Designing for Clarity: Contact Details

Designing for Clarity: Contact Details

If you are as old as me, you’ve lived through the tap-i-dy-tap telex machines, the bleep-squeak-squeal facsimile machine, mobile phones, email and now all the social media platforms. It’s the technological progression of human communication. However, when it comes to designing a business card, promotional leaflet, website contact page etc, your contact details are still in the 1980s.

But how so, you ask. It can’t be that complicated . . . can it?

Back in the old days when you had an office telephone number and, if you were lucky or rich, you also had a mobile number. Because the call rates for mobile were far greater than a land-line calls it was important to distinguish between the two. There was also the kudos of showing off that you had one of these amazing mobile telecommunication devices. This era give rise to prefixes of Tel: and Mobile: to give a clear identity to each number. Equally, when email came along we had to tell people what that thing meant by prefixing it with “Email”.

That was then, and this is now. Today it is insulting our intelligence to label up phone numbers with Tel & Mob. Email address formats are universally accepted and so the “email” prefix is now redundant. So why do you still have them printed on your business cards? Tell me you’ve just taken a look at your cards.

It’s time to clean things up.

In a world of shrinking attention spans, clarity of information is key to getting a message across in the shortest time. It’s time to ditch the Tel, Mob, Email labels right now.

If you wish to include at bit of visual interest, which keeps you in line with your brand styling, then you may wish to consider using symbolic icons to distinguish the identity of each contact detail.

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