How to Make Gift Cards Stand Out

If you’re like me, you know that when it comes to gifts, there are two preferred choices: cash and gift cards.  It’s so much easier than trying to describe something or having to decide on the spot what you want for birthdays and Christmas.  My family usually opts for the gift card, feeling like it’s better than money in a card.  Every store imaginable now has gift cards, and even virtual ones, such as iTunes, do a huge amount of business selling gift cards.

They’re Everywhere

During the 2012 holiday season, shoppers purchased about $28.79 billion worth of gift cards.  That means if each person bought a $50 gift card, roughly 1,439,500,000,000 consumers purchased them.  It’s an industry that can’t be ignored.  Gift cards are easy to use, have easy balance tracking, and are hard to lose.  They also create extra store revenue; if someone goes to a store with a specific sum in mind, they may spend more because they can pay for part of it with a gift card.

So how are gift cards created so they can reach the end user?  Quite simply, they’re printed.  Printing on plastic, especially for gift cards, has become profitable for digital printers.  With options such as variable data printing and customization, it’s a perfect choice.  Only recently have gift cards become a replacement for gift certificates, creating a new print market.

How to Stand Out

A gift card is really just a pre-paid credit card for a certain amount that can be used at certain in person and online stores.  From small stores to large chains, gift cards are a common currency.  So how do gift cards stay unique and functional?  Graphics can’t dominate too much of the card or they might make numbers, barcodes, and terms and conditions hard to read.

One way to create unique and memorable gift cards is with specialized materials.  While many cards are made out of styrene and other plastic blends, there are specialized options available.  PVC, which is traditionally white, is now available in silver, gold, and black for striking cards with great durability.  Gift cards can also be made of wood veneer and synthetic paper substitutes.  Polyester is also a great option for digital printers with dry toner presses.  Using untraditional materials can gives companies a look that brands their personality and keeps customers interested and coming back.  Making the most out of materials when graphics are limited is a great solution!