Business cards are central to professional networking in virtually every industry. If you are trying to grow a business, make sales, or want anyone to remember who you are and contact you later, you’ll benefit from having a business card. The fact that we’re in a digital age of websites and social media doesn’t really change anything, except for what you might want to include on the card itself.
So with everyone handing out business cards, how do you make sure that someone remembers yours? One way is with an eye-catching custom design from your friendly neighborhood graphic designer, of course. But most printing companies can also easily add several different finishes to your cards to give them an extra boost.
Depending on how many cards you are having printed, and the finish you select, these can be a fairly trivial add-on. There is often a one-time fee for creating the accessories needed to apply these effects, but many printers also have a library of pre-made features that you can choose from at a fraction of the cost.
1. Coats And Varnishes
The most common and easiest finish is a coating of transparent liquid that can protect the finished card, and add a subtle tactile or visual element.
- Gloss – Adds noticeable shine, as well as improving the depth and vividness of colours
- Matte – Softens the feeling of the card, and improves readability under intense lights.
- Satin – Literally a mix of gloss and matte that adds a little bit of shine while also feeling smooth to the touch
Some printers even offer specialty coatings that will protect the card while allowing pencil marks, act as a mini whiteboard, or feel bumpy like an orange peel. Ask your printer what they’ve got available.
This effect can be applied either to the entire card, or only in a specified area. Generally, a specific area coating (aka, a spot finish) is going to cost more than an overall coating, but it’s also going to add much more impact to the final product.
2. Die Cutting
Why use the same boring rectangle that everyone uses for their business card? Die cutting is the technique of cutting shapes out of the paper to make a new shape. Round the corners or change the whole shape of the card. Create some clever white space to support your message. There are literally hundreds of different ways to die cut a business card.
Embossing is the process of raising a section, shape, or text on paper. Debossing, or letter pressing, pushes the shape into the card to create an indentation of the design. On lighter cardstocks, embossing one side means debossing the other, so plan accordingly if you aren’t getting a very sturdy card. Traditionally, these techniques were used on text only, but with modern advances, it’s also become commonplace to imprint a logo or even a texture pattern.
4. Foil Stamping
Often used in conjunction with embossing or debossing, foil stamping presses black or metallic foil (think tin foil, but way nicer) onto the cardstock. The end result is a shock of reflective colour that draws the eye and adds a touch of luxury to the presentation.
A standard business card can only fit a certain amount of content, which greatly limits what can go on it. Why not make it bigger, and then fold it into a standard size? Put a sample of your services inside, or an elevator pitch. Folding is often paired with die cuts to create interesting layer effects.