Make Your Printing Interactive with QR Codes

OR Code

Although using QR codes is relatively new in the U.S., they’ve been used extensively in Japan for more than ten years. Innovative companies have already started using QR codes in their marketing campaigns, with great success. If your customers aren’t already asking about them – they soon will be. QR codes are intriguing and cutting-edge, and they really turn printed material into an interactive opportunity.

So what’s the deal?

QR codes are similar to barcodes, in that they hold and share information. However, QR codes can contain much, much more data. Because a QR code is a two-dimensional matrix (instead of a linear code), it can hold thousands of characters — which means the amount of information a QR code can share is virtually limitless.

Users can read QR codes via a simple app on their Smartphone. Reading a code can send the user to a company website, online video or landing page. It can instantly add business contact or calendar information to the user’s phone. It can also provide special offer or coupon content, opt the user into an email campaign, or even “like” the company on Facebook. And this is only the beginning.

Where might you use a QR code?

Any printed material that you want to make interactive, including:

• Business cards
• Club cards
• Rack cards
• Postcards
• Posters

How do you add a QR code to your print order?

  1. Use one of the many free online QR code generators
  2. Download your QR code image.
  3. Size the QR code appropriately in your layout, keeping in mind the distance to the user as well as other design concerns.
  4. Then simply include your QR code image on your Short Run Printing print-ready file.

We’ll have more tips for integrating QR Codes into various design pieces in a future blog post this month. In the meantime, tell us your experience. Have you scanned any QR codes yourself? Are you using them in your business? Let us know in the comments below.


Plastic Business Cards: A Stand-Out Solution For Many

Plastic Business Cards

Highly durable, memorable and conveying an air of prestige, plastic business cards are rising in popularity among many businesses. They also offer a number of design qualities you just can’t get from paper — namely, transparency, rigidity and weight.

Short Run Printing’s plastic cards with our state-of-the-art foil printing. You can choose a plastic stock that’s completely clear, with no background color at all. Now imagine what you could do with your design for a truly transparent business card — create try-on sunglasses for an optical shop, for example, or a frame for an art supply store.

Short Run Printing also prints semi-transparent business cards on blue, green, red or smoky grey plastic, for different eWe can even round off or angle the corners, or die-cut the plastic to be a pillar, square or small rectangle. You could make a business card look like a credit card, ID badge, backstage pass, gift card… the possibilities are really exciting.

Plastic business cards may be best suited for customers whose businesses are on the creative or non-traditional side (design studios, hair salons, fitness services, landscapers, etc.), as well as those for whom the durability of plastic aligns with their brand (for example, construction or engineering firms). Here at Short Run Printing we’ve also seen them used for nightclub and event promotion to great effect.

Key Benefits of Plastic Business Cards

  • Coupled with high-impact design, the unique nature of a plastic business card creates pass-along value and memorability.
  • Because they are less prone to wear and tear than paper, plastic business cards may also be kept around longer.

A Few Caveats to Keep in Mind

  • Printing is limited to foil (up to 2 foil colors max).
  • To ensure readability, make sure you have plenty of contrast between the foil color and the plastic stock, and avoid small, light-colored type.
  • Plastic business cards can’t be written on.

Need ideas for plastic business cards?

Check out our online plastic business cards gallery.

Have an idea for a plastic business card design?

Request a quote for your next plastic business card project and we’ll help you put together the exact specs and cost to make your idea a reality.

Share your thoughts below or email us at Service@ShortRunPrinting.US

. One of our plastic business card experts will be happy to help you with your printing needs.


Design Tips for Blind Embossed Business Cards

Blind Embossing

What is Embossing?

Embossing is a classic printing process, in which a 3-D image or design is impressed into paper or card stock. The image is created by squeezing the paper medium between two specially carved plates (known as dies) and applying heat.

Different types of dies can have different effects, depending on how we handle the edges and surfaces. For example, the edges of the embossed image can be sharp and well-defined, or they can be rounded or even beveled. Curious about how this works? Ask us!

Embossing is a separate step after printing. Short Run Printing can emboss on any of 25 different stocks, so your options are quite extensive. We do suggest light-colored stocks to best showcase embossing. (Our personal favorite is White Glaskote.)

