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Printing Your Cards

Do’s and don’ts

Here are a few things to bear in mind when getting your cards printed:

91×55 mm

The standard size of Japanese business cards

Do Use the correct dimensions

The standard size of business cards in Japan is 91×55 mm (or sometimes 90×55 mm), which is slightly larger than in the USA (3½×2″ = 88.9×50.8 mm) or UK (85×55 mm). Cards printed at the standard Japanese dimensions will be more compatible with Japanese card scanning and filing systems. Most printing companies will be able to produce card of any size, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Don’t Use an inkjet printer

Whatever you do, don’t print your cards on an inkjet. They may look fine at first, but can be ruined by the slightest amount of moisture. Japan gets a lot of rain in June, and is hot and humid all summer, so anything printed with an inkjet will absorb moisture from the air and start to look fuzzy and unprofessional in no time.

Do Include bleed margins

Allow a bleed margin of at least 2 mm

If you want your logo or anything else to run right up to the edge, you’ll need to extend it by at least 2 mm outside the area of the card. This is called a bleed margin.

Do Get them professionally printed

Even if you happen to have a state-of-the-art colour laser printer in your office, a professional professional printing company will most likely be better equipped to ensure that your cards are produced to the highest standards.

Don’t Use inappropriate software

If you’re producing your own card design, avoid using applications like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint that isn’t designed for the job. Printing companies generally don’t accept files of these types, and it’s rather difficult to convert them into formats like PDF or EPS that printers do accept. Another problem with these applications is that they use the RGB system to specify colours instead of the CMYK system used by professional software. This is a problem because some colours in the RGB colour space are unprintable.

Where to get your cards printed

For the best results, I suggest you contact a local printer who will be able to advise you on what sort of card to use and so on. Alternatively, you could try an online printing company like KoolPrint.com (USA), or officeprint 24 (UK).

Note: I’m not affiliated with either of these companies, although I’ve use officeprint 24 a few times without any problems. Your local print shop is always a safer bet if you’re on a tight schedule.

Header image: Dusk falls over the harbour at Takamatsu (高松市), as seen from the top floor of the 30-storey Symbol Tower. Photo: Frank Gualtieri.

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