If you want to really set a strong impression, you should consider getting business cards made out of an unusual material. People are experimenting with ever-more creative ideas for the designs of their business cards, to help them leave a strong impression. However, have you ever thought about a metallic business card?
Take for example CEO and author John Ruhlin. He goes all-out with his business cards, spending $3 per card to make them out of pure aluminium. It’s expensive, but it leaves an impression. “To me, a three-dollar business card is a tremendously good investment because I know for a fact that the recipient will show it to twenty other people before he or she gets home,” he wrote in his book, as quoted on Business Insider. “Plus, when I follow up with an email and write ‘Metal business card’ in the subject line, people know exactly who I am, when we talked, and what we talked about.”
You probably don’t need to go that far with your own business cards, but a metallic business card is still certain to leave an impression, and help you stand out in the increasingly competitive professional space.
What is a “metallic business card?”
A metallic business card is not to be confused with a metal business card. Where the latter is a card-shaped square or rectangle that is literally made out of metal, a metallic business card instead uses special metallic inks to create the impression of the card having a metal ‘shine’. It’s cheaper, but at the same time every bit as visually impactful.
Metallic ink is seriously good-looking stuff. It consists of tinted varnishes that contain metallic particles inside it. When applied to the right stock (you need to use coated stock), as the ink settles, the metallic particles either rise to the surface of the ink, or sink down. Either way, the result is a sharp, shiny look.
This technique gives you a wide range of different colour options; you’ll be able to emulate the look of a card made of exotic, precious metals like gold or silver, or more earthy, common colours such as copper, tin, or aluminium. In addition, you can apply standard colours elsewhere on the card, allowing you to blend metal and colour in a way that actual metal cards could not (you’re actually quite limited in what you can print onto an actual metal card).
In other words, metallic business cards give you optimal creative control, at the most reasonable prices for premium, impression-setting cards.
What you need to know about printing a metallic business card
There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind when printing metallic business cards:
1. Use an experienced printer!
It’s absolutely critical that you use a printer that has proven expertise in using metallic ink in printing. With a less experienced printer, metallic ink poorly applied will leave the card looking flat and grey (or a dull yellow, if your intention was to print gold). It will not leave a favourable impression – in fact, it will have the opposite impression, as it will look so bland on the eyes.
2. Make sure you get a varnish coating for your cards
If you want your cards to leave a long-term impression, then a varnish coating over the top is a must. Metallic ink can start to flake off as it is rubbed and touched over time – it’s a process called ‘leafing’, and it doesn’t leave a great visual impression. A simple coat of varnish prevents this process, meaning you don’t need to buy cards as often (because you don’t need to throw old ones out), and the people you give the cards to will keep them for longer.
3. Understand how metallic inks are priced
While a metallic card isn’t going to be as expensive as a metal card, the inks can still become pricey – especially if you’re aiming for specific and complex metals. You should factor this into your design if you’re working to a specific budget. For example, silver is considered the easiest metallic ink to work with, and because it tends to be more common, it also tends to be less expensive. So if you design your card around the use of silver, you will be able to get it printed the most cost effectively.
4. Have a conversation about what would be ideal!
Assuming you’re using an experienced printer, the final step would be to ask them what would work best for what you’re looking to achieve. From the porosity of the stock, to the coating on the paper, the finish, and what customisation is possible, the experienced printer will have built up a body of knowledge and experience that allows them to really help your ideas to shine. Where printing standard inks to paper is quite straightforward, every metallic ink project should be seen as a custom job, and so it would be a good idea to go through a full consultation process.