the background. This is not what we want our clients to be experiencing.
Third, watch the point size. To fit everything on the card that we want to say, the point size can be too small. Anything smaller than 6 point is extremely hard to read. Our phone number, email address, and website need to large enough and clear enough for people to see, read, and use them easily.
Business cards do advertise our businesses, but not in the way the used to do so when that was a way of reaching people who had never heard of us as well as putting in the hands of people who knew us. Today, the most common use of a business card is to give it someone after they have met us to give them our contact information. This is why the card does not need to contain so much copy – we already have spoken with them. It gives them a brief reminder of who and what we are and the ability to contact us again.
Let’s make sure that the people seeing our cards (often it is going to seniors) can read and use the information there.