There are many finishes that you can opt for on your business cards and I’ve covered some of the possible options in an earlier blog post. This topic is actually brought up quite often when people are shopping for business cards in NYC, and I presume its probably the case for most parts of the country. Though this may surprise some people, it doesn’t surprise me at all. The texture of a business card is an excellent way to differentiate your card from many others, not to mention the appeal that some textured stocks offer.
When people approach us about printing textured business cards, its usually over the phone. This presents a very fundamental problem in that a texture needs to be seen and felt in person in order to be fully aware of its characteristics. We are a small print shop in NYC specializing in business cards, and we don’t have other locations outside of New York City. We do however receive regular inquiries from outside of NYC. So we are tasked with the challenge of trying to educate our potential customers about the subtle characteristics of the numerous textures that we can print on. Needless to say, its really tough. So I figured I’d blog about it. Maybe this writing can help answer a few questions that people might have.
When discussing textures on business cards, I think the best place to start is isolate the most popular textured finishes. We receive requests for 3 types of textured stocks typically. These 3 textures account for around 90% of what our customers tend to ask for. The 3 types of textures are Wove, Linen, and Laid finishes. I will detail the basic characteristics of each of them, and also review their strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully this gives our readers some idea of what these business cards are like, even without seeing or feeling them in person.
We will start with linen. Linen looks and feels somewhat like its name would suggest. If you were to handle a real linen material – which is a type of cloth – you would notice that there is a stitch pattern. This stitch pattern consists of alternating vertical and horizontal strands of thread. Paper that has a linen finish is designed to mimic the look and feel of a real linen. The biggest differentiating factor would be the stiffness. Linen paper is much more stiff and sturdy than linen cloth. But aside from that, they are actually very similar. The pros of using linen are that the texture is very easy to notice, yet its not too difficult to print on. The biggest drawback is that linen can sometimes distort the text and imagery that you are trying to print. This isn’t always the case, but it can happen under certain circumstances. Another drawback is that it is difficult to print thicker linen stocks on most printing equipment. FYI, we can do it though. Just so you know.
The next finish we will discuss is laid. The laid finish is very textured in comparison to the other two. I would describe laid as a very old fashioned finish that has a strong box pattern. The laid finish is composed of a series of vertical and horizontal bars that are about 1mm apart, covering the whole surface of the paper. These bars are not very clearly defined, but they are definitely visible. When you handle a laid business card, the texture is very bold to the touch. The biggest appeal of the laid finish is its boldness about its texture. Its also a finish that has been around for a long time, so there is appeal in that historic richness as well. By far the biggest drawback of printing with a laid finish would be the difficulty involved with production. Almost no digital presses can handle its texture. Oh BTW, we can. Sorry, I had to mention it.
Finally, there is the wove finish. This might be my favorite textured stock for business cards. I don’t know what it is about wove, but I just like it. A wove finish consists of a coarse, parchment-like texture. Its actually exactly the finish that is typically used on sketch book paper. Its a slightly rough, natural looking paper that has an artistic feel to it. This is probably the most difficult finish to describe because there really isn’t a well defined pattern to it. There are many pros to using a wove texture on your business cards. One would be its versatility, particularly with respect to printing equipment. More printers can use this finish than the other two mentioned in this blog post. Another strength would be its sturdiness. Wove stock always feels thicker than its weight rating would imply. There aren’t nearly as many drawbacks with the laid finish. The only one that comes to mind is that the texture is subtle compared to the other. But I wouldn’t necessarily consider a drawback, its more of a preference.
So there you have it. Those are the main textured stocks that we encounter here in NYC when people are shopping for business cards. There are some others, such as the one used in the photo for this blog post. But those are rare and expensive. So I figured it would be more beneficial to our readers to focus on the finishes that account for the vast majority of our requests. I hope all this helped.