In the age of smartphones and LinkedIn profiles, the business card might seem obsolete. Who needs a 2-inch-by-3.5-inch piece of card stock to stay in touch?
But on Capitol Hill, the business card still reigns supreme. Rare is the occasion that cards don’t exchange hands after meeting a new acquaintance.
At first glance, Members’ business cards all appear to be the same, but the little differences speak volumes.
White or cream card stock? Black or blue ink? Most stick to traditional choices.
Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) plays off of his name by printing his cards on white card stock with green ink. It’s something he’s done since he was a state Representative and state Senator.
As a former printer himself, he knows the green ink doesn’t cost more than black. His staff has followed the practice en masse, as well.
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) can’t quite get the same effect, but Reps. Al Green (D-Texas) and Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) should take note.
Most Members stick to easy-to-read fonts, whether they use a serif, like Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), or a sans-serif in all caps, like Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.).
On Rep. Robert Aderholt’s card, the Alabama Republican opts for a larger, easier-to-read type for his name and a slimmer font for the rest of the information. Some go for a flourish, such as Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), who prints her name in a script font. Few go all the way, but Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) does — his entire card is printed in a script font.
Here lie the most important details: What do Members choose to include? A few opt for the minimal. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) includes which district he represents, his D.C. office location, a couple of phone numbers and his website.
Most take advantage of the back space of the business card, such as Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), who lists all of the information for his district offices on the back.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) takes that a step further by listing all of the towns and cities in his district on the back of his card. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) goes with a list of his staffers’ House email addresses, both in D.C. and in his district.
Some, such as Reps. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Gary Miller (R-Calif.) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), include maps of their districts on the back. (In Begich’s case, all of Alaska is superimposed on a U.S. map.)
Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) add new media into the mix by including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter links.
Reps. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) include the same information on both sides of their cards. The catch? One side is in English and the other is in Spanish.
Only D.C. shadow Sen. Michael Brown opts for something a little more poetic, quoting the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ...” the back reads.
As the shadow Senator, elected by D.C. voters to lobby for the District’s representation in Congress, Brown said it’s important for his card to stand out from the rest.
“The quote on my card rings especially true if you represent D.C.,” he said.