GLOSSARY OF BUSINESS CARD & PRINTING TERMINOLOGY
Card Stock: Card stock refers to the thickness of the paper the card is printed on. This is either measured in points (pt.) or pounds (# or lb.). Generally, the higher the number the thicker the paper. Most professional cards are printed on 100-110lb. (around 12 pt.) or higher paper stock. There is no agreed upon conversion from points to pounds. In addition, adding a coating such as UV gloss can add to the paper stock somewhat, increasing thickness.
Full Color: Pronounced 'four over four' or 'four over zero', these terms refer to full color printing. '4' stands for full color (on a CMYK: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black printer), '1' stands for black, and '0' means blank. The first number stands for the front of the card, the latter number the back. So a 4/4 card would have full color on both sides. A 4/0 card would have full color on one side and no printing on the back.
Two-Sided: Cards can either be one-sided or two-sided, depending on personal preference and the cost factor.
[Glossy] Lamination or Coating ( Glossy, UV Coating, Matte, Aqueous, etc.): Most cards are finished with some sort of coating to improve the look and durability of the card once it is printed. Depending on the manufacturer and price, you may have a few options to choose from. Glossy UV is a very common option, and provides a glossy, reflective-type look to the card face. Aqueous coating gives the face some sheen, but not nearly as much as UV gloss coating. Matte is the standard looking paper-finish look.
Proofing: Proofing is checking out the card design before it is sent to the printing presses. This is usually accomplished online through an Adobe Acrobat .PDF file or some sort of proprietary graphic program, although some companies will send a physical sample for an extra fee. Once the proof is checked for errors by the client it is given the go ahead to be sent to print.
Dimensions: Although business card sizes differ from country to country, the standard size most often found in the U.S. and Canada is 3.5" x 2" (89 x 51 mm). The international standard size is the same size as credit cards, 3.370" x 2.125" (85.60 x 53.98 mm). Japanese business cards are slightly larger than U.S. cards at 91 x 55 mm.
Raised Print: Raised print is an optional feature found on some business cards. Raised print is accomplished by sprinkling plastic powder on top of wet ink in a process called thermography. There is usually an extra charge for this.
Watermark: A watermark is an optional feature found on some business cards. This is created by using engraved plates on the card stock, creating a slight indentation from the rear of the card. This process is only useable on one-sided cards. It can be quite costly to have a plate engraved.
Embossing: Embossing is a process where metallic foils are bonded with the card stock. This is a feature found on some business cards. It is usually used sparingly to accent or accentuate certain areas of the business card. Common colors are gold and silver.
CMYK/RGB Color: CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. RGB stands for red, green, and blue. Each is a type of color profile. Most printing companies print using the CMYK process. Most monitors and graphics programs are set to use RGB. This can cause color fluctuations in the finished product.
Fold-Over Business Cards: A type of business card that is larger than a normal business card. This card can be folded over and provides more area to print on.
Bleed: Bleed is required when printing business cards. There can be shifting of materials during printing, and bleed gives a safe margin of error, eliminating any white lines on the edges of your business cards. The average amount of bleed is an extra 1/8" on each of the four sides. Make sure your graphics go off the page that much to insure proper printing. Most print companies will provide a template and more instructions to help you with the task.