Feel Good (Braille) Business Cards on a Budget


I recently ordered a new set of business cards to match my new prefix (Dr) and new email address. Previously I’ve relied on institutional business cards – however, as I’m now freelance, significant decisions have had to be made regarding content, design, usability and accessibility. Cost and convenience have also been important. As with all such things, time was short as I noticed several impending events careering towards me; (see my Twitter account @slewth for forthcoming tweets from the a11yLDN unConference on Weds 21st Sept 2011).

The need for speed led me to moo.com. Moo supply a huge range of designed templates, with options for those wanting to make their own. They print to both Premium and high quality Green standards.  They can rush a print job and supply a sprint delivery also.

I chose the Less is More design by Jonathan Howells on several grounds: it uses a large, legible font, the contrast is reasonable and, importantly, there’s plenty of analogue hack space on the reverse.  The cards arrived today – so I’m halfway there.

Less Is More business card
The front of my new business card using large black and white text on a mid tone grey background.
Less is More business card: reverse view
Less is More business card reverse view: the words 'My Card' and a large blank space that I intend to hack.

As committed readers will know, I also want braille for my business cards.  My previous investigations in this area have led me to Azzabat, who have supplied me with transparent braille stickers that can be applied over a standard business card (or anything else). Azzabat frankly rock the opposition.

University business card with braille sticker
My previous university business card with transparent braille sticker overlaid. Braille on this side represents my name, phd status and the LSRI over four lines.
University business card with braille: reverse view.
My university business card with braille label: reverse view. Four lines of embossed braille give my phone number (top line) and email address (over next three lines).

There are no set up fees, customer service is excellent and I recommend them highly, especially for institutions and other organisations. Importantly, as their labels are clear, they can be stuck to both sides of a business card (as pictured) – this is vital given the large (36 size) font necessary for braille  – as it allows more space for contact information to be represented.  Azzabat have a minimum order of 100 units with labels retailing at £0.85 ($1.33) per unit. This is well below other equivalent brailling services for business cards, but on this occassion I needed a cheaper option.

As a result, I’m taking a D.I.Y. approach. With a view to creating my own (opaque) labels  for the reverse of my new cards. I’ve just ordered the RNIB‘s Braille King Pocket Frame.  This is a small device that allows the user to create braille. The demonstration video below shows how it is used.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gOr2GsI5C4

The Braille King Pocket Frame retails at £14.39 ($22.5). I’m really looking forward to trying this out. I’ll post the results back to this blog when the device arrives. Comments, as always, are welcome.

3 comments

  1. Andy Coverdale

    Nice post Sarah. I like the look of the ‘Less is More’ cards, but white and black on grey? Is there any current thinking on best practices with regards to designing texts for the visually-impaired? Not an area I’m familiar with. The braille labels are great by the way.

    • slewth

      Fair point. White and black on grey isn’t great in terms of contrast (tho. obviously it is safe in terms of colour blindness). To my knowledge, Less is More has not been designed with accessibility or VI in mind. However, compared to the tiny fonts of many business cards, I chose it as a middle way. The reverse side also offers flexibility. If I’d had time to design my own, I’d have gone for black on white (off white or pale grey). Although I did toy with the idea of a super inaccessible card! A colleague of mine has black text on a black card – I think he’s making a point about disability as a socio-structural barrier.

      Yes, there’s a lot of research on font legibility, serifs vs. san-serifs and so forth that can be attended to – but I’m satisfied with what I’ve got from this perspective. I should state that I have put in a request for an accessible design to moo.com who encourage feedback. Hopefully something will come of it that will please aesthete allies, and not before time!

  2. Pingback: Cheap Braille for Business Cards « 32 Days Remaining

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