Creating the perfect artwork for your plastic cards

Gone are the days when plastic cards were restricted for use as credit or debit cards, today they are used for countless items as loyalty cards, gift or membership cards, photo ID cards or even business cards. Whether you’re visiting a concert, getting into the office or paying for a coffee at your local shop then more than likely you’ve got a card to do these things.

Regardless of how you intend to use your plastic cards, the design is a key part of the process. How it looks can make all the difference. This is where we’re here to help.

At Swype, we pride ourselves on our expertise and knowledge so we’ve put together some guidelines on how you can create the perfect artwork for your cards to represent your company in the best light.

Make your artwork bleed

You should always extend or ‘bleed’ the background elements and images beyond the edges of the document by an additional 6mm (3mm on all 4 sides). Therefore, artwork for a standard credit card size card of 86mm x 54mm will need to be supplied as 92mm x 60mm. This prevents unwanted white borders around the edges of your cards once the cards are cut to size.

Be careful with placement

It is always advised that you avoid placing important elements such as text or logos within 5mm of the edge of your artwork. For this reason, we would advise not to create borders on your design as any slight movement during the punching process, where sheets of cards are cut down to individuals, can make the design look ‘printed off centre’.

Matching colours

Colours are to be set to CMYK, this will ensure you get the best finish on the final product. If you’re trying to match a specific colour or not sure where to start, then we have a talented in-house design studio on hand to provide guidance for the best CMYK values to use to achieve this colour.

Use high quality images

We see thousands of different styles of artwork each month, some with images, some without. One of the most crucial tips to bear in mind is ALWAYS use high resolution images. These are normally 300dpi.

Generally, if you’re using images downloaded online from Google Images then be aware that they tend to be low quality and will dramatically affect the quality of your cards. There are dozens of online tools where you can purchase images that are high quality so do look around to see what works best for you.

Other important factors to remember:

• Please outline all fonts within your artwork
• Flatten any layers or transparencies
• No cutting guides, signature panels or magnetic stripes on print ready artwork
• Images should be embedded. If you’re unable to embed them, please supply copies of your images.

Looking to get started with your plastic card order?

We understand that our customers and partners have the day job to do. Not everybody is a card expert. That’s why customers have chosen us for nearly three decades to help guide them through the plastic card journey.

From expert support from enquiry to order, we’re here to help every step of the way. Plus, with a highly experienced design studio on hand to deal with any technical queries then nothing is too much trouble.

We’ll also provide you with a digital PDF proof of your plastic card or key fob to sign off. This representation of your final card, giving you the opportunity to see exactly what they will look like before you give us the approval to print.

If you’re looking to get started with finding out what plastic card product you need then check out our full product range here and get in touch on 01744 815 475 to discuss further.

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