Plastic business cards come in two general sizes. The standard type is the exact same size, shape, and thickness as a credit card. This type is known as 30mil PVC by printers. The second variety is 12mil PVC. 12mil cards are also the same size and shape as a standard credit card, however they are just under one half of the thickness. These cards are very unique and display colors extremely vibrantly. All forms of plastic business cards are totally water proof, tear proof, and even durable enough to use as an ice scraper on your car windows!
Other forms of plastic business cards include frosted and pearlescent. Frosted plastic cards are usually available in 30mil. They appear to have a “frosty” look because the plastic is opaque, meaning it is slightly see-through, almost like looking through ice. Any color printed on frosted plastic business cards also holds the opaque image so it is important to remember that colors printed on the front and back can overlap. However, a gifted graphic artist can harness this opaque property to create a truly unique design.
Pearlescent plastic business cards are usually only available in Gold or Silver on 30mil stock. The plastic itself is either gold or silver in color and has a pearlescent sparkle embedded in the plastic. It resembles the same sheen of that of a pearl depending on how light is being reflected from the card. Colors printed on pearlescent plastic cards show vibrantly. These cards are especially useful if the colors gold or silver are used in your company logo. By handing a pearlescent card to a potential customer, you will definitely stand out and leave make an impression with that person.
Finishing options are also available to accent the design of your cards. Options such as foiling, spot UV, and silkcards silk lamination are usually available. Foiling gives you the ability to add custom shapes and designs in foil stamping on top of the card. Foil is available in almost any color including black. Spot UV is the UV coating that is seen on most standard cards, however it is pressed onto the card in custom shapes, sizes, and designs. Spot UV, used correctly in a design, will blow the socks off of a standard ink-only design. Spot UV’s reflective properties can act as a watermark of your logo, any other design, be used to accent certain areas of a design, and shines when it catches the light. Silk lamination is exactly that a silky, thin, plastic lamination that is laminated over the standard plastic card. The additional thickness added is almost non-existent. Laminating your plastic business cards with a silk matte finish is yet another way to make your plastic business cards outperform standard paper cards.
I hope you enjoyed reading this primer on what plastic business cards are and how they can be used to improve the impact your business cards deliver to potential and current customers. On my website and flikr account I have posted a myriad of pictures and design ideas to help you create your perfect plastic business cards.
My name is Paul Roberts. I have degrees in business and computer science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I have been an IT business consultant in Las Vegas for the last 10 years. For the last 6 years I have worked with Designline Graphics solving problems such as product production automation, post-production automation, CRM database, and many other exciting challenges. This is my first article submission. I chose plastic business cards because that is the product that I have the most recent development involvement. I have seen first hand the reaction by customers when they receive their new, unique cards, and I hope that reading this stirs your imagination on what is possible in business card design these days.