Luxury Business Card Finishes and Styles

Laminated Cards

Matt and gloss laminated business cards are highly desired and offered by nearly all print manufacturing firms. Matt laminate has a tendency to dull colors down and has a subdued and sophisticated look. Matt lamination can also be prone to showing fingerprints, scuffs and scrapes, predominantly on black and deeper colors. Gloss lamination punches colours up, making them reveal more vibrance. The shiny finish has a more glamorous look and tends to scream, “Hey! Take a look at me!” Another choice, which is not as common, is soft touch lamination (also known as velvet lamination). This laminate is generally more expensive, but gives the card a soft velvet feel identical to suede.

Spot UV Gloss Varnish Cards

If you choose to select a matt laminated business card, it opens the door towards the possibility of spot gloss highlights. This technique includes adding areas of clear gloss varnish to the business card. The addition of gloss varnish on top off a matt laminated business card creates a impressive contrast, this effect will help your business card stand out from the crowd of normal matt laminated cards. Spot gloss varnish can be applied in two ways; registered and blind. Registered spot gloss requires applying the varnish on top of an artwork element. To illustrate, imagine your card is black with your business name in orange. If the spot gloss was added on top of the specific name it would be registered. If you decided to have the company name repeated in spot gloss across the card in another area, this would be blind spot gloss because it isn’t registered with the artwork. One thing to bear in mind is that registration during the production could vary 1-2mm, so registered spot gloss may not always sit perfectly on top of artwork.

Foil Blocked Cards

The impact and impression of foil blocked business cards undoutedly create the same results: Dispersing brand strength and credibility. Foil blocking requires the use of metal dies, pressure and heat to apply foils to business cards. Metallic foils are the most preferred, particularly silver and gold, mainly because they create a finish which is difficult to obtain by using traditional print manufacturing methods. Gloss, matt and various special effect foils can also be used. Special effect foils includes patterned foils, brushed foils and rainbow foils which change colour as they diffract light across the colour spectrum (these are also referred to as holographic foil). There is also a holographic clear gloss foil that simulates spot gloss varnish and changes color in the light! Foils can be applied to laminated business cards, and tend to be very affordable given that they adhere easily to laminates. Foils are also quite often used on textured card stocks and coloured cards, unlike traditional CMYK printing either is not possible or will not work. Some card stocks, such as 600gsm, are too heavy for many printing presses so foil blocking is often used. It also is not possible to print certain colors on specific card colors. If white text is necessary on black card, the text is going to be applied using a white foil with a matt or gloss finish.

Embossed or Debossed Cards

The processes of embossing and debossing can be dismaying. Embossing requires the use of a metal die and a counterforce. Through embossing, the text or image is pressed into the reverse of the card, this produces a raised impression on the front of the card. Similarly to spot gloss, embossing can be blind or registered. Registered embossing is usually a little more expensive than blind embossing due to the setup and registration of every card requiring a longer time. Debossing is the opposite of embossing, it relates to a metal die being utilized to create a deep impression on the front of the card. This can be done with little or no show-through on the opposite side. The embossing effect is the most suitable when using a slim card stock. Finer card stock will create a more effective raised impression. An embossed effect can be added to laminated cards and thin textured card stocks around 300-350gsm. Debossing is best suited on thicker card stocks mainly because it offers a deeper impression. 600-700gsm cotton card creates a beautiful debossed impression. The debossed effect can be applied on its own or with letterpress inks or foils.

Letterpress Cards

Almost all of letterpress business cards are created on cotton, or a mix of cotton and pulp card stocks. An equivalent process to foil blocking can be used but without the addition of temperature. Metal dies are covered with letterpress ink, and are then applied to the card stock using pressure which frequently provides a nice debossed effect at the same time. This process is often used on heavier card stock that cannot be replicated by means of CMYK colors on a standard printing press. Additional choices include metallic inks, combining letterpress inks and metallic foils and adding painted edges to the business cards.

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