Everything You Need to Know About Business Card Printing

July 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Marketing 

There are literally hundreds of choices when it comes to designing and printing business cards. Many print shops have in-house typesetters. However, many people prefer to have the assistance of an experienced graphic designer when developing what is essentially a business person’s most useful tool. However, there are still many options left even once the design is complete. The type of printing can be a combination of options such as raised or flat inks. Other options include foil stamping, embossing, engraving, or ‘normal’ flat printing.

There are numerous types of impressions to choose from. These choices include the type of ink to use (process or spot color), types of paper stock available to print on, and even several finishing options. Some of the more common elements of a business card may include some of the following items.

In printing, the term coating refers to treatments made to the surface of the business card. A UV Coating, for instance, gives a glossy appearance and is applied by an offset press and cured (dried) by exposure to ultraviolet rays. Most any paper stock can be coated. Uncoated products are inked, finished, and delivered without any additional treatment to the paper stock. A Matte coating, for instance, is not glossy and some find it easier to write on. Recently, aqueous coatings have become more and more popular to add a glossy finish using a water-based varnish. Other coatings are also available, such as a silk coating, which leaves a matte type coating that is very soft to the touch. In most cases, these types of finishes are available with any type of full color printing or spot color printing.

There are a great deal of options when it comes to choosing what type of stock to use. Some of the more common stocks for offset printing and digital printing includes linens, laids, columns, felts, and white or frosted plastic. Linen is a fairly rough surface which emulates the look of a linen cloth and gives a textured feel. Laids are most often used by artists for charcoal-type drawings. These types of papers have a ribbed appearance that happens during the papers manufacturing process. Laids are also common in the printing industry and are generally made by drying the paper on a wire mesh; which incidentally gives laids their respective patterns.

Columns are another paper stock style with columnar patterns running parallel to the grain of the stock. A felt stock is created during the manufacturing process by a rubber or felt roller pressing the paper into the felt pattern. White or frosted plastic are generally a bit thicker than paper and card stocks and can be used for gift cards, business cards, etc. Parchment stock gives the antiquated appearance and is achieved by washing sulfuric acid over the surface and then hastily neutralizing the acid wash.

Many people tend to think of printing as a paper and ink marriage. However, there are as many ways to impress upon the paper as there are papers to print on. One such method is called foil stamping. With foil printing, a metallic element (usually but not always gold or silver) is hot pressed against the foil forcing it to adhere to the paper surface. In many applications, these applications are elegant and shiny.

Embossing is another common method for impressing information. A blind emboss covers the surface of the project while a registered emboss is in a specific location and is often combined with other impressed methods such as ink or foil. Spot ink, coating, or other treatment refers to applying a finish in one particular area on the business card without flooding the entire card. Examples would include spot uv coating or spot glitters.

The options for printing are almost never ending. The size of the card can be variable, with many people choosing a fold-over card with 4 times the amount of surface area. Trimming can be done with normal corners or specialty dies can be made with just about any design one can imagine. Finding a reliable printer to perform these services is tantamount to the success of ones most critical marketing piece.

Kevin S. Taylor, MBA is the Marketing Manager for Rapid Color Printing in Las Vegas, Nevada ( http://www.rapidcolor.com ). Rapid Color has been setting standards in the printing industry for over two decades now. Specializing in color printing, convention printing, corporate printing and web-to-print online corporate ordering, Rapid Color printing can provide all of the above services and more!

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