I get questions all the time about the things to look for when shopping for custom business cards. Those not familiar with the printing industry are usually “shooting blind” and are often destined to make either poor or uninformed decisions.
Luckily, like most things in life, this decision-making process can be filtered down to just a few key decision points. Actually, 5 key decision points to be exact, 3 dealing with the cards themselves and 2 dealing with the printers. So without further ado, here we go!
Card Factor #1: Type of Card Stock
Custom business cards can be printed on paper or card stock. If you are looking to impress, the choice is obvious. Real card stock is better. Card stock thickness is typically measured by a point system that corresponds to thickness in inches. For example, 15pt cardstock is 0.015 inches thick, 10pt cardstock is 0.010 inches thick, and so on. Usually, the thicker the card, the higher the perceived quality.
Card Factor #2: Type of Coating
The 2 most common types of custom business card coatings are glossy UV (ultra-violet) and silk lamination. A coated business card is relatively unique because most folks still carry around those dull 1-sided paper cards. Plus, coated cards add a flare of elegance and durability. All else being equal, coated cards are usually perceived to be of higher quality than non-coated cards and hence are preferred.
Card Factor #3: Optional Features
If you are reading this, chances are you want your business card to make an amazing first impression. So adding “bells and whistles” like spot UV, rounded corners, perforation, irregular cuts, or embossing can really make your card uniquely stand out in a sea of monotony. Spot UV is my favorite and always looks fantastic on your own card design.
Printer Factor #1: Type of Printing Process
In other words, does the printer specialize in black and white or full color printing? What type of color? Single-sided cards or dual-sided cards? And…well, you get the point.
The thing to remember here is to narrow your search down to full color, CMYK printers only. You don’t want black and white, and printers that do not specialize in the industry-standard CMYK 4-color printing process tend to produce unpredictable results.
Printer Factor #2: Turnaround Time
The standard timeframe is 4-5 business days, although this could fluctuate slightly depending on the specific product and customization features. A stated turnaround of substantially more or less than 4-5 days should be a red flag for you.
Deciding on your custom business card specs and printing company is easy if you focus on the key variables: card stock / material, coating, optional enhancements, and the printer’s process and turnaround time. Good luck!
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