Latest trends in fine stationery, custom invitations and announcements from the Stationers Guild

As a stationer, I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of business cards.  Most people have a pretty clear idea of what information they want displayed on a business card, but seek advice from their stationer on card stock, ink colors and how to layout the information on a business card.

There are no fixed rules when designing a business card; however, I believe that a well-crafted business card is probably one of your most important public relations investments.  The business card should create a positive first impression when you hand your card to the recipient.  The paper stock, printing process, ink colors and well-designed layout says as much about you as a person as it does your business.

While there are many online print shops that offer “free” and inexpensive business cards using pre-designed templates, I have found their offerings to be quite unappealing.  Their paper stock is of poor quality and many online companies can’t even seem to print in a straight line.  It is painfully obvious when someone presents you a business card that has been produced by one of these discount printers. 

From my perspective, three things are important for a well-designed business card.  First, and most importantly, is the card stock.  The standard paper weight for most business cards is 64# (sixty-four pounds weight).   While I believe that 96# makes for a far more substantial business card, many people prefer the standard weight.  Crane & Co. offers many different card stock weights and paper colors to choose from and is often a very good choice for business cards.   I strongly recommend that you contact a Stationers Guild store in your neighborhood to see and feel the various options in person. 

Secondly, use a consistent layout for your business card incorporating no more than two font styles.  For instance, if your business letterhead is “right-adjusted” try to maintain that symmetry in your business card.  A consistent image promotes brand recognition.  

Finally, print your card using engraving or thermography.  While engraving is considerably more expensive, colors are opaque and crisp.  Thermography is a resin-based ink which is baked on the business card to simulate engraving.  It is a less expensive alternative to engraving, but still creates raised-print.  Letterpress is also emerging as a very appealing alternative to the traditional engraved business card.  

The Stationers Guild website has a Frequently Asked Questions on Business Stationery section that contains much useful information to help you design your business stationery.

Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair

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