Blog post

How it’s Made: The Story of Business Card Production

September 10, 2019

This week, we opened the doors to our design and print studio to give you an insider’s look at the timeless art of bespoke stationery printing.

Here we follow the production of our client’s business cards from start to finish. From briefing and design, to foiling and gilt edging – we provide a glimpse into the backstory, the artistry and the process behind creating bespoke stationery.

The Brief

Our client, consultant Natalie Jade, was looking to print business cards that portrayed her minimalist style. Opting for a simple and clean design, she wanted the paper and ink to truly elevate the artwork and provide an air of sophistication and quality.

Stage 1: Design Consultation

We start each new project with a design consultation to fully understand our clients’ requirements so that we can create the exquisite printing they desire.

Natalie met with our in-house design team who have years of combined experience and extensive knowledge of print. Whilst she originally considered engraving the cards, we noticed the fine line artwork combined with a thicker solid line in her logo and advised foiling may be more suitable and would still allow for a luxury look.

With thousands of colour, paper and print combinations, our team simplified the design process and guided her towards Gesso Fedrigoni Tintoretto, an elegant white card stock with a beautifully textured finish. Lastly, she decided upon a foiled copper edge to add a subtle yet striking shine.

In this instance, the client provided print-ready artwork, our in-house graphic design team is always on hand to create custom artwork for clients and we regularly collaborate with external designers.

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Stage 2: Lithographic Printing

With the brief and specifications in place, the project is sent to the litho printer. Here we print the delicate details on the back of the card.

Lithography, also known as flat printing, is a technique well suited for larger quantity runs such as this. Our machines use oil-based inks and three cylinders: a plate cylinder, blanket cylinder and impression cylinder. The artwork is photographically applied to the plates then paper is run through the machine to create the flat yet incredibly crisp text on the back of the cards.

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Stage 3: Foiling

The paper is now ready for foiling and duplexing. First, our skilled craftsmen create a custom foil die of the logo and mount it on the press.

Next, a thin polyester film carrying a foil transfer is fed into the press and the foiling die is pressed against the paper to trap the film. A combination of heat and pressure are used to release the foil from the film carrier, transferring it to the paper. This process results in a striking black finish and clearly captures the delicate lines of the logo.

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Stage 4: Duplexing

For this project, the paper is duplexed to add thickness and create a high quality feel. Using a special glue, we duplex together two sheets of 350gsm white Gesso Fedrigoni Tintoretto to create a total of 700gsm.

It is also possible to duplex different coloured papers together to add interest and diversity to printing – this is something we do frequently for our clients. The glue dries for several hours to secure the paper bond.

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Stage 5: Gilt Edging

The paper is cut down to size and it is time to add the perfect finishing touch – a brilliant metallic copper gilt edge. This specialised art of gilt edging can be done in any color, including metallic and foil, with the foiled edge being applied by hand.

To achieve this effect, the cards are evenly stacked on a padding press and pressure is applied using a vice. A wall of the padding press is removed to expose one side of the cards and the foil is applied to the surface using a specialised secret skill set. This occurs on each edge side of the cards to produce a bold and beautiful metallic edge.

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The reveal

The result is a brilliant set of handcrafted business cards that are completely unique to the beholder. The cards are classic and considered, understated yet striking and truly showcase the client’s brand in the best light.

Bespoke stationery printing is an art form and behind each project there is artistry, mastery and the utmost level of care to ensure our clients receive exceptional quality print.

Every bespoke job starts with a conversation, please get in touch to discuss yours

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