Stock & Printing Techniques / fancy

j_polo9's picture

Hey I am looking for some cool ideas for business cards and letterhead stock and some cool printing techniques to make some fancy cards. I know there was a thread lying around that was talking about new techniques (anyone got the link?)

Personally I like really smooth matte cards that feel like nice book covers, thick gsm stock (though maybe not for this particular card) UV Printing, Die cuts for rounded corners...

For this project (oh its for Dolce Vita Day Spa :P) I am thinking a card like Nordstroms or something, It will need some metalic for the logo, but the rest is up in the air. Hopefully I can get the clients to spend and get some really nice cards. So let me know any techniques you think may be cool for this one.

Also the clients were wondering about stock that looks sort of like a cracked marble surface or something for the letterheads and maybe business cards. Any ideas?


Rodrigue Planck's picture

A nice blind emboss or well placed foil can be great.

To me, the customer screams more when they really want less. Your job is to really sell a good solid design that will be cost effective for them over time. The more elaborate ideas you described that they want will get pretty expensive and they would be tied to the printer/paper manufacturer. Good design will make you more money, while allowing the customer flexibility in producing good design. I am not saying to skimp on quality printing or paper.

Oh heck, make the typophiles happy and have the customer spend money on fonts that will really differentiate them from the competition.

The Truth shall set you free

Linda Cunningham's picture

Either you have a fairly serious paper swatch collection or you deal with a print shop that does, that's the best place to start -- look for what they think they want, and design around it.

Of course, you should also look for what they need in a paper, and design for it. Present both, and the rationale, and then move on.

ben_archer's picture

Hey Jesse

The thread you mention is at

As for stock that looks sort of like a cracked marble surface or something you may get better results by photographing and printing such a surface rather than relying on a paper or card stock to imitate it. I used to do paint effects like marbling and wood graining, and you can get a lot more control over the end result that way.

aluminum's picture

years ago, we did this logo on a business card for the client:

We embossed the 'J' globe. Nothing fancy, but apparently it was a huge hit, with lots of 'oohs' and 'ahs' when they handed it out.

I also have a bit of a crush on the cheesy thermo-printed fake-embossing that you can get at places like Kinkos. It's that rubber raised ink. I always wanted to do a card that had a heavy amount of that ink on the front.

I also agree with Rodrigue. In this day of 4-color double-sided glossy business cards for $100 per 10000, what stands out moreso is typically 'less'. Often, just using a sturdy, quality card stock is enough to invoke a good impression on someone.

KenBessie's picture

the clients were wondering about stock that looks sort of like a cracked marble surface

My absolute fave marble paper is Zanders' Elephanthide. It's a German paper, it comes in a good range of colors, is made in text and cover weights and prints real nice. However, it is no longer available in Canada. It might still be available in the U.S.

j_polo9's picture

ahh I didn't mean I wanted to use all of those effects, just that those are some tat I like. Probably like art nouveau - a little goes a long way.

I have very little, as in none, in the the paper swatch department. I plan on stopping by a few paper suppliers later today to see what they have. But I am not very versed in paper stocks. I will have to look into the ZANDERS Elefantenhaut.

aluminum, what do you consider a sturdy, quality card stock?

Ben, thanks for the link. How did you achieve the paint effects?

j_polo9's picture

hmm i can't seem to find any examples of elefantenhaut around here. Anyone have any examples?

KenBessie's picture

Yeah, that Elephanthide is damned elusive now. It, and other Zander papers, used to be readily available in North America. It was distributed by Unisource. I tried to get some last year, to use as a flysheet, and was told it was not longer available in Canada. My paper rep thought there might be some in the States but we never pursued it. I ended up going with a Reich Paper product called 'Shine'. Shine isn't marble. But it's pretty. (Reich Paper also makes a translucent.)

aluminum's picture

"aluminum, what do you consider a sturdy, quality card stock?"

Anything better than Kinkos. ;0) Typically, a heavy-pound cover weight in bright white (if using white cards, of course).