So now that you know the basics, what is blind embossing?

Put simply, blind embossing is any embossing where the resulting raised image is the same color as the paper — not stamped over a printed image or foil. You see it often in sophisticated business cards and letterhead. It’s subtle and always classy, but you can also create unexpected effects.

Here are a few tips for incorporating blind embossing into your business card designs:

  • Blind Embossed Business Card
  • Blind embossing tends to make type and images look as if they’ve shrunk, even though the added dimensionality makes them stand out. For this reason, make any type that you wish to emboss a few points larger than usual. And make any graphics slightly “fatter” than normal.
  • For greater clarity, rules or lines should be at least 2 points thick, and small serif fonts should be avoided.
  • Heavier paper stocks will produce greater depth and detail.
  • Not sure what to emboss? We suggest company logos, lines, borders and bold text for the most impact. But don’t be afraid to emboss different elements of your design — our design gallery has some good idea-starters.

Business Card Design Tips: Raised Ink Thermography QR Codes

Thermographed QR Code

Raised Ink Thermography QR Code Business CardRaised ink printing (aka thermography) adds visible gloss and texture to business cards. The change in texture creates some great creative design opportunities you can use to make your customers’ QR code stand out.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Use a QR code generator that can incorporate a logo or other unique artwork within the code matrix. To highlight the logo/graphic, use raised ink only on that element. Just remember to have enough contrast — the thermographic element would need to be black or your darkest corporate color, with the rest of the code printed in grey or a subtly lighter version of the corporate color.
  • We’ve also seen designers create a sort of container for the QR code using raised ink. One way to do this is to print the back of the business card using raised ink, full bleed, in a corporate color. Then place the QR code in a window of white space where it can’t be missed.
  • A more playful way to do the “container” idea would be to use a raised ink design to frame the QR code. For example, you could use a graphic representing a smart phone, mobile device, office building, or even a speech balloon. The creative possibilities are endless!
  • Keep in mind that Short Run Printing can combine thermography with a variety of paper stocks — including linen, laid, and colored stocks — and various finishes. Just make sure you remember the contrast rule so your QR code can be easily scanned. And it’s always a good idea to test the QR code prior to submitting your order.

The design world has only scratched the surface of working with QR codes. And right now, Short Run Printing is the only printing company to offer raised ink thermography printing for QR codes. Let’s put our heads together on some groundbreaking designs! Share your thoughts or questions on thermography and QR codes in the comments below.

Make an Impression with Plastic Business Cards

Plastic Business CardsPlastic business cards are known to be proven tools for advertising the services of a business in an efficient and effective manner. They are used for the rapid and customer friendly way of exchanging information. These cards are just the regular business cards but with a better and more professional appeal. Their plastic nature gives them a high end shine alongside providing durability which makes them very long lasting. The pocket sized plastic business cards can instantly polish the business image and have your clients impressed in no time!

How exactly can one utilize the plastic business cards to their best? The answer lies deep within the designing process. They say that the first impression is the last impression. Therefore, in order to make the best impression, the plastic card designing process needs to be given its due attention. A remarkable design will never fail to grab attention and can reflect the business standard in an instant.

When designing the plastic business cards, there are a few essential things to keep in mind. Remember that the card must not miss any of the vital elements. These include the business logo, contact information, business website and the business message. If you have other things to add, they can go the back side of the card in full color printing. Therefore choose one side or double sided printing according to your needs.

Plan a rough layout of how you want the business card to look. Draw where you would like the elements to be printed on the card. Once you have a design in front of you, you can then find a reliable plastic card printing company. Do a bit of research online to find the company that can cater to all your printing needs. The quality of the services offered is very important along with the cost of the services.

Once you have a printing company at hand that you can afford, consider the design. Browse through the gallery of plastic business card templates to find the design that you require. Remember to use colors and a theme that looks consistent with the business message. You can create some really cool effects with the use of lithographic technology. Though slightly expensive, the money will always be worth it. Keep in mind not to go overboard with the design details. The idea is to provide professionalism through a professional looking yet minimalistic design.