Current Trends in Card Design
Emily Lovelock, Head of Sales at allpay.cards delves into the current trends in card design.
We’ve witnessed a number of game-changing challenger banks launch over the past 4 years including the likes of Monzo, Revolut, Starling Bank and N26 all offering new and advanced technology resulting in a significant accelerant of changes within the card and payment industry.
Challenger and neo-banks have the advantage of not being limited to technical legacy, allowing them to build agile systems. Unlike traditional banks, their systems enable them to quickly develop and launch new features and functionality based on user experience. Examples of these have been items such as easier access to foreign exchange, cryptocurrencies and gold, as well as being able to provide competitive conversion rates and easier ways to spend. Other examples include speedy account opening without visiting a branch, real-time alerts, advanced saving options, along with expense and business tools to limit administration.
Many challengers do not have high street branches and therefore the physical card and packaging are the only tangible aspects of the banks. This intensifies the need for fresh innovative designs that not only stand out in the market but also portray the brand in a unique and creative way. The need for challenger banks to differentiate their card design from their competitors is rapidly rising as the market grows. Interestingly, these banks have been able to tap into the social media savvy demographic, encouraging them to spread the word through clever marketing campaigns, a move which is further boosting sign-ups.
We are seeing design trends emerging such as the use of bright luminous colours, pearlescent and metallic inks, alternative card orientation, notches, tactile varnishes, coloured cores and different personalisation methods. One of the most noticeable new trends we are seeing is the rise of portrait orientated cards with the personalisation on the reverse. The reverse personalisation allows the bank and scheme logos to be the focus of the card, keeping the face clean and simple by moving the cardholder name, company name, PAN, expiry date and security code all printed on the reverse. This offers room for an eye-catching layout with few limitations. The new wave of design trends is injecting inspiration and innovative into payment cards, allowing people to feel excited about the contents of their wallet.
We are seeing design trends emerging such as the use of bright luminous colours, pearlescent and metallic inks, alternative card orientation, notches, tactile varnishes, coloured cores and different personalisation methods.
The simple and striking direction is certainly the way challenger banks are moving when considering their look and feel. We are also seeing a rise in dark and metal cards being utilised for premium or VIP cards aimed at high net worth individuals. As well as more extravagant cards that incorporate materials such as gold and even the addition of diamonds. These cards have a superior look and feel and suggest a certain ‘status’ for users along with the accounts providing additional benefits.
Coloured core is a design element which refers to the colour of the outer edge of the cards. Achieved at the manufacturing stage of the production process, the lamination is completed using a coloured plastic. The use of coloured core enables the product to stand out in a customer’s purse or wallet. As well as being easy to locate, the coloured core can complement the main design and again differentiate from other cards.
Another popular technique is the addition of a hot foil stamp to enhance logos and other aspects of the design e.g. the contactless symbol. The hot foil gives a premium feel and is available in a range of metallic colours. Previously silver and gold were the most commonly used, however, these are being replaced with bespoke colours such as red, black, blue and yellow. The hot foil is stamped on post lamination and can offer intricate logos and designs.
On top of this, the use of tactile effects can be utilised to give depth and texture, creating a distinguished design. Again, this can give a premium feel when used correctly. We have seen this technique used to enhance patterns within the design as well as to substitute ink, giving a subtle and unique finish. We recently developed a sample card with a leaf on the face and added water droplets on the leaf with a gloss varnish to create a 3D effect. This was particularly well received.
Some challenger banks are also moving away from the traditional card shape and incorporating a notch on the edge of the card.
Some challenger banks are also moving away from the traditional card shape and incorporating a notch on the edge of the card. This not only enhances the design but it also predominately used to assist visually impaired users to know which way to insert the card into an ATM. The notch can be manufactured on both horizontal and portrait cards.
With several new and evolving printing techniques, it is now possible to work closely with the card manufacturer to create stunning cards which represent the brand and become a valued asset for the cardholder.
Ensuring the card compliments the brand fully and is printed with the best possible techniques our design and prepress teams at allpay.cards work onsite collaborating with our manufacturing team, to establish the most time and cost-effective way to achieve the requirements from the brand and meet the designer’s visions. By inviting them to ‘design days’, clients have the chance to explore their ideas on-site with the experts who really know ‘what is possible and how to make it happen’.
By offering effective ways to shortlist designs before moving into a full manufacture run including utilising our visualiser software, we can present a video which incorporates the clients’ design, scheme elements and logos, mag tape and chip along with any enhancements. The software allows us to showcase the card in a 360-degree movement showing how the colours and effects change in lighting. This is the most time and cost-effective way to shortlist.
Another service provided to ensure the design is perfect prior to launch is ‘plastic proofing’. This is essentially a card manufactured through the full manufacture process displaying all elements of the card so that the brand can physically see and feel the card prior to moving into a larger manufacture run. We regularly provide plastic proofs which include either completely different designs or the same design with slight variations to colours, or alternative enhancements.
Advances in manufacturing processes have certainly contributed to a more creative approach to the card design. Working with an experienced team which offers guidance and advice throughout the full process, from concept and design, manufacture, through to personalisation and fulfilment with a full delivery suite is key. This ensures clients can provide their users with the best card product possible.
For more information please visit: https://allpay.cards/