OK, I’ll admit it. I’ll come clean. I’ll come right out and say it.
I am a paper snob.
I found this out about me back when I took over the printed newsletter of the UCLA International Institute years ago. Responsible for design, editing and publishing, I started from the ground up and immediately set up an appointment with our printing company rep to go over books and books of paper stock — not only what would print well, what color would be best, whether glossy or matte, but also the weight and FEEL of the stock. I choose an uncoated white matte that was both bright and soft — it didn’t create any glare when you read the articles and it had a certain nice soft, velvety feel between the fingers. Yes, velvety.
Honestly, I didn’t know if anyone would notice but I figured that even subconsciously it would have an effect. And I figured correctly; people did actually notice and commented to me that it felt good in their hands, classy, high-end. And really, all it was white paper, but oh, such a nice white paper.
I know it sounds harsh, but thin, cheap business cards make your business look cheap. And you do not want to look cheap.
I did this paper “recon” subsequently for various brochures and other collateral materials I created for our department, and for some those I added an aqueous finish — a barely visible gloss that also gave a really nice posh feel to the stock.
I think the quality of the paper stock your business card is printed on is perhaps as important as its design. So, when I am handed a business card by someone, I don’t only look at the information on it and the visual design, I look at the entire feeling of what that card says to me about your business.
I know it sounds harsh, but thin, cheap business cards make your business look cheap. Or like you don’t care.
And you do not want to look cheap. You’ve put a lot into your business and the two of you deserve a nicely designed card on heavy card stock. Yes, your customers do notice.
I am constantly amazed at how many people selling expensive items from homes to jewelry will skimp on this (often) first impression of their business.
If you are using a discount printer who does not give you a stock choice, stop and find one who does. There are many reasonable online printers who offer a range of lovely paper stock options and will also send you a sample kit so you can see and feel what they are. My personal current favorites are GotPrint.com, DigitalLizard.com, and I’ve also had success using 48HourPrint.com for a client who preferred their particular FSC certified recycled stock.
I’ve also used Moo when I wanted the different graphic options they offer; they do not offer a huge choice of paper weights (but do offer matte, glossy and FSC certified green options) but since their default is a nice hefty 16 pt it’s all good, and I can attest to the fact that their matte has a wonderful tactile feel to it. (Edit: since this article was published Moo has come out with some wonderful new stock choices.)
Can your business card bend like the one on the right? If so, re-think it! Believe it or not, I got it from someone selling wonderful jewelry starting at $100. The one on the left is one of mine. VistaPrint’s tend to be somewhere in the middle.
I bet you thought I was going to talk about the design of business cards, didn’t you? Fooled you! But that will come too. 😉
If you like this article, you might also like my post on More on Business Cards.