What is the paper size of the business card

A little paper science: which cardboard is ideal for business cards?

Which paper suits me? Or rather: to our company? When it comes to business cards, it's especially worth asking yourself this question. Because in terms of price, a high-quality, well-chosen cardboard box is hardly significant, but it is even more important in terms of effect.


First of all: There is no unequivocal answer to the question in the headline - the perfect business card box for all cases and the only real fabric for a dress or a suit does not exist. Depending on the design, the desired character and the available budget, the ideal box must be selected individually. It's not that easy for laypeople - especially when the printing company is just throwing technical terms around: Coated or uncoated? Matte or glossy? Satin or structured? Art print or picture print? How are you supposed to know all this when you may not even have samples in hand?

A little basic knowledge of the most common paper categories (which also apply to cardboard boxes) helps you get to the box you want faster:

Coated paper

Coated paper is coated with a coating paste (the "line", hence the name) made of chalk, kaolin, casein or plastic. In this way, the unevenness is practically leveled, the paper becomes smoother and - depending on the number of lines and further processing - more or less shiny. This then results in the sub-categories "matt coated", "semi-matt or semi-matt coated" and "glossy coated". Most magazines and brochures are printed on coated paper.

If you look at the paper under a magnifying glass, it actually looks like a wall painted with white paint. The "raw plaster" is smoothed by the paint:

Coated papers are recommended for business cards if photos, fine color gradients or particularly intense colors are to be reproduced. For optimal quality and protection, finishing with dispersion varnish is advisable, but the cards can then only be labeled by hand to a limited extent.

  • Advantages:
    • high color brilliance, as most of the color remains directly on the surface of the paper
    • fast drying of offset printing inks (glossy papers)
  • Disadvantage:
    • Relatively small volume and low stiffness (the glossier, the less stiff), therefore high grammages of 300 g / m2 or more are recommended for business cards.
    • mostly lower whiteness than uncoated papers
    • poor readability (with high-gloss varieties)
    • without paint, scuff marks will quickly become visible
  • Common names:
    • Art paper
    • Art paper (for the higher quality types)
  • Coated business card boxes in the prinux standard range
    • Claro Bulk 300g / m2
    • Heaven 42 300g / m2
    • Heaven 42 400g / m2
    • Invercote 350 g / m2

Uncoated paper

Uncoated paper is - you guessed it - not coated and therefore has a rough surface on which the individual fibers can still be seen on closer inspection. Plain copy paper or on the inside of a paperback are typically uncoated.

In the enlargement you can see the natural, rough structure of this paper:

Uncoated papers are currently very much in vogue, they go well with high-contrast logos in retro design and, with their natural surface, form an attractive contrast to the smooth world of smartphones and tablets. Bright white varieties go very well with technical companies, while cream-colored varieties convey a pleasant retro touch.

  • Advantages:
    • Relatively high volume and high rigidity, therefore suitable for business cards from 240 g / m2
    • pleasant feel
    • discreet matt print image
    • Varieties with a very high degree of whiteness available
  • Disadvantage:
    • low color brilliance in classic offset printing, as the color penetrates deeper into the paper. However, this problem hardly plays a role in digital offset printing.
    • Slightly gray-looking black in offset printing - but that is also not an issue in digital offset printing
    • long drying time in offset printing
  • Common names:
  • Uncoated business card boxes in the prinux standard range:
    • Arcoprint 350g / m2 (bright white)
    • Envirotop 250g / m2 (recycled paper, warm-light gray)

Satin paper

Satinised paper is uncoated, but still relatively smooth: it is mechanically smoothed during manufacture by rolling, but not coated. It combines some of the advantages of uncoated papers with a smoother surface and thus better printability.

In the enlargement you can see the finer surface compared to the unsatinized, uncoated papers:

You can rarely go wrong with business cards with satined cardboard - no wonder that they are among prinux's bestsellers.

  • Advantages:
    • Medium volume with medium stiffness, for business cards types with at least 300 g / m2 should be used
    • Varieties with a very high degree of whiteness available
  • Disadvantage:
    • only medium color brilliance in offset printing
  • Common names (classic, but less common today because there are so many new papers on the market):
    • Diplomatic cardboard
    • Opal cardboard
  • Satin-finished business card boxes in the prinux standard range:
    • Splendorgel 300g / m2,
    • Splendorgel 340g / m2 (neutral white)

Textured paper

For special haptic and optical effects, there are types of cardboard with structured surfaces. For this purpose, a full-surface pattern is embossed into the paper during production - for example a felt-like texture:

Structured cardboard boxes are often used for private cards, but also for equipping notaries, law firms or tax advisory firms. Incidentally, they can be printed better than ever in digital offset printing.

  • Advantages:
    • Extraordinary, noble appearance
    • interesting feel
  • Disadvantage:
    • only medium color brilliance in offset printing
  • Common names (examples):
    • Linen cardboard
    • Ribbed cardboard
  • Structured business card boxes in the prinux range:
    • Via linen 270g / m2 (linen-like)
    • Tintoretto 250g / m2 (like watercolor paper)
    • Corolla Pentagram 300g / m2 (ribbed)
    • Old Mill 300g / m2 (light, very subtle felt structure)

Here you can see printed business cards on structured paper in direct comparison:

As already mentioned: The images in this blog post are extremely enlarged to make the differences between the paper categories clear. These photos say little about the overall impression that a business card makes on the various types of paper. You can find more detailed information in the article “Structured paper - quality that you can see and feel”.

It is best to keep the pattern in hand. You can request such a sample set here free of charge.