Business Card Construction

What material your business card is made from is one of the first aspects of the card that’s noticed when it’s handed off. The most common material has traditionally been paper, grown into plastic, and even been printed in metal, wood, and silk. The material you choose and the type you choose can help reflect your business and inform creative decisions you can make with your card. So the choice is yours; how will your card be constructed?

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What Does ‘pt’ Mean When Designing A Business Card?

When looking into designing a business card, no doubt you’ve encountered the abbreviation ‘pt’. The abbreviation ‘pt’ is in reference to the thickness of the business card, which is measured in points. Therefore, ‘pt’ equals one point, which measures out to be 1/1000 of an inch. Standard business cards stand at 14pt, which measures out to the typical thickness of a flyer or brochure. A 16pt card is also popular, equating a thickness similar to a greeting card or manilla folder. The higher the ‘pt’, the thicker the card.

Stock Types

It can be daunting to see the number of stock choices available to you as you begin the design process. The stock used in the card will influence its durability and its weight, which can be factors that affect your card’s retention with your potential customers. Depending on what your business means to say with your card, different stocks can have different effects. The heavier the stock, however, the higher the price. Here is what you need to know about the stock types of your cards.

100lb Gloss Cover

100lb gloss cover sounds like a complicated type of stock, but really, it just means a 12pt stock that can be easily paired with a gloss finish, which is also often the cheapest option. Usually, 100lb gloss cover is used for booklets or brochures. This stock, due to its thin nature, is more flexible than other stocks.


The most common and popular stock is 14pt. The typical thickness of a flyer,this stock creates a sleek and professional standard, and still leaves itself open for customization. 14pt is an excellent choice if you’re buying in bulk as well.


16pt stock is a more durable, luxurious stock than the 14pt, and the second most popular option available. Though the price is greater, the card improves the feel and look of your card as soon as it’s in a client’s hands.

18pt C1S

18pt, even thicker still, increases durability, and increases perceived value as well. C1S means ‘coated on one side’, a stock commonly used to present your relevant information on one side, protected from scuffs and scratches, while the other side is uncoated, perfect for writing notes.


20pt, more common in plastic and other sturdier material, produces both a strong card and a strong statement. The durability of the card leaves itself open for plenty of creative design choices, from transparent material to a die cut custom shape.

Ultra Thick

Ultra thick cards, sometimes referred to as double thick, are cards that round out to a 30pt thickness or thicker. The cards are rigid and incredibly durable, emphasizing strength and stability. These cards are common with attorneys or executives.

The Age Old Question: Paper or Plastic

The primary choice most businesses are making about the cards are to make them out of paper or plastic. Here are the facts about the two materials.


Paper is the time-honored material used in business cards for centuries. They produce snappy, aesthetically pleasing cards, that professionally pass information to your customers.


  • Paper business cards are incredibly easy to share. All you need to do is to give the cards personally to your valued clients and handfuls of them can be disseminated with ease.
  • Due to the legacy of the paper card, it carries an air of professionalism and class. If you’re looking for a to-the-point and aesthetically pleasing card, paper might be right for you.
  • Most small businesses can afford to have paper-based business cards. The printing costs are within budgets of startups and other smaller companies, which can be a huge advantage.


  • Most paper business cards end up in a dustbin in a few days. In fact, many studies have revealed that 88% of such cards are thrown out within a week.


Plastic business cards may not be as traditional, but they leave a lasting impression and are open to thousands of customization options that allow you to represent your business to the fullest.


  • Plastic cards are incredibly durable. The typical plastic business card has a longer life than a traditional paper stock card, which means that your customers will retain them longer, and your business’s contact details on the card will stay fresh in their mind.
  • Plastic cards can be easily redesigned, remodeled, and reprinted as your needs change. Should your address change or a name needs changing, the transition process is smooth and simple.
  • Customizability is the name of the game with plastic cards. Custom shapes, types, thickness, and finishes, the durability of the material and the actual printing process make for full customizability to create the exact card you’re looking for.


