If you're new to ordering printing, there'll come a time when things get confusing.
Knowing your stock from your finish, your gsm from your cmyk or your bleed from your crop markings can be something of a minefield.
Most people either use their local printer or order online (hoping everything will turn out ok!). But as business cards leave a lasting impression on you or your business, it's pretty important to tailor that impression to the right image!
In this post, we'll tell you everything you need to know about the different thicknesses business cards come in (and a whole lot more) to help you make the right choice, for you!
How is business card thickness measured?
In the UK, we measure paper thickness is GSM (grams per square meter). The higher the GSM, the thicker the paper. GSM varies from around 80gsm (used for lightweight letterheads etc) right up to around 450gsm (used for business cards) and sometimes as high as 600gsm.
What thickness business cards are available?
Most printers run business cards on card stock that's between 350gsm and 450gsm. 350gsm or thereabouts tends to be used for cheaper business cards, whilst a thicker 400gsm - 450gsm is used for the more luxury business card ranges. Some printers offer 600gsm, and a few may offer as low as 300gsm. It goes without saying you get what you pay for - thinned business cards will be more economical price-wise, whereas your thicker 450gsm+ will cost [often] significantly more.
Which thickness business card is right for me?
The million dollar question! If your business gets through masses of business cards (maybe they double up as appointment, receipt or taxi cards), or if your business isn't trying to sell a luxury service then an economy business card around 350gsm will be perfect.
If on the other hand you're rarely using business cards, your business offers a luxury product or service, or you're trying to impress, then a 400gsm+ business card will make a huge difference. Don't forget to explore options for adding even more luxury by laminating it with soft touch or matt coating.
What paper stock should my business card be printed on?
Business cards come in either coated, or uncoated stocks. Coated stocks tend to be silk (rarely gloss), whereas uncoated business cards have a pulpy feel, and are often used for eco businesses, as they feel more natural in the hand. You'll find that silk business cards are cheaper, and printed faster. You'll also find that colours look more vibrant on coated business cards as the ink doesn't absorb in to the card as much as it does with uncoated stocks.
How should my business card be finished?
There's a big range of 'finishes' for business cards. The common ones are gloss laminate, matt laminate and velvet laminate (also called 'soft touch'). You certainly don't have to add a lamination to your business cards, and it's unusual (and a bit weird) to laminate uncoated business cards.
Here's a quick guide to how the business cards will feel with different laminations:
GLOSS: Gloss laminated business cards feel rather like a magazine cover. They're 'gloopy' and feel rich to touch. Gloss lam is a rarer choice for business cards - they went through a phase recently and become unpopular.
MATT: Matt laminated business cards are an absolute standard used by businesses all over the country. They feel silky smooth to touch, though colours look slightly muted under the laminate.
VELVET: Velvet laminated business cards (also called soft touch) feel, as the name suggests, 'velvety' to touch. They're rarer than matt laminated cards, though dull the colours in a similar way. They also show up finger marks more than matt laminated cards - if you're printing a darker solid background you might not like the way they mark - especially if you have oily fingers!
Our favourite business card...
For us 400gsm matt laminated business cards go all the way. They combine a higher end feel with reasonable pricing, and make us look great (we think). Print with us and prices start at just £30 for 250, rising to £70 for 1000 delivered.