Business Card Printing - A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome back for another Lightning Prints blog post! Today, we’re talking business cards. It is a necessity for every business/ brand to have a business card. Even in today’s digital age, you still find business cards being frequently used. 

You see a wider variety of business cards today than you did 10 years ago. Some companies are even customising employees’ business cards with their own quotes or photos. But today, we’re going to talk about the basics of designing and printing a business card. Ironically, let’s begin with the different types of finishes you can opt for. 

Finishing

There are a couple of different finishings you can choose from for your business cards. We’ll be covering the 4 most common finishes.

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Firstly, Varnish. This is one of the most common finishes for business cards. A varnish finish is a coating of either matte, silk or gloss that’s applied to the card. This layer also protects the paper and allows for the cards to last longer. A business card with a varnish finish looks shiny and will have a plastic feel to it. 

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Next up, Die Cut. If rectangular business cards are too mainstream for you, die cut’s the finish you’re looking for! Choose another shape or shapes of objects that best represent your company. Say you’re running a cafe, you can opt for a coffee mug-shaped business card. Your business card will surely stand out from a bunch of rectangular ones!

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Folded business cards. You need not limit your business cards to only 2 surfaces. Consider getting a folded or semi-folded business card. This will automatically give you more surface area that you can use to include more information about your brand/ business.

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Embossed and debossed finish. Embossing is created by pressing on the card using heat. What this process does is it creates a raised pattern resulting in a strong texture. Depending on the design embossed, it can create a 3D effect on your business card.

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Debossing on the other hand results in the opposite effect. Instead of creating a raised pattern, the pattern is sunk into the card. Just be mindful of your design before embossing or debossing.

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Sizes

If you’re wondering how big your business card should be, use the standard size as a guideline. Standard business cards measure 3.5 x 2 inches. If you’re thinking of getting a bigger card or a die cut business card, try not to go for a size that’s too big. We wouldn’t recommend anything that’s wider than 4 inches. 

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For folded business cards, the 4 inches should be the dimensions when the card is folded, not opened. The reason for this size is, people tend to keep business cards in their wallets or a card slot. Too big of a business card, who knows where yours will end up.

Grammage

Paper grammage refers to its thickness. It is measured in GSM (grams per square metre). The type of paper that’s commonly used for business cards is art paper and they come in varying thickness. The paper you use for your business card should not be flimsy or easily torn. We’d recommend upwards of 300 GSM. 

If you’re printing folded business cards, it would differ slightly. For these, you should go for papers that are between 170 - 300 GSM. A thinner choice of paper helps to ensure that when folded, your business card wouldn’t be too thick. 

Design

For design, we’re going to focus on 3 elements; fonts, colours & graphic images. Let’s begin with fonts. 

You should stick with fonts that are easy to read. Serif and sans serif fonts are perfect. Usually, sans serif fonts are used for the person’s or the company’s name whereas serif fonts are used for contact information. Feel free to switch it up depending on what works best for your brand. Just try to stay away from cursive fonts as it’s harder to read the words. 

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Now in terms of font size. Using the standard size (3.5 x 2 inches), the size of your font should not be larger than 11pt and no smaller than 7pt. Usually the name on the card would be the largest text followed by the designation/ title and even smaller would be the address/ contact information.

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Moving on to colours & contrast. To maintain a consistent brand identity, you should stick to your brand colours. However, should you need a secondary colour for your business card, you can opt for black or blue as they’re one of the more versatile colours. You should use a mix of light and dark colours to achieve the desired contrast. This will ensure maximum legibility of the copy on your business card.

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Lastly, graphic images. The most common use of graphics on a business card would be the company’s logo. You should ensure that the logo is clearly visible but do not make it too big. You can also choose to incorporate the use of patterns in your business cards as you see fit. As a rough guide, you should not use more than 2 graphics images on each side of your business card.

And that is all we have for you today folks. We hope that you’ve learnt a thing or 2 from our comprehensive guide. We’ll be back for more soon.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please feel free to email us at prints.lightningprints@gmail.com

Till the next time, cheers!