It’s important to understand how digital design translates into the actual world. For many online designers, there’s often a lack of understanding with business card designs. Often, a designer might not know available sizes, weights or qualities of paper.
Bridging the gap between the computer and paper not only allows a designer to utilize available printing options, but also helps to inform the digital design. Knowledge of available resources allows a designer to inform clients and make informed recommendations. These benefits ultimately make for a stronger designer.
This article takes a look at three major business card printing websites and what they offer. Keep in mind, there are many more out there – designers should ultimately do their own research, order paper samples and trust their opinions.
But before we begin, it is first important to understand paper “weight”. This number refers to the mass of a ream of paper with given dimensions and a sheet count. Sadly, the dimensions and sheet count are often undisclosed by manufacturers so the “weight” has essentially become a looser term that gives us a rough idea of what kind of density and thickness to expect from a paper type. Again, this is where ordering samples helps in understanding.
For clients with a comfortable budget, Moo is a good place to start. They have a reputation of high quality in both in paper quality and in color accuracy.
Moo offers three sizes of business card:
- 3.5″ x 2″(standard)
- 2.75″ x 1.10″(mini)
- 2.56″ x 2.56″ (square)
All of their trim sizes are available in three paper types:
- “Original” 130lb matte/gloss
- “Green” 130lb uncoated
- “Luxe” 250lb uncoated
Pricing varies but 50 cards can cost roughly between $25 and $35.
On the other end of the spectrum are companies like Vistaprint. The prices are insanely low—in fact they often have specials such as 250 cards for free! This can be a good option for clients who are forming start ups or have a tight budget.
Vistaprint largely specializes in standard 3.5″x2″ cards, offering:
- 100lb “Linen” (textured)
- 110lb matte/gloss
- 130lb matte/gloss
- 400lb “Smooth” (If this weight is true, this would be incredibly dense and hard paper!)
Vistaprint also offers a few special printing options:
- Spot gloss
All of the special printing options can be applied to any of the paper options. Pricing on Vista print is about as low as it gets, in fact free in some cases, but regularly starts at $16 for 100 cards.
Somewhere in between Moo and Vistaprint exists websites like 48hourprint. The quality is middle of the road and the color accuracy won’t be terribly off.
One unique aspect of 48hourprint is the trim size options (very useful with clients looking for something different or for oddly proportioned logos):
- 3.5″ x 2″
- 3.5″ x 1.75″
- 2″ x 2″ (square)
- 3.5″ x 2.5″
- 3″ x 3″ (square)
- 4″ x 3.5″
All of the size options are available on 114lb paper in matte or gloss and start at $23 for 100 cards.
Another alternative is PrintingForLess.com. They offer the following paper options:
- 120lb Gloss Cover 14pt
- 120lb Dull/Matte Cover 14pt
- 100lb Uncoated Cover 14pt
- 200lb Gloss Cover 24pt
- Recycled options also available
They also offer the following special options:
- Round Corners
- Die Cutting
- Foil Stamping
- Folded Business Cards
PFL has 500 card minimum orders starting at $49.30.
With all of the physical possibilities in mind, designers should think twice about opening up the old 3.5″x2″ template. Logo proportions and printing options will better inform a design that actually makes sense.
Additionally, clients can be consoled in their search and use of business card printing websites. All in all, this information should only make for a stronger designer.