  • While they can be stunning with the right design, they can also be more expensive to make, take longer to produce, and so you will have to wait longer to get them back.

Other Materials

While paper and plastic are the two predominant material choices, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the other choices as well. Each material can say something about your business, and will definitely draw the eye of potential customers. So what are some other choices?


Metal business cards keep a professional look with ultra-fine etchings and shaping that will create an impressive first impression. The beauty of the metal card is the metal customization options available. You can add finishes to the metal that give it different shines, like gold, rose gold, brass, copper, or black metal, each can compliment your business or give a different look to your content. With a metal card, you don’t need to worry about durability, your card will keep your information secure with no fear of breaking or bending. They are, however, typically more expensive.



Wood business cards have a warm, natural look to them that other business cards can’t match. A wood card is an excellent look for contemporary businesses or artists, and offers a unique and inviting card. The type of wood can differ too; from birch to cherry wood, mahogany to walnut, your card will have a representative look that is sustainable and memorable.


Recycled Materials

Your business card will make a statement when you hand over an environmentally-friendly, naturally appealing card made with 100% recycled material. The recycled nature of the material means that the card has a wide range of customization options, from color to thickness to shape to edge finish. The recycled card will say a lot about your business without you having to say anything.



A cork card draws the eye and the touch. The cork stock is kept soft, and your card will remain flexible and bendable. While it has fewer customization options than other stocks, the texture and look of the card are appealing on their own.



While durability is a common factor in the less-common stock, cotton is not to be disregarded on that front. An incredibly durable, yet soft and smooth to the touch, commonly waterproof, and exceptionally memorable. A cotton card can be customized like a regular card, kept soft and uncoated for finishes like painted edges, foiling, or letterpress to be applied. Cotton is typically thicker than other stock, usually left at 20pt.



The gorgeous look of a bamboo card emits a natural feel and a soft touch, instantly impressive, sustainable, and effective. The cards can be given an edge finish to accentuate the content and material, available in 16pt stock or 32pt. There is a unique presence that bamboo cards can bestow to your business.


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A business card’s finish controls much of your card’s look and feel, so knowing exactly how to accentuate your design can pay off in the end. Whether you want a shine, a texture, or a glow, deciding your card’s finish can go a long way toward making your card memorable. Here are the finishes you should consider with your card.


With unlimited shapes and sizes at your fingertips, you can make your card stand out with ease. Cut a card in the shape of your logo, or cut the shape of your logo out from your card, or any other options you may consider. The die cut card depends wholly on your creativity.



Letterpressing is a more traditional, professional business card finish that creates indents in the paper to add texture to your design or text. This technique is used most commonly on paper, but can be done with other materials as well.



Make your card shine with a gloss finish that looks and feels premium and luxurious. Gloss will strengthen the look of your colors, images, and text as well as being one of the least expensive finishes to add. A gloss finish can also help increase the durability of your card.



A matte finish provides a smooth, non-glossy, clean look to your card, paired well with subtle design choices or colors. Matte finishes prevent fingerprinting on your card, keeping an overall cleaner look, and supports a writable surface for your card.



UV Coating is another finish that creates a brilliant shine on your card, complimenting images or rich colors really well. The coating is free of solvents and increases your card’s durability while causing the designs to pop, and excellent choice for a bright and colorful card.



An uncoated finish is a natural look, easy to design for, and puts all of the card’s focus on your information or your logo. It also easily pairs with a writable card. For a simple, effective card, an uncoated finish may be perfect for you.



Foiling, or foil stamping, involves adding a custom metal die to your card. The foil can be applied to your text, logos, or images, to draw the eye and add a shine to specific aspects of your design. The foil can also compliment the color of your card, helping to guide your client’s eye to the places you’d like to emphasize.



Using a reflective ink, a metallic shine can be added to your card. This finish is excellent when used on designs that feature contrasting colors, and draws the text out, causing it to stand out more.



