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Business cards

Topics/tags: Rants, marketing, short

As part of the new marketing campaign, our friends at Ologie [1] designed business cards that, well, don’t achieve the primary goals of business cards. What’s wrong? Let’s see.

An image of a business card.  See the following text for more information.

The typeface was too small [2,3]. The most important information, the name, is not the most obvious information on the page. The College name and department name are much bigger [4]. There are three different typefaces in use. The primary typeface, Futura, is intended as a display face and should probably not be used for running text. There’s not enough separation between the email address and the Web site. I also think that the address information should all be together [5]. And there’s way too much red.

There are also a few issues specific to my situation. We call ourselves the Department of Computer Science, not the Computer Science Department. And my home page is on not on

But I tried to be cooperative. So I asked the following basic questions.

  1. We’ve always been The Department of Computer Science. Can that be switched?

  2. My home page is on, not And the CS Web server is older. Can I use that?

  3. My professional identity includes a GitHub user id and a Twitter handle. Where do those go?

You can probably predict the answers, at least the answers to the first two questions. We’ve decided to switch to a uniform naming scheme for departments. You must use I hate the thing, particularly since we’ve failed to meet our own stated expectations for Web sites. But I’d accept that. But why X Department? It makes sense for one-word departments. Biology Department. English Department. It flows much less well for multi-word departments. Chinese and Japanese Department or Department of Chinese and Japanese? Computer Science Department or Department of Computer Science? Theatre and Dance Department or Department of Theatre and Dance? Putting Department of makes it clearer. But we have a standard that no one discussed with the faculty and I have to accept it.

The response to the third question was more interesting. You could replace one of your phone numbers with your GitHub id or Twitter handle. But, well, I want all five pieces of contact info on my card. There’s certainly room for it. So I asked. The answer, You may not have more than three pieces of contact information.

Bad formatting? That I can deal with. If the College wants to present itself as design challenged, let it do so. The Web site that was imposed on us? I’ll live with that, too. Renaming my department without consulting us? ’Eh, I’ve dealt with worse. But We won’t let you include appropriate contact information? That’s absurd.

Communications should be willing to acknowledge the reasonable needs of faculty and staff. They aren’t. I’ve reached my limit. Screw it. I guess I don’t need business cards.

[1] Or perhaps someone equally lacking in design sense.

[2] They figured that out eventually and are reprinting many sets of business cards.

[3] The image uses the large font.

[4] It looks like they are closer in size in the current version.

[5] Something like the following.

Department of Computer Science
Grinnell College
1116 8th Avenue
Grinnell, IA 50112 USA

Version 1.0 released 2018-08-15.

Version 1.0.1 of 2018-08-18.