Choosing the Right Paper for Your Business Cards

Choosing the Right Paper for Your Business Cards

Business cards come in all shapes and sizes; rectangular, square, circular, three-dimensional - you name it. And because they are such a tangible, visual piece of collateral, how they look really makes an impact on that all-important first impression.

But it’s not just the shape and size that makes a difference.

These tactile business tools are made to be passed from one person to another, meaning how they feel is equally as important. This means choosing the right paper for your cards can make the world of difference when it comes to first impressions.

While it can be tempting to just choose any old card stock and get designing, picking out the right type of card is the first step in creating a professional and memorable business card that won’t just get thrown away.

Here’s everything you need to know before choosing your business card paper type.


8 Things to consider when choosing the business card paper type for your company

  1. Card Design
  2. Colors
  3. First Impressions
  4. Budget
  5. Choosing the weight of you paper type
  6. Choosing the finish of your paper type
  7. Should your go with Special papers?
  8. How/where to print your business cards



1. Card Design

Think about the kind of design you’re going to display on your business card: is it heavy on graphics or will it mainly just be text? Will it be one-sided or will you have a design on both sides? Is it a standard business card shape, or are you aiming for something a little more creative?

There are cards these days that don’t look like business cards at all. Instead, they double up as a guide, a checklist, or a piece of origami, so don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to the most common shapes and sizes.

2. Colors

The kind of card you choose will also depend on how much color your design displays. If it features lots of vibrant colors, you’ll need a thicker card stock to avoid any bleeding. If it’s a more minimal, monochrome design, you can go for something thinner.

3. First Impressions

Your business card has seven seconds to make an impression, so really think about what you what people to notice and remember about your card when you hand it over.

For example, if you want to relay a sophisticated impression, a thick, glossy paper might work best, whereas a minimal and modern impression could get away with a thinner, matte option.

4. Budget

Obviously some card stocks are more expensive than others. As a general rule, thicker paper is more pricey, so think about how your budget fits in with the impression you want to send out and the design you have in mind for your business cards.

5. Choosing the Weight of Your Business Cards

When we say weight, this refers to the thickness and stiffness of the card used for your designs. The higher the weight number, the thicker and stiffer the paper will be.

The 3 most common kinds of paper used to print business cards are:

  • 10-point cardstock (thin)
  • 14-point cardstock (thick)
  • 16-point cardstock (thicker)

There are two main kind of stocks that are then segmented into different weights:

  • Text stocks, which are like regular paper
  • Cover stocks, which are more like thin cardboard

Remember, the stock you use for your cards will determine the first impression they give, while there are key benefits and disadvantages for different stocks. For example, a thinner stock will get damaged more easily, while a thicker card stock will last longer but will be more expensive.

Consider what you’re going to be doing with the business cards, too.

If they’re going to be placed in a card holder on the front desk of your building, you can get away with having a thinner card stock, but if you’re going to be handing them out to hundreds of people at a conference, a thicker card stock will last longer and help your cards stand out against others.

If you’re planning on mailing your business cards out, choose a thinner card stock to keep costs down.

When it comes to the weight of your card stock, it’s also important to consider the design you want to display. Thinner stocks feel flimsier and won’t hold ink as well as a thicker stock, so if you have a colorful design with lots of graphics, you’ll want to opt for a thicker weight to ensure there’s no bleed.

6. Choosing the Finish of Your Business Cards

As well as choosing how thick you want your card stock to be, you also need to decide on the finish you’d like your business cards to have. The finish gives your card its overall “feel” and determines how your design looks.

The most common finishes are dull and matte or shiny and glossy, and which one you choose depends on what you plan on doing with your cards. For example, if you’re going to write on them, matte is best, but if you have a big, colorful design, then a glossy finish might look better.

Let’s take a closer look at what each finish is best for.

Glossy Finish

Glossy finishes offer protection against potential moisture and give your designs a nice shine. If you’ve got colorful graphics, the gloss finish will add vibrance and contrast to your business cards and make them look modern.

Matte Finish

Matte finishes are less reflective than glossy ones, but they work well if you’re going for a vintage aesthetic or a minimal design. Colors on a matte design will be more subdued, but they won’t look washed out like they might do on lower-quality business cards.

Uncoated Finishes

Uncoated finishes provide more texture than glossy and matte prints, but they don’t have a protective coating which means they can get damaged more easily. Colors on an uncoated business card are more subdued but still come out clear, while the overall aesthetic sends out a more classic and natural vibe than the other finishes.

7. Should you go with Special Papers?

On top of different card stocks and different finishes, you can also choose to have your business cards printed in specialty papers or with specialty coatings that can be added after a piece is printed.

Again, which ones you choose will completely depend on the design of your cards and the impression you want to send out with them.

Here are some of the most common options.

  • Aqueous coating gives business cards either a high-gloss or matte look depending on the finish you want to go for. It stops dirt and fingerprints ruining your designs
  • UV coating can make your business cards pop in the dark, which is great if you’re going to evening business events
  • Soft-Touch coating can make your cards more tactile
  • Varnish can be added to specific parts of the cards to pick out little details. Varnish coatings come in gloss, satin, or dull varieties and can be used to add tints to your design

8. How You’re Planning to Print Your Business Cards

Once you’ve got your design sorted out and have chosen the stock and finish you want your business cards to have, it’s time for the final step: printing your cards.

There are two key ways you can do this.

a. Print at Home

Printing at home seems like the easiest and most cost-effective option, but the quality just won’t be as good as if you get them printed by a professional.

b. Use a Professional Business Card Solution

Choosing a professional printer means the stock and finish of your business cards will be held to a higher standard, giving your cards a more professional and memorable first impression.

At Brandly, we offer not only great prices, but also high-quality papers, and even a free business card ordering platform that holds all your designs in one safe place so you can print more cards with the click of a button. This means all your designs can easily be printed on the same stock and with the same finish, giving them a cohesive and professional look every time.


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