Are you on the brink of printing your business cards, but aren’t sure about the best business card paper weight or stock type to use? Do yourself a favor, and don’t hit the print button until you’ve read this article. It could mean the difference between someone actually keeping your business card and ditching it in the bin.
It’s often said that the only difference between something good, and something great comes from attention to detail. Creating an amazing business card design won’t yield the same results unless it’s paired with the best paper weight and finish.
Before we get started, let’s take a look at some of the basics.
What is GSM?
When talking about paper weight, whether it be for A4 documents or business cards, it is always measured in GSM (Grams per Square Meter). This is the number of grams that a square meter of the paper weighs.
The higher the GSM value, the thicker the paper will be. Another common way to measure the thickness of business card paper is by using points (Pt) or inches.
Common Business Card Paper Weights
The standard business card paper weight is 300GSM (14 Pt / 0.014 inches thick). However, below are some other common weights.
250GSM (10 Pt / 0.010 inches thick) – Light weight paper that is easily bent and quite flimsy.
300GSM (14 Pt / 0.014 inches thick) – This is the standard paper weight for most business cards.
350GSM (16 Pt / 0.016 inches thick) – Above average grade paper that is a bit more durable and stiffer than the 300GSM.
400GSM (18 Pt / 0.018 inches thick) – Premium weight that feels quite sturdy and radiates quality.
Why Paper Weight Matters
Flexibility isn’t always a word you associate with business cards, but hear me out. Say you have 2 business cards, one printed on 250GSM paper, and the other on 400GSM. When you bend the 250GSM one, it will crease easier and sooner than if you bent the 400GSM one.
Having creases in your business card makes it look worn out, much like an old person with wrinkles. It makes sense that your business card should be flexible to allow for life’s adventures.
Although it may seem like a waste of money buying heavier business cards, they are much more durable in the long run. When handing someone your business card, chances are that it will be mistreated. This is because they are usually thrown around, used as coasters, and apparently, even used to scrape up cocaine on a big night out.
After all this, you want your business card to stand out from the crowd and remain in that solid crisp state that it was in when you handed it over, not in a shriveled unreadable mess.
People don’t get up and wear a suit and tie every morning because it’s the most comfortable clothing to be in, they wear it to impress. Business cards are no different. You hand them over to give out your contact information, but it’s also a chance to show off your professionalism.
This is where the design of your card, paper weight, features, and coatings come into play. If a person receives 10 business cards in a day, you want yours to be the best. You can make your card look amazing just by using a slightly heavier paper weight.
When you see 2 watches from afar, most of the time you cannot tell the difference between them. However, once you get up close and see that one is a Rolex, and the other is a cheaper alternative, you immediately start forming a perception about the owners of the watches.
Not much is different with business cards. It’s very easy to spot a business card that was purchased cheaply vs a premium one that was printed on high-quality paper.
How to Choose the Best Paper Weight for Your Business Cards
Unfortunately, your budget is always a consideration, even when picking out a business card paper weight. When picking according to your budget, there is a good way to figure out what paper stock you should get. Firstly, you need to consider which industry you’re in, and how much money each client will bring to your business.
If you’re handing out hundreds of business cards per month, and each client on average will bring $50 to your business, its not worth getting a high-quality paper weight. This is because the return on investment (ROI) isn’t high enough to make expensive cards worth it.
On the contrary, if each prospective client brings in $50,000 of revenue to your business, it’s definitely worth handing over a high-quality card that is printed on at least 350GSM paper stock.
If money ain’t no worry, then it’s a matter of picking the best paper weight for your circumstances. Contrary to popular belief, thicker isn’t always better. If a business card is too thick, it won’t fit correctly in the recipient’s card slot in their wallet. It also won’t fit in most business card organizers, and that’s a bad thing!
If you’re wanting to print business cards on high-quality paper, I would suggest going for at least 350GSM paper weight. The paper is heavy enough for the recipient to know that it’s printed on quality paper but light enough not to be obnoxious.
Consider the Business Card Finish
A coated finish greatly enhances the look of your business cards and makes them much more durable. However, it will also increase the thickness of the card slightly because of the sealant that is used. Some of the available finishes for business cards are Glossy, Matte, and UV.
The finish will typically make your business cards look shinier and give off a feeling of being “complete”. Once you’ve handled a business card with a quality finish on it, you’ll never go back to using uncoated cards. The most common business card finish is Matte.
Coated finishes are not recommended for appointment cards because you cannot write on them using a pen due to the coating. In addition to changing the look of the card, a coated finish adds a layer of protection to your business card so it won’t get damaged as easily.
Uncoated business cards are simply printed directly on paper, without any finish. The ink from a pen sticks much better to uncoated business cards so they are preferred by doctors or attorneys that write case numbers or appointment times on their cards.
Another benefit is that they will often look slightly brighter under natural sunlight, compared to coated cards. However, the downside is that they get dirty easily, so if you carry your business cards in your wallet, coated cards will be better. Alternatively, you could purchase a dedicated business card holder and carry it around in your pocket.
Special Business Card Paper Options
If all business cards were the same, the world would be a boring place. Luckily, most printing companies offer premium paper options for business cards such as linen, silk, cotton, suede and many more. These also come at a premium price, too.
If your business sells supercars, maybe a suede business card would resonate better with your potential customers rather than an ordinary paper card. The point of a business card is to make a memorable impression on someone, and if using ordinary paper stock won’t do that, take a look at the special options on offer.
How to Design Amazing Business Cards
Most of the time when designing your own business cards, you’re faced with 2 choices:
- Pay a designer to do all the work for you, which can be very costly and not unique.
- Use preset templates from online tools that don’t allow you to change the design of your card.
The problem with both of these options is they are either very costly or restricted by technology. The point of designing your own business card is to let your imagination run free, and not be limited by technology. Sure, you could spend 3 years learning how to use Adobe Photoshop and design your own business cards, but no one has time for that.
This is why Gimmio’s Business Card Maker was created. Because we realize that there’s a need for a powerful business card tool that will let you create completely custom business cards for all of your staff in just a few minutes.
Selecting the right paper weight when printing your business cards is more important than most people think. Printing your cards on better paper could mean they last twice as long, are much less likely to bend, get fewer creases, and leave a better impression.
Before spending thousands of dollars printing business cards for all of your staff, take a moment to consider how you will be using your cards. Will they hold up to the task?