How to choose business card printing material? Here you can find out more about paper, its advantages, optimal thickness, different finishes and printing.
Is there more to business card materials than paper or plastic
You bet there is much more as the quality of the material itself can greatly vary, or even the type of paper. But I think you know this that's why you came here so lets get into it!
When it comes to printing business cards, there are a lot of materials and techniques. First you have to decide if you want to make it from paper or plastic. these are the most common materials. More fancy materials will be mentioned in a future blog post, along with plastic, for now lets focus on paper.
Choosing the printing material is an important step as it can tell many things about you, and also you can really mess up and you don't want to end up spending money on 500 poor quality, flimsy business cards that you end up throwing away as you don't want to have a bad impression (unless that is your goal).
Paper Business cards
In this category there are many contenders. If you are looking for something rough, that doesn't just look and feel cheap, but it is cheap the material you want is pulp board. This material is used when printing as cost efficiently as possible, the end results quality may be considered poor, but hey, its cheap and it may have the rough texture that you are looking for.
Calendered paper on the other hand is smooth, because it has been compacted by pressure rollers. This gives the fabric more structure and durability as well.
If you want to give a number to the quality of the paper used, a good indicator is its GSM. GSM is how much a piece measuring a square meter would weight in grams. The higher this number is, the more compressed, solid the card will be. The common calendered paper is around 200 GSM. 400 GSM is considered to be really solid. Based on this when printing on paper, the papers thickness affects its quality and cost. The thicker the better. Thin cards may be cheap and you could say the do the job, but they are flimsy and feel cheap. I'd say above 250 GSM should be good enough, but if you can afford go higher.
Finishes for paper
The paper can be coated, making it glossy and shiny. partial coating is pretty cheap, this method is chosen by people who need a metric ton of business cards. The cards are just partially coated leaving one side "naked" and unrefined. As you could guess quality is not a prominent feature of this particular method, but when done right, full coating can work for you, as high gloss finish excels at giving back vivid colors, and sharp, thin details.
A matte finish is the opposite, but it has its own charm, and benefits like readability in poor lighting conditions. Satin is between the two finish I just mentioned.
When choosing paper you can have many different textures. These used to be really popular in the past, and some forms of this still are. For example conqueror laid is still considered to be fancy. As a result of texturing paper the thickness increases. Also note that texturing slightly reduces the sharpness of the elements. For a minimalist, design a textured paper is an excellent choice. It gives some nice detail to the huge area left empty.
What are the advantages of paper
They offer more variety in size. they inherently look more classic thanks to the fabric. They can be silk laminated to resemble silk, and they can be made waterproof as well. Spot UV finishing can make spots shiny and stand out more. The sides can be painted as well. making the side a part of the design as well not just the front and back of the card.
When printing cards most companies offer full color printing as a standard feature, but the quality of the ink and the equipment greatly varies, and so does the end result. As a general rule of thumb don't go with the cheapest when it comes to business cards, unless that is the style you are going for.
If you bought the paper and you want to print it home, consider the type of printer you want to use. If you use and inkjet printer then you are all set, but be aware, laser printers don't like glossy paper.
Before you commit to a batch of 1000 business cards, make sure to print out a few in advance so you can see the result for yourself. Trial and error, find out what works the best for you.
If you want to know more about printing business cards click here