Gmund also has some fabulous papers:

Don McCahill's picture

> Yeah, that Elephanthide is damned elusive now

Well, the Elephants were complaining.


KenBessie's picture

Well, the Elephants were complaining.

Then they need a good hiding! :-)

Linda Cunningham's picture

Gee, I thought it was all the competition from the ever-elusive naughas.... :-)

ben_archer's picture

How did you achieve the paint effects?

Traditionally these techniques involve underpainting in a base colour and then applying successive washes or glazes of broken colour over the top. Different tools (rags, sponges, feathers, specialist brushes) are used to break or figure the colour according to what kind of texture is to be achieved. Further layers of coloured glazes and varnishes add tinted but translucent depth to the finish. It was a pretty labour intensive traditional craft, that had a revival during the 80s and early 90s, but these days it can be successfully mimicked in PhotoShop if one has the time and patience.

To my lasting regret I once left behind a quantity of embossed and coloured 'antelope hide' paper in a house move. I think it came from a bookbinders suppliers.

j_polo9's picture

Hey I found the Zanders Elefantenhaut at I ordered free samples of 20 different zanders papers. We'll see how long it takes to get here though.

Linda, what is naughas?

Thanks Ben. Do you have any examples left?

j_polo9's picture

gmund is awesome. Too bad you can only order 10 samples :(

Linda Cunningham's picture

"Naughas" were/are the mythical animals that yielded "Naughahyde" -- a well-known/proprietary name of vinyl fabric that looked like leather and was used excessively in the 1960s to cover, among other things, reclining chairs.

The "pleather" of its day, if you will....

KenBessie's picture

Linda: The story I heard was that the vicious Naughs (not Naughas, but it might be a language thing) roamed wild on the wooly Pampas. Once a year the heroic gauchos, at great danger to themselves, would round up the evil wild Naughs. The male Naughs are killed and skinned to make Naughahyde. The female Naughs (just as vicious as their mates) are made into Egg Nog.

But I could be wrong.

j_polo9's picture


Linda Cunningham's picture

Ken: in English, it's "Naugh" but in Spanish, it's "Naugha"

And it was my understanding that the female naughas were rounded up and milked to give Egg Nog: maybe they were tranquillized too?

fallenartist's picture


Check Novum's print finishing webpage and links, for example beautiful embossings by Bölling (check "technik" and "galerie" sections).


j_polo9's picture

Wow the samples from Gmund are amaizing. I just got the ones availalbe in the U.S. but the sample books themselves are made extremely well with really cool paper and shows a bunch of techniques on the paper. Can't wait for the other samples to get to me that weren't in the US :P

I've ordered sample books from Mohawk, FoxRiver, French Paper, Zanders/M-Real. Should i look at anyone else? Preferrably more like gmund than the run of the mill paper.

all about seb's picture


i recently produced some cards using Arjo Wiggins' excellent Curious Touch collection (Milk) + spot gloss on the logo - they turned out absolutely gorgeous. This was done in Sweden, but the paper should be available in Canada/US too. More info at:

ben_archer's picture

Sorry Jesse

No remaining paint effect samples within easy reach (I think they're buried at the back of the garage). Pleased to hear you got the cool samples from the suppliers. There is an Italian paper manufacturer called Federigoni who do some rather lovely (and expensive) stocks, but they may be licensed and distributed in the USA by another organisation. Your brief is for a brand with an Italian name right?

gfmueden's picture

How is the card to used? By whom and given to whom for what purpose?
What impression is it to make? Admiraation for the designer or to create interest in the client? To make contact easy? ===gm===

j_polo9's picture

Sweet, I emailed curious and Fedrigoni to get some samples thanks!

gfmueden, The card is to be used for all business purposes, given to clients and potential clients, spark interest and draw attention to the new day spa, and show off it's extravagance.

ndmike's picture

It probably wouldn't be appropriate for the spa client, but Steve Wozniak's high-tech, die-cut metal business card certainly turns heads.

j_polo9's picture

404 error. Got another link?

ndmike's picture

Oops. Sorry 'bout that. There's also this place.

j_polo9's picture

cool thanks!

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