The aqueous finish is meant to protect your card from fingerprints, smudges, scratches, or any other damaging element that may impact your card. The clear coating improves durability and leaves all the talking to your design and your information



Silk cards are created by placing a laminate over the finished card to create the smooth texture to be expected of a silk product. This laminate produces a water-resistant coating that elevates the luxurious and elegant feel that silk cards can produce. While customizability is limited, the card’s durability and style will speak for itself.



Another card with a velvet soft lamination, the suede card provides a modern card of luxury and durability. The cards are typically thicker than traditional stock due to the laminate, raised from 16pt to 19pt. With limited customization options, the card is perfect for a more elegant, minimalist look.


Which Color Option Should You Chose?

While designing your card, you might be asked about your color options, which look like this: 4/0, 4/1, 4/4. This may look complicated at first glance, but are actually rather simple. 4/0 means only one side of the card is full color, and the other side will be fully blank. 4/1 means one side is full color, while the other side won’t have full color, but may have text on it. 4/4, then, means full color on both sides.


Business cards can catch the eye with more than just material and finishes. There are many different types of card that can creatively express the abilities of your business before potential clients even read your information. These types of cards can be functional, expressive, effective, and productive, all based on your designs. Here are inventive and exciting designs for you to explore.

QR Code Cards

Business cards can have QR codes printed on them, allowing you to share your contact details, business information, work samples and much more with just one scan. Using the vCard Plus QR Code on your business card means potential clients or employers can add your contact information to their mobile devices without the hassle of manually typing it in. All they need to do is scan and save. In the same vein, adding a Social Media QR Code that links to your social media platforms will not only garner more followers and fans on your pages, but will also allow your clients to remain up to date on all your latest work, news, and events.



Transparent cards are unique based purely on their material, but the clear card draws far more attention to your design or your words. Transparent cards are eye-catching, and add plenty of new design options to your card. The designs don’t have to stop at simply transparent, either; you can change the opacity. If you want a frosted card as opposed to a transparent one, that is definitely possible.


Custom Shapes

Business card designs can be fully customized thanks to your creativity. You can create unique die cut and custom shaped cards that perfectly emphasize your business. Photographers can make cards shaped like cameras, coffee shops can make cards shaped like coffee cups.



Like a typical business card, the sticker business cards are used to promote yourself and your business. Adding a creative, beautifully designed sticker not only makes your card interactive but can also be used as an additional promotional marketing tool. This kind of card is perfect for laptops, water bottles, and cars.

Business card design that is awe inspiring and clear


Unlike paper business cards, magnetic cards can be placed on fridges, lockers, or any other metallic surface; thus, keeping your mini billboards front and center always available for your customer.



Embossed cards add dimension to your card or your information, highlighting the professional feel and any critical information you like. Embossed cards add an extra unique element to your card’s look and feel.



A business card can do more than just deliver information. A functional business card is multi-purpose, to encourage customers to hold on to it and keep using it again and again. For example, a brewery or a bar may want to get a metal business card that is designed to feature a functional bottle opener. A more popular example would be making your card a mini ruler, or a coaster.



Writeable business cards are designed with white space in mind to allow for notes or messages to be written on them. This can be for you to personalize the cards you hand off, or to increase customer retention with your card because they may use it to write in the future.


Foldable Business Cards

Foldable business cards give you twice the space for content while remaining standard business card sized. The foldable design allows for more creative design choices, like adding other types of card to the inside of your card. Put all of your full information on the card while leaving the inner space for notes, or have additional information revealed once the card is unfolded.


Mini Business Cards

A quick, to-the-point business card can be a breath of fresh air for potential clients. A mini business card will stand out, and are great for identity, promotions, gift tags, and more.



Show how forward-thinking you can be with a breakaway business card. The card is actually two in one, all you have to do is tear one off and hand it over. This is a great way to economize your cards and information while showing off creative and unique design choices.