Skip to Content

Any advice on card material?

6 replies [Last post]
ThreePointComics
ThreePointComics's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/14/2014

So, first post...

I'm very close to ordering a print run of cards, and am pricing things based on aesthetics and durability, hoping to get some advice on material and finish.

The cards are standard tarot dimensions (oversized: 2.75x4.75"), and we've been looking around. We've gotten some samples at 350 GSM, which felt a little light, despite being pretty durable (shuffled them violently and like an idiot for quite some time before seeing any ill effects, even bent them so the ends touched without any damage other than a temporary warp).

We're looking at going up to 400 GSM stock, as it has more heft, which will have a nicer feel (and hopefully more durability), but not sure if this will be a notable difference...

On finish, linen finish costs a lot more than simple gloss coating and I've heard arguments either way for the aesthetic value of the material.

Any thoughts?

BubbleChucks
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2012
I'm not sure what type of

I'm not sure what type of card game you are making, other than using Tarot cards, and that makes quite a difference.

350 GSM is thick for playing card stock and 400 GSM is very rare in terms of usage. With 350 GSM im assuming its common paper stock without a core.

The top end is normally 310 GSM black core card stock.

The main thing to consider is the quality of the stock and the selected finish.

Cheap paper cards don't have a different "core" so they are considerably cheaper - much, much cheaper.

Card stock with a core can be "blue core" which is usually about 270 GSM and "black core" which is normally 300-310 GSM.

The core prevents see through when a card is held up to the light. It could also be argued that common paper stock vs speciality playing card stock can suffer from diminished integrity. When paper is formed it is compressed, the tighter the mulch is compressed the more solid the card.

Playing card stock has levels of acceptable quality, but paper stock can be anything. So cheap 350 GSM paper, without a core, could be that thickness but it could less densely packed - resulting in a more flimsy card than one made with 310 GSM black core.

The finish applied to a card can also affect its rigidity.

The main concern with finishes is print quality and the impact on shuffling. A linen finish creates pockets of air which make shuffling easier, but it usually leads to a reduction in print quality in complex images. However, people associate linen finish cards with quality.

Finally, the thicker the card the harder they are to shuffle, 400 GSM cards would be a bit of a pain to shuffle.

The best way to test the quality is to hold a card up to a light source to detect any show through, bend it and listen for the snap (good cards have a nice snap to them and they return to their initial shape without deforming - although end to end folding is a bit extreme) and how they shuffle.

You seem to have covered these tests yourself, but I would compare your findings with cards that you know use quality stock for a true comparison.

ThreePointComics
ThreePointComics's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/14/2014
Thanks for the info! The

Thanks for the info!

The cards are for a set of traditional tarot games, which do vary from standard card games in that they actually encourage less shuffling in order to promote imbalance.

I'd started thinking about the difficulty shuffling, and that might make me stick with the industry standard, as cards that are hard to shuffle are more likely to get damaged in the process, though.

Thanks for talk on the core, I hadn't looked in to that. Also, that was a good tip on light, I hadn't thought to do that, but one of the samples was similar darkness to what we're trying to print and definitely opaque, so that looks solid.

On "snap," you just mean the sound of it leaving your fingers as it pulls back to position, right?

BubbleChucks
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2012
Yup, quality cards have a

Yup, quality cards have a nice crisp "snap" when they leave your fingers and pull back into position.

It's not noticeable to people other than magicians or poker players, but it gives a quick and simple indication of card quality. The state of the cards after being bent, warping, and the effects of prolonged shuffling and usage give more.

ThreePointComics
ThreePointComics's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/14/2014
Okay, cool. Playing with the

Okay, cool.

Playing with the same material in smaller cards, it snapped nicely. Less so on the large cards, but I'm almost positive that's simply because they're larger and the height:width ratio is higher so there's less material to resist/snap back.

Feeling pretty confident about the material, since, like I said, it took prolonged rough treatment to see any serious wear.

Thanks again for the advice!

pjr413
Offline
Joined: 05/25/2015
Paper with cores- black or blue

BubbleChucks wrote:
I'm not sure what type of card game you are making, other than using Tarot cards, and that makes quite a difference.

350 GSM is thick for playing card stock and 400 GSM is very rare in terms of usage. With 350 GSM im assuming its common paper stock without a core.

The top end is normally 310 GSM black core card stock.

The main thing to consider is the quality of the stock and the selected finish.

Cheap paper cards don't have a different "core" so they are considerably cheaper - much, much cheaper.

Card stock with a core can be "blue core" which is usually about 270 GSM and "black core" which is normally 300-310 GSM.

The core prevents see through when a card is held up to the light. It could also be argued that common paper stock vs speciality playing card stock can suffer from diminished integrity. When paper is formed it is compressed, the tighter the mulch is compressed the more solid the card.

Playing card stock has levels of acceptable quality, but paper stock can be anything. So cheap 350 GSM paper, without a core, could be that thickness but it could less densely packed - resulting in a more flimsy card than one made with 310 GSM black core.

The finish applied to a card can also affect its rigidity.

The main concern with finishes is print quality and the impact on shuffling. A linen finish creates pockets of air which make shuffling easier, but it usually leads to a reduction in print quality in complex images. However, people associate linen finish cards with quality.

Finally, the thicker the card the harder they are to shuffle, 400 GSM cards would be a bit of a pain to shuffle.

The best way to test the quality is to hold a card up to a light source to detect any show through, bend it and listen for the snap (good cards have a nice snap to them and they return to their initial shape without deforming - although end to end folding is a bit extreme) and how they shuffle.

You seem to have covered these tests yourself, but I would compare your findings with cards that you know use quality stock for a true comparison.

Great information! I feel pretty stupid that I can't find this stuff being sold anywhere. Do you have any advice on sites that might be selling it?

Soulfinger
Soulfinger's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/06/2015
BubbleChucks wrote:The top

BubbleChucks wrote:
The top end is normally 310 GSM black core card stock.

Thank you very much for this information. I know a bit about paper but nothing about cards, so this is very enlightening for me.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut