Rack card printing products are seen in tourist centers, airports, hotels, restaurants, and other places where visitors look for activity ideas. Rack cards give customers a chance to preview the service you provide, whether you’re advertising for a day spa or a walking tour of the city. Since you are competing with many other businesses that print rack cards, it is important to come up with an effective, attention-grabbing advertisement. In this guide you will learn all about printing and design for this project. After reading, you will be able to create and print rack cards with ease. Visit our custom printing services page for recommended companies, and check out our online printing services section for more information on the basics of online printing.
- Rack Card Printing and Design
- Rack Card Design
- Rack Card Design – Tips
- Rack Card Printing – Size & Color
- Rack Card Printing – Images & Information
- Rack Card Printing – Paper & Finishes
- Custom Rack Cards – Ideas
Rack cards are a golden opportunity to attract more business for your company. Imagine how many individuals travel through hotels, hostels, airports, and tourist centers every year. That foot traffic means high exposure for your services or products, which is why it makes sense to invest time and money in the design process.
There are many resources available to design and print rack cards. You can hire a graphic designer, or you may take advantage of the design departments that online printing companies have to offer. These designers can take care of every detail of your print order, but if you want to be more involved in the creative process, think about using templates. Rack card templates provide you with a basic layout that you can style as you wish. You save time since the layout has already been constructed and you may save money too since the template is provided by the online printing company. Look on each website to see what templates are offered, and remember that templates vary by size, which may affect your final design.
If you want to be the designer of your rack cards, make the most of “build your own” tools that online printing services provide. You decide everything from the image placement to the font style. Websites often present the process as a series of steps and your creation comes to life as you add each design element. This option gives you more control over your order and it’s easier to change details since you preview the design at each step.
Grab Their Attention
With a rack card, you have less than five seconds to attract a client. That is how long it takes a person to scan the row of a display rack. Your rack card must leap out at the person trying to decide which cards to pick up. Given this small window, your rack card design is just as important as the information that you include. Choose a font-color combination that pops out, even when put up against other full color rack cards. But, don’t sacrifice style for shock appeal; a well-paired color scheme will do better than bright colors that have been selected individually. Text can also be eye-catching. Advertise discounts, promotions, or free trials in the headline of your layout. If your business has won any awards or has been recommended by a newspaper or magazine, make that information easy to see. The goal is to intrigue the individual enough to pick out your card from the rest.
Use Images Wisely
Images pass on to your clients a sense of your business, its goals, and its values. Through pictures and graphics, a person gets a feel for your business. For example, images of adults and children together make people think of a family or kid-friendly activity. Pictures of couples evoke a romantic environment. Well-placed images can work to your advantage, but make sure that they complement your text and color scheme. Too many images or graphics with many colors can take away from your overall design, therefore making it harder to select your rack card from a big group. When in doubt, keep the headline and top part of the card bright but simple, since this section will be visible on the display rack. You can include more images on the bottom half or back side of the rack card. Experiment with the layout of images and test how well they integrate with other elements of the card. Request a hard copy proof as well, since colors and images may look different once they have been printed.
More Volume, More Benefits
As with other print items, rack card printing products are cheaper if you order larger quantities. And there is little to lose if you order a large number when you print rack cards, since extras will not go to waste. Cards that don’t end up on a display rack can help you discover new areas of advertising. As promotional products, rack cards are not limited to hotel lobbies and tourist information centers! Put rack cards in mailings or on community bulletin boards. Talk to local vendors in your neighborhood about leaving rack cards on their store counters. High volume rack card printing saves money and gives you a chance to explore new marketing strategies.
Test It Out
Once you’ve finished the design, it’s time to do a trial run. Print out a draft and place it in a display rack with other rack cards. Look at it quickly, from a distance. Notice which elements grab your attention and which ones blend in with the surroundings. Run a small experiment with friends or co-workers by asking them to walk by the display rack and pick up any cards that attract them. If they don’t select your rack card, ask why. And of course, proofread. Look for any typos or grammatical errors that you may have missed in the initial stages. Use the feedback to fine tune the rack card printing and design. A little extra effort in the beginning will pay off in the end.
Standard Is Best
Rack card printing is about making a statement, but you’ve got a problem if that statement can’t fit into the rack. The most frequently used rack card measures 4 x 9 inches, and 3.5 x 8.5 is a common size as well. (Templates typically come in one of these two sizes.) To avoid disaster, find out what size is required for the specific display rack you will use. Online printing services can also create a custom rack card size, and this option may be right for you if you have a specific size in mind.
Four Color Printing
CMYK is the standard color mode used to print rack cards. Typically, websites refer to CMYK mode as four color printing. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), and this process works by subtracting color until the correct hue is attained. RGB (red, green, and blue) is the other mode that adds color to reach the preferred shade. Some design software utilizes RGB, in which case you will need to convert your design file from RGB to CMYK mode. Websites may be able to complete this step for you, so be sure to check. The conversion procedure can change the original colors, which is why it’s recommended to consult a printed proof to ensure that the tones are correct. Ask your printer for a hard copy proof before you finalize your rack card printing order. Or if possible, use CMYK from the beginning to avoid the hassle of conversion.
