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How To Print A Perfect Hotel Key Card?

printing hotel key card

Each hotel brand has their own unique design that to pass their brand culture to their guests. Then how to make sure a physical hotel key card is as perfect as the artwork looks? You will need to learn some printing knowledges.


1. Printing file


Make sure you have prepared a vectorized file with high resolution, files in AI, CDR or PSD format are usually preferred. And when you are preparing printing files for your hotel key card, there are something that you need to know.


standard key card template


Cut Line

Cut line is where your cards are supposed to be die-cut. But sometimes the cutting machine will have around 1 mm tolerance while working, therefore, bleed and margin are very important and essential while designing your file.

Then you will ask, what’s bleed and margin? I will explain one by one.

standard key card


Bleed is somewhere that could be unuseful but very import. As I explained in cut line, the die-cutting machine couldn’t cut the cards 100% accurately as per the cut line in the proof, then we have to leave some space beyond the cut line in case there are white borders or white stripes left on the card after die-cutting.

with no bleed


Margin is as important as bleed. If the die-cutting goes too left, then it might cut off the right part out of the card’s cutting line.

So, make sure all letters and important patterns are inside the margin area. If not, your key card would be ruined, except you are intended to.

with no margin

If you are not sure about the position of the 3 lines, ask for your supplier for a template. Follow the lines and areas of the three lines separately, you are ready to make your printing files.

Usually, there will be only 1 line presented on the digital proof sheet, your key card would not come out too wrong if you followed the 3 lines to make your designs.


2. Printing method


Printing color is important especially when your key card is a plain colored background, because it matters to your brand image.


There are 2 printing methods that are used the most frequently.


Silkscreen printing

Imagine that if you are using a pink color for your key card, sometimes it’s a light pink, and sometimes it’s a dark pink, how will that go? Will your guests remember your brand? And even if they did, which one have they really remembered?

So, make sure the brand color on your hotel key card is always the same. To achieve this, set a PMS color code for your brand color, always emphasize it and request your supplier to follow the color code strictly. Or give them a card which you are currently using, they will find a way to follow it.


Offset printing

If you decide to use a colorful design for your key card, offset printing is good enough. But still, you need to make sure the colors of the key cards won’t differ a lot from one batch to another.

Offset printing is also called CMYK printing.

CMYK acronym stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key /Black.

All these 4 colors could be adjusted in the printer’s system while printing the cards. So, even if the printing file is exactly the same, the colors come out could be different, a lot.


Besides, CMYK supports gang-run printing and sole printing.

Gang-run printing is a few designs with similar colors printed together to reduce the cost. So when your order quantity is small, and you don’t have a very picky requirement on the printing colors, it will be a good option for you.

Sole printing is printing one layout and one design only at one time. You can get more accurate colors with this printing mode because the printer only needs to follow this one design only, no need to consider the others.


But still, color tolerance will always be exist no matter how hard you try to avoid. It’s related to the quality of the inks, printing worker’s experience and color sensitive, etc. Some factories are good at it but some are not. So, if you are worried about the printing, you’d better try some samples before proceed to the bulk order, especially when the quantity is large. If the supplier couldn’t handle the printing, transfer your order to another one before it’s too late.


Don’t worry if you don’t want to learn any of the above, that’s exactly what Nexqo is good at. Contact one of our experts to print your own design now.

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