Recently at Jackson Wynne we redesigned our business cards. After several iterations we came to a final product we could stand behind, with one thing most may consider "missing". What could be considered controversial, we left out our designated titles altogether. Other than purposeful design direction, we left it out for other reasons. Often times you see a handful of words below a name, but what does that really mean, and how important is it?
Benefits of a Title
A title can help contacts understand your role & responsibility within a company. Quickly determine how important you fall in the hierarchy. It has it's uses and can be extremely helpful.
If you're a doctor or designated professional, it might even be a requirement.
Before you disagree, understand that I see the value in a title.
Potential Title Barriers
At Jackson Wynne, we're fortunate to have a bit more flexibility and can be a bit more playful.
We didn't want titles to distract from the focus of a first impression. In a company culture where we can find ourselves wearing different hats, putting down a title just didn't seem to do it for us.
Part of the problem of a title is that it can be misleading. Take for example the CEO title. At first it might sound impressive, but it can be CEO of a two person company, so it's all relative.
A title could also pigeon hole you into one perception that at times can be tricky to explain. Or when you change titles, time to print up some new cards.
What's wrong with titles?
I have nothing against titles. In fact I can see the value of them. On our team we have roles & responsibilities that are clearly defined. We're not totally against it.
It's all about context. On LinkedIn it might help to have a refined title for making connections and titling your work history. On a business card? It might not be as important. It depends on your company culture, size, industry and so on.
In this case, our business card is a touch point. You can only fit on so much, and sometimes, only so much information is necessary. Ultimately we left titles off altogether. We're running with it.
We'll see how it goes as we hand more of them out and let you know how it's received. You might see our next round of cards to have titles on them for organization sake.
Sometimes, it's OK to leave titles out. Whatever you do, be careful of doing the exact opposite where your business card becomes extreme overload. And ask yourself, what information is essential for this touchpoint?
I'll leave you with this gem video of my favourite business card fanatic: