There are so many different types of business cards available today that it can be difficult deciding which business card is right for you. A lot of circumstances can influence your decision; it can be your personality, industry, company theme or brand, budget, what type of impression it will make, and various other factors. Plastic or paper, thick or thin, silk or linen, slim or oversized, or the standard 2″ by 3.5″ size. There are a lot of choices available today so which option is right for you? In order to make the decision a little bit easier for you we are going to provide some background information on many of the styles available today.
Business Card Size or Thickness
The first option and most common is traditional or standard paper. The most common term describing the card stock or thickness is points (equals .001 inch), although pounds is occasionally used. Typical card stocks range anywhere from 14 point all the way to 32 point, and the higher you go the more thicker and firmer, and harder it is to bend the card.
Another important feature when describing standard paper business cards is the type of coating or finish. Two of the most common finishes are matte or UV gloss. The matte option provides a light gloss or duller appearance for individuals that do not want such a shiny business card. Whereas the UV gloss provides a very glossy surface which makes colors stand out more and the card surface shine. The main difference between the two is simply a matter of preference. Additionally you have the option of no coating on one or both sides, and you might choose this option for a writeable surface for notes or similar content. However, a card stock with no coating will be less durable as there is no coating to protect the paper, and the lack of coating will also take away from the firmness of the card making it easier to bend. A thin uncoated card would be very flimsy, similar to printing one at home with a standard printer.
The 14 & 16 point standard paper business cards are the most popular choice for individuals and companies across the country, and even the world. Individuals that choose one of these options are consumers that simply need a business card for networking, and mainly look at their business card in a practical sense. Although you can have a really creative design that could impact how well the card is received, using the common material and size allows little room for that “wow” factor. With that said, these are to this day still the most common for professionals. You would only opt for the 16 over the 14 point if you wanted a card that was just slightly more firmer and a little less common.
As you step up to the 18, 22, or 32 point ultra thick business card you will recognize a noticeable difference. The thicker your business card when compared to the most common, the easier it is for individuals that receive the card to notice that something extra. Consumers choose a thicker paper business card when they want to stay with a traditional material, but still want to separate their business card from most of the competitors.
Alternatives to Standard Paper Business Cards
Now that the commonality of size/thickness has been explored, the next feature of a business card that can impact your decision is material. Silk business cards are similar to traditional 16 point business cards, but there is a significant difference in how the business card feels. Silk is not glossy, but it has an attractive smooth finish in both look and feel. It is also firmer than regular 16 point paper because of the silk lamination. This type of business card is popular because it is perceived very close to paper, but it has that something extra that makes it stand out.
Another unique material that offers a different feel compared to traditional paper is linen. Available in 100 pound paper which is similar to 14 point as far as thickness, linen business cards have a fabric like textured feel. The different feel is immediately recognizable in your hand, and it creates a business card that offers an elegant touch.
Suede is a brand new material that offers another option to giving a business card a unique feel. Suede business cards are 19 point thick and they have a suede/velvet lamination on both sides that gives your business card a high quality feel to it. The business card design on this type of material looks exactly how it does on paper, the only difference is when held it is a firm card with a soft velvet feel that makes your business card unique and interesting. A cost effective option for an extremely unique card.
Pearl Metallic business cards come in a 14 point card stock that is exactly the thickness of most regular business cards. What makes this type of business card such high quality is small metallic fibers spread across the surface that make the card shimmer in the light. This feature can make even the simplest business card design appear very elegant and a great choice for individuals looking for an elegant touch.
Waterproof business cards come in a 10 point stock which is slightly thinner than most business cards, but the material is close to vinyl making it extremely durable and difficult to tear or damage. The most important feature of this material is that it is 100% waterproof. Although other materials such as plastic can offer some resistance to water, the actual waterproof business card product was created to resist water in all possible circumstances and is very close to a regular business card as far as thickness and how it prints. These business cards are popular for lifeguards, kayaking or canoeing tour owners, jet skiing, flyboarding or boating companies, or for individuals that work in a wet environment.
Plastic business cards are a relatively new business card product and although the white plastic business cards are slightly more expensive than traditional business cards, they are cheaper than other types of plastic and they offer a lot of extra features in comparison to paper. These cards have a soft matte finish or a glossy finish can be requested. The card is made with an opaque white base and can be designed in full color on one or both sides whereas some plastic cards do not offer 2 sided printing. This type of business card is very durable and at 20 point it is thicker than many of the common business cards. The white plastic also holds up over time so after sitting in a wallet or purse for a period of time you do not have to worry about it being bent or folded. Because of the material and thickness of the plastic it is also sure to stand out when compared to most other business cards.
Frosted plastic business cards are in a class of their own, they are very unique in appearance and material, and at 20 point they are considerably thicker than most common business cards. Although only printing on one side is available, the frosted plastic comes in rounded corners and the card is transparent which allows for a very unique design and overall look. The frosted plastic material will not bend or damage easily so they are long lasting and can save money over time without having to replace old and worn paper cards. Frosted plastic business cards are modern and extremely unique and can make a lasting impression.
Clear plastic business cards are some of the highest quality business cards available today. This product is 30 point thick which is very similar to a credit card and comes with standard rounded corners. What makes these cards so exclusive is that you can make them clear as glass in some areas and full color in others. You can design one or both sides and have elements appear in reverse on the other side as well as many other cool design techniques. These cards are extremely unique, sophisticated, and a crowd pleaser. This is the type of business card that people talk about and share with their friends and associates long after you are gone. The material also makes these cards very durable so they will look as good over time as the first day they are printed.
Four dimension business cards or 4D are another type of unique and modern business card that is just starting to become popular as more people learn about them. These business cards are 21 point thick and have a smooth finish on one side and a vinyl hologram screen on the other that allows for multiple images to be seen as the card is tilted. You can add 2 or 3 designs on the screen side of the card, and print a regular full color standard design on the other. This is another high quality and unique business card that can get people talking about your business card.
Sometimes you may want to create a business card that is strictly for marketing purposes and not for the common business card exchange. Two excellent options are business cards as stickers or magnets. Business card stickers are available in a 70lb glossy stock and standard size with square corners. The glossy paper gives your business card sticker a shiny look that is common with most stickers. This product comes with a covered adhesive back so that you can peel and stick your business card almost anywhere at any time. The best feature of this product is that it can be placed in high traffic areas and remain there until manually removed.
Business card magnets are also a great way to market or promote your business card. They come in 17 point which is thicker than most traditional business cards, and they come with square or rounded corners and the surface has a glossy finish. This type of product can be included in a promotional packet or placed in high traffic areas on any metal surface. Both magnets and stickers are an excellent way to advertise your business card.
Additional Business Card Features
Many of the business cards discussed offer additional features to enhance the look of your business card. For instance, foil stamping can make traditional or plastic business cards much more beautiful and unique. A foil is applied to some elements of the card making those elements stand out more and ultimately making your business card higher quality and more exclusive. Another application for highlighting individual elements is spot UV. This process is where you apply a shiny gloss to specific elements to make them stand out in your design. You might also change the size, shape, or corners of your business card in custom ways to make your card more interesting.
Although there are a wide variety of business card types and styles, choosing your business cards should be a lot easier with the above information.