Four Color Business Cards
The standard four-color printing process for business cards involves the use of the primary ink colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and black in order to create any color. This process is also known as the CMYK Color Process, referring to the four ink colors including K (key) for black. In addition to cyan, magenta, and yellow, black ink is important for a number of reasons:
- When the colors are separated, an outline marks solid or tint color areas. This outline is often called the keyline or the key plate.
- Text is often printed in black ink, and fine detailing is more precise in black ink versus a mixing of the other three colors of ink.
- Mixing cyan, magenta, and yellow inks tends to soak into the paper and slow down the drying process. This also causes what printers call bleed, when lines are not distinct and colors bleed away from the desired print area.
- Mixing cyan, magenta, and yellow inks produces a dark brown color rather than a sharp black color.
- Using black ink is more cost effective than using colored ink.
The actual printing process involves separate printing plates for each of the four colors. The inks are applied one by one to four different rollers, and the card stock is then fed through the printing press, which applies the colors one by one.
If you are using a commercial printer to create your business card design, the four-color printing process is used by default. However, if you are designing your own business cards using a software program such as Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word, Corel Photo-Paint, etc., ensure you are selecting CMYK color options versus RGB.
Using the standard four-color process for your business cards is one of the most traditional and cost effective methods with flexibility in design. Standard refers to a traditional 2.5 x 3 inch size, all colors, and basic text and graphic elements used by most large businesses. Because this process is the most common, it is less expensive for commercial printers to provide to customers. The standard four-color process uses high-quality 12pt+ weight card stock and produces dramatic and distinct colors for text and images. These effects are generally all you need to impress a potential customer and increases reader retention of the information you provide.
Depending on the nature of your business, the standard four-color process may not be as creative or effective as some other business card types. For traditional or large businesses, they are perfect, but if you work in a creative, artsy environment, you may want to explore additional printing options that present some creative flair. The cost can increase if you need to have colors converted from RGB formatting to CMYK formatting, add special coatings, or need custom layout. There may be occurrences when some colors may not be precisely what you see on a computer monitor.
Consider the following design ideas to get started on the perfect business cards that will represent your business:
- Blogs. Visit business card blogs or search the Internet to pick up some great design ideas.
- Think Themes. Are there specific colors you like? What images represent your business? Start with one or the other and evolve from there.
- Design Your Own. See Designing A Business Card for design instructions on a varied suite of software applications.
- Hire a Graphic Designer. If you are not the creative type and you need a business card design that sells, you may want to hire an online graphic designer to do the setup work for you.
- Share Your Ideas. See what your friends, family, and co-workers think of your ideas. If you are still working on a name for your business, have them vote.
- Let Online Commercial Printers Do the Work. Select from thousands of business card templates that are usually complete with free images, hundreds of color schemes, and a host of interesting typefaces.
For additional design ideas:
Here’s The Deal
If you are a large business, on a tight budget, or give dozens of business cards out each week, the standard four-color process is for you. This process will impress you and your customers with a standard 2.5 x 3 inch firm 12pt+ weight business card in distinct and vibrant colors in any shades you need, with clearly printed images, and for a price that beats most of the competition. This process also offers the best turnaround time available. Design your business card with a ready-made design template and place your order with an online commercial printer.