Though it might be hard to notice sometimes, there are many different components that make up business cards. The importance of each of these components is debatable when assessing a great business card design. Think of American Psycho, where Patrick Bateman and his colleagues pull out their business cards and compare them to one another. One thinks it’s the raised ink used on their card, another thinks it’s the letterpress on their card, and last person thinks it’s the actual paper that makes their card the best. Which of these elements really matters the most.
One of the first things you’ll notice about a business card when you hold it, is the thickness of the stock. The thickness – or “weight” as commonly referred to in the print industry – of the material can vary quite widely. As a matter of fact, our cards range between #130lb to #260lb, which is quite an insane range by most printers standards. The thickness of the card stock can make or literally break a card, pun intended. A thick card stock will obviously be more durable than when someone prints cards onto printer type paper. A sturdy card also gives the impression that the individual invested time and money in their business cards, which is never a bad thing. As a supplier of business cards in NYC, I am frequently asked about what makes a business card look good.
The material can also have a few different finishes as well. Some cards have a coarse texture, while some will be very smooth to the touch. The finish is very important, as covered in the previous blog post. In fact, the finish can be very industry specific. There are many instances where its rare to see a certain kind of finish when you work in a specific trade. The finish is something that the recipient can feel when they hold your card. For example, a silk laminated finish feels very silky, as its name would imply. Silk laminated business cards are very popular amongst tech professionals due to its unconventional feel. So, the finish is definitely a very important and overlooked factor.
Another critical component for any great business card would be the caliber of the design. Great business cards come as a result of great design. I would even go as far as saying that design is probably the most important feature in my experience. You could employ an effects and finishes that you can imagine on a crappy business card. The result will be the same for all, it will look crappy. However, if you have an insanely great business card design, it can probably pull of any finish and still look good. The moral here is that design is so incredibly important. If you need to hire a professional to help with your design, so be it. Its worth it.
Finally, you have a number of effects that you can apply on your business cards. You can use rounded corners to give your cards a more modern look and feel. You can add raised ink if you want a tactile and 3 dimensional look. You can use letterpress, embossing, foil stamping, and many other effects to contribute to your business cards. The main drawback with these effects all have dependencies and limitations, meaning that they wont work on all papers and finishes. I will probably write a detailed blog post about this in the future. In the meantime, be sure to ask a professional about the available finishes and what circumstances they are best for.