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How to Choose The Right Finish

August 5, 2014 / Inspiration
clear plastic business cards nyc

People often forget that business cards can be quite diverse in their effects and finishes. Some obvious characteristics would be raised or flat ink, and maybe the thickness of the paper. However, the actual finish of the card is something that is often ignored. A good way to describe a business cards finish would be the way it feels when you touch it. Although this may not be the textbook definition, I’ve found that this is a very effective way to convey the idea of finish. For example, a gloss finish feels smooth and almost aqueous. A textured finish means that you can feel texture on the surface of the paper. There are more finishes such as matte and linen among others.

Now that we know what a finish is, the question becomes which of them is the right one for you? This is a tough question to answer. The reason I say that is because its not as simple as picking the one that you like the best. Your personal preference may not be appropriate for the industry that you are in. For example, let imagine you’re a law professional. Lets say that you really love gloss coated business cards, and you decide to order them for your law practice. You may eventually realize that gloss coated business cards look a little out of place for your profession, especially when most of your colleagues use more traditional uncoated papers with raised ink. Therefore, it is important to consider more than just your personal preference. You really should consider your clientele and industry when making this decision. Even your location can make a difference. In NYC, you may want a more traditional finish on your business cards if you are based in the Wall St. area, just because the financial sector is very dominant there.


Another example of a finish that is particularly popular in a specific industry would be a smooth matte or silk finish in the tech industry. We see a lot of tech professionals that use business cards that have a smoother softer look. These finishes are non-traditional, which makes sense given the tech industry and its history of invention and innovation. Also the nature of their logos and colorful designs make them a bad fit for raised ink and other traditional looks. Thus, the smooth matte and silk laminated finishes tend to be the best fit for the requirements.

In conclusion, there are definitely finishes that fit particular industries very well. These associations should definitely be considered when picking a finish for your business cards. However, there are always exceptions and your own opinion also counts. In fact, if a particular finish makes you feel more confident when passing out your business card, then there is no problem using it, even if it isn’t the norm for your industry. Your business cards should inspire confidence in you and your clientele, therefore you should consider both sides when making your decision.