In sports, it doesn’t matter how you start; it’s all about the finish. The score at the end of the game is all that matters.

The same can be said when it comes to your business card: It’s all about the finish. Using the most appropriate finish can turn your business card into more than just a 3.5- x 2-inch piece of paper. It can turn that business card into an effective marketing tool that extends your brand and enhances your message.

Business card basics

A business card is a powerful physical reminder of you and your business. Despite the ever-increasing use of technology in our world, the business card remains a staple of face-to-face business interactions. And a well-designed and printed business card makes an important statement about you and your business.

Meredith Fineman, founder of FinePoint Digital PR, elaborates in Entrepreneur:

“A card is a physical reminder of you—your business, personality and value. If it’s memorable, playful or visually appealing, that is a nod in your favor. Everyone meets a lot of people, and it’s important to be remembered.”

For decades, business cards were simply black type on white card stock, but in today’s business environment, your business card is a brand enhancer, an extension of you and your business. Choosing the right finish on your business card can help make you memorable.

Which finish is the right one?

Finishes are exactly what the name implies: a coating that goes on your card after it’s printed. Finishes are an effective tool to give your business card a little extra oomph, making it hard to forget both you and your company.

Finishes not only offer protection but also create an image of quality—and the quality of your business card matters. According to marketing website Smart Insights, people will “judge you by the quality of business cards you give out. They will conclude that your products and services will not be any different if you give out poor quality business cards.”

Avoid those harsh judgments and lost profits by using a finish to create a high-quality, memorable card. Choose from these four finishes:

  1. Aqueous coating – An aqueous coating is a high-gloss water-based coating that provides protection against scuffs and improves the card’s durability. The coating’s impressive sheen gives your card a high-quality look without breaking the bank.
  2. UV coating – A UV coating is a great spot finish, but it can also be used on your entire card. The coating is hardened by the use of UV light, and it can make certain elements of your business card stand out. The UV coating offers the highest gloss finish you can find, so apply it to your logo or your company name to draw the eye and create a lasting impression.
  3. Varnish – Varnish is a less expensive way to create an impressive business card without a lot of added cost. Varnish protects against fingerprints and provides a sheen to your card. It can be applied to the whole card or just to a specific area. Varnish also gives you the option of a matte, satin or high-gloss finish.
  4. Soft Touch coating – If you’re aiming for luxury, choose Soft Touch. This low-sheen coating creates a velvety feel and texture to your business card, giving the impression of high quality and elegance, which will have your prospective clients giving your card another look.

Choose wisely

While finishes can add a little something extra to your business card, be careful to choose a finish that enhances your brand. Don’t use a finish as a gimmick. It needs to serve a purpose on your business card and help people to remember who you are.

Alyssa Gregory at The Balance Small Business offers this advice:

“If such a creative touch is not relevant to your brand, your business card might be remembered for the wrong reasons.”

Work with your designer or printing company to pull together just the right mix of creativity and elegance for your business card. Check out our advice for a great business card in my blog post about The Power of the Business Card.

No matter what finish you choose for your business card, remember that good card design and high-quality printing are valuable tools for helping you close the deal and win the business card game.

Dan Woehrman is owner of Callender Printing, offering full-service printing capabilities – including letterpress, offset and digital – with union craftsmen quality. As finishing experts, the company can help you navigate the available choices so you can pick the best finish for your piece. Share your thoughts on Facebook or on Twitter @CallenderPrint.