Essential Design Guide For Plastic Cards

Artwork & database help -

Essential Design Guide For Plastic Cards

When you design your cards, you want to stand out from the crowd and make a big impression no matter your industry because your card promotes your company and what you stand for. 

An excellent plastic card must be easily identifiable among the other cards in a wallet or purse that your customers often use and show off to their friends and family. 

We are here to show you how to design a plastic card that stands out from the rest and leaves a statement no matter your industry and needs. 

At Easi-card, we want to create an environment where you can create high-quality, beautifully designed cards from the comfort of your home or office, listening to our specialists. 

Basic designed plastic cards

Basic Under armour card design

Even though every card and every business is different, some basic design principles should be followed when it comes to plastic cards of any type. 

Firstly, think about whether the card is easy to read. It sounds basic, but it can be very tempting to try and squeeze everything onto your card for your customer to know who you are and what you do. However, this makes it hard to read and overwhelming for your customer. 

Keep it simple!

Try and keep information to an essential minimum: think about what your audience needs to know, and give them that. 

Having a main web address on the card means they can quickly go and find out more if they want to. Contact details, in general, should be easy to find, although they don't have to be on the front: they could be on the back of a card, with the logo dominating the card.

Think carefully about colours and logos. 

Having lots of small text is hard to read, especially when text is filtered into the background; it looks shabby and unprofessional. Do not do it, please. 

The same goes for logos. They should generally be kept away from the margins of the card to keep the edges clean. They should be simple and printable: if your company has a complicated 3-D logo, then think about how it could be flattened to print on plastic. 

Have a logo that makes sense with what your company is promoting. Look at canva. They have a lot of design templates you can work with. Please remember to have your logo design saved as an SVG. Svgs provide an overall crispness versus png or jpg, preventing your card logo from being pixilated. 

Leave space between the logo and text so they don’t overlap.

Generally, you want a clean and understandable card to read by your customer. No clutter is needed, and a basic design is always perfect if you don't know where to start. 

Here are a few templates we have created for you to edit or get ideas for your business. 

Business card design

Business card design

Business cards are a practical and very effective form of marketing. They are one of the most affordable ways to promote your company professionally. 

A business card should give your customers and potential customers all the essential information they need about your business.


  • What do you do?
  • Where are you based?
  • How can they find more info on you?

Many people are given business cards, so you need to explain how yours will stand out from the others.

You must ensure that your logo is prominent so that people will associate with your marketing materials. You can also include some design elements to catch the eye. You could use one side of the card with artwork or a catchy slogan. What is appropriate depends on your industry.

Remember, simplicity is better. If you have a card that tells your customer what you do and who you are, that’s all you need. 

Membership & Loyalty card design

Membership card design

Membership cards give members of a club a sense of belonging to the club or organisation. Customers reap the rewards of being part of your system because they earn points or get discounts from being loyal customers. 

Membership cards are usually used to gain access to events or organisations. They pay to be a member of the club or society.

Whereas loyalty card members use the card for free, they shop at your store and are rewarded with points or discounts for using your brand. Perfect for retail stores.

Essential information like the card's contact details, logo, access point (barcode, QR code) and pictures can be printed on the card.

Clear branding is essential to alert customers of who you are and what you do. These are your most important marketing tools for those customers who want to show off to their friends and family who they use. 

Think about the colours and forms that will appeal to your members and target members.

You want to use your brand colours and texts but make a statement and stand out from the rest. You also want to make your brand pop. Look at the Engen cash back card above, they have done an excellent job of grabbing your attention, and you know exactly what it is about.

If you support Engen and purchase your petrol from Engen, you will receive discounts and rewards for using them. The colours pop and the simple design explains precisely what the card is for. That’s all you need. 

Gift card design

Gift card design

Gift cards are the most fun to design because you do not have to stick to a specific script. You can be as creative as you like.

Gift cards promote your business and what you do, but they are meant to be gifts, so you want them to look good and have fun. Ultimately, you want them to tell your friends about you because of how eye-catching your card is. 

Above Lush has created a stunning design. Immediately, you know exactly what it is that they do, and you want the product immediately.

You want to develop a sense of urgency for the client to come into your shop and purchase your items. Below, Cape Union Mart has also just put an image of the wilderness and a man standing in his hiking gear. You want to be like him, and you get a sense of what kind of products they sell at their store. 

Images are a great way to print well-designed cards because it creates a feeling and a need to come to your store and tell their friends and family about you if they like the card. 

Employee ID or access card designs

University ID card design

Employee ID cards are mainly used for internal purposes. However, clients can see them and judge you based on the card you wear, so they need to look professional.

Important details should be placed on the card:

  • Name & surname of the employee.
  • ID number of employee.
  • Staff photo. 
  • Position in corporate.
  • Company name & logo.
  • Company slogan. 
  • Companies' contact information or emergency info. 
  • Access information (barcode, QR code, magstripe or chip).

These cards inform the client or other employees of who you are and provide identification for security purposes. 

A basic design is necessary for this kind of card with the company colours fixed into the card's logo or unique design. No company images are required, and all the information must be placed neatly on the card for people to see visually. 

The same goes for a university card. The logo, photo ID and student information should be neatly presented on the front of the card. The company's contact or emergency information can be placed on the other side of the card. 

Basic printing artwork knowledge 

Student ID plastic card

Artwork can be created in any software program.

We mainly used Canva, Affinity or Adobe in design software. Artwork must be uploaded in a PDF (print-ready) format.

Canva is free, but you have to pay if you want the pro version (we recommend you do this as it will save you a lot of money).

Affinity Design is the best on the market. We find it the best way to design quality cards. Adobe Design is also a favourite but a bit more expensive, so your price range will depend on your choice. 

Some fundamental artwork notes

1. Make sure you design your card in the correct format (86mm X 54mm)

2. Make sure you convert your artwork to curves before you send your proof to us.

3. Please ensure that you convert your colours to CMYK instead of RGB.

This is to ensure you can accurately see what your colours will look like when you print them. The computer monitor displays colour in bright RGB while print uses CMYK.

4. Make sure you include a bleed of 3mm around your card if you send it to the factory to print. Read here for more. 

 The extra artwork or background is printed and trimmed to the correct finished size.

5. Make sure the resolution is 300dpi before you print or send it off to us.

Dpi referred to as dpi or dots-per-inch, means the clarity of the image. The higher the dpi, the clearer the picture. To achieve a crisp, clear image on the finished product, 300dpi images are required. Viewing your proof at 300% will give a good idea of how clear an image will appear on the finished piece.

6. Save your card as a pdf print, so the resolution does not change. 

These are some great tips for creating your cards. 

For more information, please click our next blog on the 7 steps to card design

To sum up, 

Health Plastic card

Design can be very stressful and overwhelming if it is your first time designing a card for your company. You want to follow some basic guidelines when creating your cards.

Above are guidelines you can follow to design your card. However, you do not have to follow them in the book. Add your unique flair and get creative. It's supposed to be fun, so enjoy yourself while you’re at it. 

If you still feel confused and unhappy with your design and would like us to design one for you. We charge a flat rate of R450.00 for artwork design which you can add to your order when purchasing your cards. Please fill in the design brief, so we have more of an idea of what kind of cards you want us to create for you. 

If you’d like to produce multiple cards with different information on them at a time, please select database design with your order. We charge a flat rate of R800.00. Please fill in the design brief, so we have an idea of what cards you want to create; you will also have to add artwork design to your cart.

If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us

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