A Guide to Printing Finishes

A Guide to Printing Finishes

In the corporate world, business cards will always matter.

Although you have to start with the right design, how you finish it will also make a huge difference in how well your cards are received.

To help you decide what printing finish to use for your business cards, we put together this guide that goes over some of the advantages and disadvantages of some of the most popular types of printing finishes.

Keep reading to learn more about the types of finishes we offer.

Matte Finish

If you need a business card that you can write on, the matte finish on our standard paper cards is the best way to go.

A matte finish may also be referred to as an uncoated card if it doesn't have any coating or varnishes on top of it. However, there are also matte coated paper stocks available that will absorb the ink better while maintaining a matte finish.

This style of finish is often seen as being luxurious and highly professional, particularly when paired with dark colours. However, when used alone it also may not draw as much attention as some of the other finishes.


For a more eye-catching card that you can still write on with most pens, you may want to consider a semi-gloss finish. It won't add any weight to your paper but it will provide a more of a punch where ink lays on your card.

One of the biggest advantages of semi-gloss is that it increases the vibrancy of colours in your design. This makes it ideal for business cards that include various colours because it can make them pop.

It's also more subtle than a high-gloss business card which is what makes it one of the most popular varnish options.


High-gloss finishes will certainly catch the eye of those you hand it to, making them hard to ignore. They also protect cards better which can prevent them from falling apart in a contact's wallet.

However, it's also impossible to write on them no matter what type of pen you have. For some, this is a huge disadvantage because there are people that like to jot down notes on business cards.

Because of how well high-gloss highlights contrasts in colours, it's great for those who have real pictures on their business card. If you have your headshot on your business card, you may consider going with a high-gloss.

Spot UV

This type of finish allows you to combine the luxurious look of matte with a flash of gloss so you can combine them. They're created when the coating is applied to parts of the card and then cured with a UV light.

With spot UV, most of your business card is matte and then you choose what parts have a high-gloss finish. This is a great way to highlight certain parts of your business card and can elevate the professional feel of it.

The biggest drawback to this type of card is that they're more expensive than choosing a full high gloss UV option. However, if you want to quickly set yourself up as a professional, this is a great way to do just that.

Foil Stamping

Another more expensive option that will truly take your business card to the next level is foil stamping. It uses heat and pressure to fuse a thin layer of metal onto your business card.

While these are going to be more expensive than other business card options, they're also a great way to catch the eye of everyone you hand them to.

It sends the message that your company represents value and luxury which can help you attract the right type of customer or business partner. These can also be used with a variety of other finish types for a truly customized card.


Business cards that are embossed feature areas that have been raised. This highlights certain areas of your card while adding an element of touch.

When people can feel the texture of your business card, it will make it more memorable. This is because they're using more than one of their senses to experience your card.

Something to keep in mind with these cards is that the same design you have raised on one side of the card will end up lowered on the opposite side. If you have information on the back of your card, be sure it's going to be readable.

This can also be used to your advantage as you can create a unique design around the recessed area on the back of your card as well.


Debossing involves lowering certain areas of a business card so certain parts stand out. It has all of the same advantages and disadvantages of embossed business cards with a slightly different look.

This is also one of the oldest printing techniques still used today and can also be referred to as letterpress because printing press letters were pressed into the paper without ink to create impressions.

Because it's been around for so long, debossed business cards provide a sense of antiquity and imply that your business runs with traditional values and has been around for a while.

Combining Finishes

Something else to keep in mind while picking out a finish for your business card is that you may not have to choose just one. Instead, you can take advantage of several of these to create an even more unique business card.

For example, it's common to combine debossing or embossing with foil stamping. This highlights those parts of your business card even more so your card can't be missed or forgotten.

If you attend a lot of networking events, you know how common it is to end up with a lot of business cards. To make sure yours gets kept by others, be sure to put some time into choosing the perfect finish for you.

Want to Experience these Printing Finishes for Yourself?  

Now you know more about the different types of printing finishes we have to offer for your business cards. As you can see, there's something for everyone here so you're sure to find the right finish for you.

If you want to feel these for yourself before you decide, you can request a free sample pack. We'd be more than happy to send one to you so you can make the right choice for your business cards.

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