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Price of Foil vs. Varnish for business cards?

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  • Price of Foil vs. Varnish for business cards?

    I contacted a printing company (who I'll keep anonymous) and asked for a quote on how much 100 business cards, thick card-stock, front & back, with foil costs. They said it would be at least $150 for only the foil, not factoring in the price of the actual print job.

    That seems a bit absurd for business cards, knowing one day I may have to update the business card information if I change phone numbers.

    I'm thinking of going varnish instead. Does anyone know if varnish is cheaper than foil? I just want to make sure I'm not getting stiff armed with a ridiculous price.
    Last edited by ReMeDy; 02-05-2013, 09:43 PM.
    David Scott: Graphic & Web Design.
    www.davidjscott.com

  • #2
    I routinely get three quotes for my jobs. Keeps 'em honest. Seriously, they may not be set up to do foil stamping, and they have to outsource it. That would add considerably to the costs, transporting to and from the outsource company and their markup for the service.

    Varnish might be cheaper if their press has enough towers to handle it in one pass per side.
    This post is brought to you by the letter E and the number 9. Those are the buttons I push to get a Twix out of the candy machine.
    "I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process."

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    • #3
      As a print designer, I always keep variable details off the foil block so that the same foil block can be used for all business cards in the company. For example, if the company logo and a rule or borderlike graphic is in foil, then that $150 for the foilblock can be used for many years and many different business cards. The contact details would be printed only.

      Foil blocks for business cards are usually done 4 up here. The larger the foil, the more it costs so it is most economical to foil and print 4 up.

      Not sure if you have seen a foil block before. It's kind of like a rubber stamp, only it's metal set into a hunk of wood. They are almost always outsourced as we don't have wood/metal workshop here, nor do we do enough of these to need one. There is a minimum charge of about $40 and depending on size and complexity can cost a couple of hundred $. Still $150 isn't unheard of, but certainly towards the up end for business cards. I would get a second quote to be safe. Whoever you pick ask to see a sample of a job they have foiled. The quality may vary.

      Varnish (what we call gloss) is heaps cheaper than foil.

      Have you also looked at SPOT UV? It can be expensive but really has a wow factor and we usually run SPOT UV cards 20 or 21up so that reduces costs. If you matt laminate and then SPOT UV on top, you'll have women throwing themselves at those cards.
      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

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      • #4
        ONLY 100 CARDS? You're lucky the printer didn't laugh and slam the phone down. We won't do foil for less than 1000 cards.
        "I love deadlines. I love the 'whooshing' sound they make when they go by." - Doug Adams
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        • #5
          Ditto on what Buda said, but how are you having these printed: offset or digital? Also, are you talking about traditional foil stamping with a die or the cheaper foil fusing at some quick print business card shop?

          And like Gromit asked, 100 cards? You can't be going with traditional printing on this unless you plan on paying an arm and a leg per card.

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          • #6
            there was a lot of discussion here about a company out of Asia thats offering foil stamping way under the cost of what is charged in the states.... anyone have the link?
            Apparently the work they did was ok, not great, but for the price...

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            • #7
              You contacted 1 printer?

              You should be getting 3-5 quotes from various printers.

              Some people push the price up because they simply don't want the job as it's too small and takes up too much manpower to be cost-effective for them.


              The only way you'll know if it's cheaper one way or the other is to get prices. Some places are equipped to do foil some are equipped to do varnish, some are equipped to do both, and some are not equipped at all.


              Seems like a fair price to me though. If you were doing a 1,000 business cards I wouldn't expect the price to go up too much on the foil stamping.

              Most of the cost is in the setup.

              "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Gromit801 View Post
                ONLY 100 CARDS? You're lucky the printer didn't laugh and slam the phone down. We won't do foil for less than 1000 cards.
                That was my immediate reaction too. LOL.

                Imagine wanting to charge for services for 'just business cards'
                If you want 'just business cards' go to Vistaprint.
                If you want custom, expect to pay money.

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                • #9
                  Anything outside of digital printing is going to cost an absurd about on such a small quantity.

                  Foil is probably slightly more expensive than a spot uv, but it's mostly about the different effect each produces. Spot UV surrounded by a matte finish will be very high contrast. Foil won't be quite as glossy, but adds more texture.

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                  • #10
                    Foil is always gonna run you a hundred or so at least, they have to custom make the die. Unless you go w that Asian firm.

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                    • #11
                      We would print and foil 100 cards. As long as the client understands that the cards will cost a couple of dollar each.

                      Though you'll probably find there isn't much price difference between 100 cards and 500 cards.
                      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gromit801 View Post
                        ONLY 100 CARDS? You're lucky the printer didn't laugh and slam the phone down. We won't do foil for less than 1000 cards.
                        Gromit801 say right. We won't do foil for less than 1000 cards

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