A rack card is a low-cost promotional item that is typically printed in full color on one or both sides of thick, durable cardstock. If you want to promote your business or brand via a rack card, you first have to know its dimensions.
The display rack usually comes with 4 × 9-inch that accommodate 3.5 × 8.5-inch cards. The exact measurements of the rack may differ from business to business, so make sure you speak with the owner or manager before printing your rack cards.
Almost every type of business will have a rack display of some kind, but you will typically find them in lobbies, tradeshows, or travel agent offices. For the remainder of this guide, I will go into greater detail about rack cards, how they work, and I’ll also give a few tips on how you can make your rack card stand out.
What Is a Rack Card?
Rack cards are promotional items that businesses typically use to promote a product or a package deal. The display rack can be a freestanding unit that consists of several slots or shelves, or it can be a plastic tool that sits on top of a counter or table.
These promotional items are generally made of heavy cardstock with a glossy finish. Businesses usually print large images on the card to attract customers from a distance. Some rack cards come in the form of single-sheet flyers, while others come in the form of foldable brochures to offer more information to the reader.
Rack cards typically only reach readers in high-foot-traffic areas. They are not designed to reach a large group of people like billboards. As such, you should be wary of how much you can print on the rack card without it appearing too cluttered.
Rack Card Sizes
The typical rack display with come with 4 × 9-inch slots, pockets, or shelves. Some rack displays do not have separators between cards, so you need to be aware of what the business owner’s rack card sizing standards are.
For the most part, a rack card will be slightly smaller than the pockets—usually around 3.5 × 8.5 inches. The size margin allows readers to easily remove or replace cards without bending the sides or scratching the ink. Again, you will have to take notice of the exact dimensions of the business’ sizing standards to determine what size cardstock you need to print your promotion.
How Do Rack Cards Work?
A rack card works similarly to any printed promotional item. The main difference is that business owners may leave their rack cards on the displays of other businesses. By leaving your card at another business, you can take advantage of that business’ ability to draw in customers. That way, your promotional item will have a greater reach.
Some businesses don’t mind if you place your rack card on their displays, provided you follow their exact sizing standards. After all, it would be unfair to display one rack card that was several times taller or longer than those belonging to other businesses.
On the other hand, other businesses will sell ad space in their racks to anyone who’s willing to pay. In general, you will still have to follow the business’ sizing standards, but there is more room for flexibility since they are receiving payment for “real estate” that would otherwise not generate revenue.
How to Make an Effective Rack Card
From a marketing and communication standpoint, an effective rack card should be one that conveys your business’ message as thoroughly and as efficiently (not too many words) as possible while also giving the highest return. Consider the following ways that can help you boost the effectiveness of your rack cards.
Print the right size rack card
First and foremost, you should make sure that your rack card will fit in the display. If it doesn’t, you might have to cut the card to size or reprint an entirely new batch. Speak to the business owner to see what size you should print the rack card. While most racks will support 3.8 × 8.5-inch racks, some businesses might have custom-made racks with different measurements.
Nobody wants to read a wall of text or see a blank background with large letters, especially when readers have the option not to take your rack card off the display. It’s generally a good idea to print large pictures on the rack card. The image should be large enough to easily make out from several feet away, as well as have an assortment of eye-catching colors.
You’d be surprised by how many rack cards do not feature the company’s contact info. If someone swipes your card from the display rack and wants to call your company, do not expect them to look very hard on the internet. You should provide all means for your readers to contact your business, such as including your phone number, alternative phone numbers, website, social media pages, fax numbers, email addresses, and your business’ physical address (if it has one).
Call to Action
If your readers are interested in what you have to say, you should give offer a way for them to follow up on the topic. A call to action will inform readers of how they can take advantage of your most recent promotion, invest in your most recent initiative, or engage in your accessible programs.
Tell readers to phone your company, visit your store, or visit your website in a prominent location on your card. An easy-to-scan QR code could also help users to learn more about you or your company right away using their phones.
- If you can place your rack card on the top shelf, you might be able to get away with printing a card that is half an inch taller than the recommended printing size. Even half an inch can make a big difference when the rack card is standing among a sea of other cards that are fighting for the reader’s attention.
- Print bleeds—i.e., printing to the outer edge of the card—can make your rack card stand out. However, if you want to use white margins, make them as tiny as possible. Most people stick with quarter-inch margins to maintain as much display space on the card as possible.
- If you want to print brochure-style rack cards, you might not be able to fit as many cards on the display. However, you can convey a more detailed message to your readers.