What is the difference between printed metallic business cards and hot foil?
Choosing to print a metallic business card can provide a unique quality to your cards and help them stand out from the crowd. Competition between business cards is fierce and having a special finish, such as a metallic business card, can increase the chances of a potential customer keeping hold of your card.
There are two different processes that can be used to produce metallic business cards: metallic ink and foil stamping. Each process differs in technique and the end metallic result. The following is a complete guide on the different metallic finish business cards, and which is best for your next print.
Metallic ink business cards, how are they made?
Metallic ink business cards are created using ink infused with small metal particles, such as aluminium, gold and copper. When this ink dries these small particles reflect light, which gives the paper a metallic appearance. A laminate or varnish is then applied over the top to protect the ink from cracking over time.
As metallic inks are considered to be a spot colour, they can be run on the same print press as CMYK colours. Multiple layers of metallic print on business cards are often required to build up the ink to the desired colour.
Foil stamped business cards, how are they made?
Hot foil business cards are made using foil stamping, which is the process of applying foil to paper using heat and pressure. The design to be foiled is printed onto the paper using a toner, which, when heated, sticks to the foil. Foil sheets are used within the foiling process to apply an opaque layer of foil that sits on top of the paper. These foil sheets come in a range of different specified colours, such as gold, copper, and silver.
For a more in-depth rundown on the different foil printing processes, why not check out our blog: foil printing, are there different methods?
Metallic business cards vs foil, which is best?
To determine which technique is the most suitable for your custom metallic business cards, you must take into consideration how you would like for them to look and the budget you have for your print.
Which is the most reflective?
Foiled business cards are miles ahead in the level of shine they produce. As foil stamping uses a foil sheet the end result is a consistent opaque layer of foil on top of the paper that reflects plenty of light. The paper texture does not affect the appearance of the foil, as the foil sits on the surface of the paper. Whether it is silk, conqueror or colour plan, the foil will produce a consistent level of shine across any paper it is applied to.
By contrast, metallic business cards use metallic inks which are much more subtle in their appearance. Metallic ink printing uses small metal particles which are spread throughout the ink. When applied to the paper the distribution of metal is not equal and it is often the case that multiple layers are required to even be able to see any shine. The end finish is very similar to printing on a metallic paper business card, such as our pearlescent paper.
Which is the most durable?
Business cards produced with the foiling method are the more durable between the two metallic printing methods. This is due to the material foil stamping uses compared to metallic ink.
As per their namesake, metallic inks are made of metal, and anything made of metal reacts to the environment around it. In the case of metallic ink, the metal particles react to the air causing the ink to crack over time. To prevent this, a varnish can be applied over the top, but this does tend to dull the shine of the inks.
Which has the largest colour range?
As the inks used for metallic business cards contain actual metal, the colour range that can be achieved when they are used extends beyond the CMYK colour scale. Metal inks can be mixed with coloured toner, on the same print press, to create a wide variety of different colours. The colour finish often varies between prints due to the nature of the ink, with some colours appearing shinier than others.
Foil printing on the other hand is limited in the colours that can be produced as the foil sheets are specific colours that cannot be altered. However, compared to the metallic ink business cards, the colours that foil can produce are much more consistent and vibrant and do not require multiple layers.
Which is the most cost-effective?
Having metallic print on business cards is the most cost-effective as the entire metallic print can be run on the same press. The ink is run alongside the coloured toner to produce metallic print business cards quickly.
Metallic foil requires a separate machine to heat and roll the foil onto the paper. This increases the cost and time required for the foiling process. But we assure you, it’s worth every penny more to have a mirror finish shine rather than a speckled glow.
Our hot foil business cards
We may be biased in thinking that our metallic business cards that use hot foil are far superior compared to metallic ink business cards. Not only are they more reflective and eye-catching, but we also have the widest range of foil colours available compared to all other printers, including gold, holographic, and rose gold. Want to see any of our foil colours in person? We have a foil sample pack available that includes each of our different foils as well as a range of our paper types and laminations.