Send a Message with Pictures
As was mentioned, pictures on rack cards give potential clients a snapshot (literally) of the atmosphere of your business. Invest time to create a brand image and select images that convey your desired message. Rack cards almost always have photos of people enjoying the experience that the company has to offer. For fishing excursions, rack cards show people having fun on a boat; day spa rack cards include photos of women and men relaxing in a peaceful environment; hostel rack cards have photos of young people socializing. Pick images that convey the experience you want people to have with your business. Graphic design services can help you find images if you are having trouble on your own. Above all, the pictures should make people excited about your product or service. With the right mix of images and design details, people will snap up your rack card and read on for further information.
Resolution and Bleeds
If your design incorporates images, make sure that the resolution meets the minimum quality that the printing company requires. A typical minimum DPI (dots per inch) is 300; this standard of resolution ensures that your images stay sharp when they are printed. Business printing services provide DPI specifications on their websites and it’s wise to find out the minimum DPI before printing full color rack cards. Don’t be tempted to change a photo’s size to increase its DPI, for it won’t solve the problem; the image file itself must be altered. “Bleeds” are the extra millimeters around the edges of a printed product that ensure that no text or image is sliced off when the printer does the final cut. Leaving this extra room is standard for all printing jobs. A full bleed leaves no border around your rack card, and artwork and graphic elements extend to the absolute last edge of the paper. Full bleeds cost extra but are more attractive because backgrounds and images are not interrupted by a border. Lastly, take rack card size into account when deciding about bleeds, since the dimensions can change with the bleed selection.
The Two-Sided Option
The advantage of a two-sided rack card is clear: you can include more information and images. The disadvantage is the extra cost, but it may not be as big as you think. Double-sided rack cards are becoming a popular option for offset and digital printing, and as a result their price has gone down. Full color printing is regularly available for two-sided rack card printing. The back side may be the perfect place to include finer details about your business, since the main goal of the front side is to attract the customer. You can mention additional promotions and package deals on the back. Testimonials about your product or service can complement the front part of your card, especially if you chose to include many images on that side.
Strike a Balance
Remember that photos must blend well with the text you include. Unlike business cards or event tickets, rack card printing relies equally on images and textual information to make a good impression. Images and color schemes draw people to your full color rack cards, while information provides detail that the images can’t offer. Don’t rely too heavily on one element or the other when you print rack cards. Leave enough open space for your facts to read clearly. The information you provide should be a brief overview of your company and what it offers. Detail the basics and be sure to mention that individuals can contact you with any questions or consultations. Think of a rack card not as a full brochure, but as a teaser for your clientele. Short paragraphs and bullet points go together with top quality images, and this balance will go a long way.
Glossy, Matte, or Uncoated
There are three options for paper coating: uncoated, glossy, and matte. The first choice is self-explanatory and is the cheapest, most basic option. A glossy coating is the most common for rack card printing and it will leave your advertisement with a slick sheen that enhances the colors on the paper. Websites always offer glossy coating for rack cards and in some cases it is the only option. Matte is considered a more traditional coating and it is better suited for business cards or invitations to formal events. A matte finish still emphasizes the layout colors but the effect is more subdued. A glossy coating is ideal for marketing since the goal is to make the final product stand out. Most rack card printing services let you specify where you want the finish applied (both sides or just the front) and this will help you save money. For instance, if you only print on the front side, you only need to pay for the one side to be coated.
The paper weight should be thick enough for a rack card to stand up straight in a display rack. You risk your rack card folding over on itself if the paper is too thin, and that greatly damages how many clients you can attract. 12 or 14 point thickness is normal for rack card printing, though heavier paper is available if you want a sturdier product. Rack card printing services may preselect the paper weight or thickness because they know what paper types are most common. If you have any doubts about the paper to use for your rack card printing, contact the print company.
Rack cards can incorporate elements of other marketing ideas. Consider printing rack cards that double as discounts or promotions. Just like event tickets, your rack card can include a detachable stub that serves as a coupon for your business. Also, if there isn’t room on the front of your rack card, the back can be a great location for a discount or promotion.
Special offers should be visible and eye catching. Highlight words like “coupon” and “special discount” to catch people’s attention from the start. Ensure that people will pick up your rack card by stating that the discount is only valid if the advertisement is presented. If possible, offer discount lessons or special gifts that only come with the rack card. For your hotel, offer a complimentary drink at the bar. For a candy shop, advertise samples that you’ll be handing out at the door and print full color rack cards that include pictures of mouth-watering sweets.
Offer incentives for customers to spread the word about your business. Include group discounts or special fares if people bring a friend. For a future marketing campaign, use the back of your rack card to collect customer e-mail addresses or phone numbers. People can turn in these cards after they’ve visited your business and later, you can send them information about new products and services.
We hope this page has given you some good ideas for rack card printing, design, and marketing.