5 Types of Business Card Paper and When To Use Them

Updated March 10, 2023

Business cards are pieces of paper that people hand out with their professional and contact information. They typically include the company they work for, their type of work, their phone number, email address, and a small design to make it memorable. If you want to make a good impression when meeting business contacts, you can print business cards that look professional and aesthetically pleasing. In this article, we discuss business card paper, what types of paper you can use for a business card and some additional tips about designing and printing your business cards.

Read more: How to Make Business Cards in Microsoft Word (With Template)

What is business card paper?

Business card paper refers to the type of paper you use for your business card. A business card is typically three and a half inches long and two inches wide, making it easy to carry or keep in a wallet. The paper you put your business card on can display the quality of the card and your style and attitude towards your business. It can help you determine how you want to present yourself professionally. At the minimum, it should look professional and durable enough to carry around by your contacts after meeting you.

  • Weight: The weight of a business card refers to how heavy the paper is. Heavier paper is sturdier and can feel more luxurious. Here are some important elements in a business card paper:

  • Thickness: The Thickness of your card can also contribute to its durability. However, a card that feels like cardboard can be unwieldy and hard to carry around.

  • Color: Papers come in different colors, and this can be an obvious way to differentiate yourself from other business cards. Strictly professional business cards may stick to whites and creams, but a more progressive professional may experiment with bright, eye-catching colors.

  • Printing capabilities: Your business card has your contact information printed on it, so make sure you choose a paper type that can withstand the printing you want on your card. For example, different types of ink may work better with more porous paper, and thinner papers may not support embossing.

  • Finish: The finish of the paper refers to the appearance of the paper after the manufacturer prints and treats it. You can have glossy or matte.

Related: 11 Creative Business Card Design Ideas

Five types of business card paper

Here are some types of business paper you can use for your business cars:

1. Card stock

Cardstock is a common type of paper used for business cards, though it may be called cover stock by some printing companies. This type of paper carries a weight of around 80 to 110 pounds per ream of paper. It is sturdy, so it can handle excessive handling, making it a good choice for business cards typically carried around by multiple people for long periods. The higher the weight, the more rigid the paper. However, heavier paper can also be more expensive. Card stock can come in a variety of different finishes and textures:

  • Matte

  • Glossy

  • Photo

  • Textured

Related: 7 Things To Put on Your Personal Business Cards

2. Matte stock

Matte stock is a popular type of paper for business cards because it has a non-shiny finish that is still smooth. This can create an expensive and put-together final appearance for your business card. You can also write on a matte stock business card because the finish can still grab ink. This may be important if you are prone to writing messages on your card.

Matte stock is offered in a wide range of colors, the most popular of which are whites, creams, beiges and tans. If you choose to use a colorful version of the Matte stock, keep in mind that the matte finish may make the color seem duller than initially intended.

Related: 14 Common Business Card Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

3. Glossy stock

Glossy stock has an aqueous coating, a clear fast-drying water-based coating that gives it a glossy appearance. The water-based chemical makeup makes the finish more environmentally friendly than a varnish or UV coating. These business cards can show colors off to their most significant advantage because of the shiny finish. You can include a graphic on your business card because the glossy finish protects the colors and prevents blurring. It also increases the longevity of the business card, protecting it from water damage or tearing. However, you can't write on a glossy stock business card.

Related: 10 Tips for Creating an Effective Business Card

4. Photo card stock

You can use photo card stock when you want a photo-quality finish to your card. If you're going to include a photograph of yourself on your business card, this may be the option you want. Real estate agents commonly use Photo card stock to include professional-grade photography. It is also a good choice for double-sided cards in full color because of the professional quality of the colors.

Related: 6 Things to Put on a Business Card (With Design Tips)

5. Textured

Textured card stock can have glossy or matte finishes. The stock has a texture pressed into it to give it a specific feel, like a basket weave, dotes or a houndstooth. Textured stocks can come in a wide assortment of colors and provide a more tactile dimension to your business card. The pressed technique of these cards means that printing is typically one-sided. However, this type of detail on your card can become confusing or unwieldy if it isn't related to your business image, so keep your texture subtle.

Related: Marketing Materials: What They Are and Why You Need Them

Additional tips for business cards

Here are some additional tips for designing your business cards:

  • Match your persona to your card: Your card represents yourself and your professional persona, so match your profession with the card. For example, if you are a graphic designer, try experimenting with color and graphics to showcase your skill.

  • Consider your audience: When designing your business card. Consider who your audience is and how they are likely to respond to specific design choices. If you are primarily networking with people in non-professional settings, be sure to choose a size and weight that is durable even if its recipients put it in their pocket.

  • Choose coated or uncoated: A business card be covered with a surface sealant to impact certain qualities like shine, color weight and ink absorbency. Consider your priorities when deciding on coated or uncoated. An uncoated piece of paper may be less durable but have a classy and natural look.

  • Stay within your budget: Business cards can be an excellent way to network and promote yourself but remember they are only one part of your business strategy, so don't go over budget when picking out a type of stock and design. You can create a classy and appropriate business card within your budget.

  • Print them: One way to save money on a business card is to print them yourself. Traditionally, people printed business cards professionally, and that is still an excellent way to make sure they are professional looking with a clean quality. However, with the improvement of at-home printers and word document templates, you may experience printing simple designs at home.

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