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Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Rack & Door Hanger Cards: A Cheap and Effective Way to Advertise

The goal of a rack card is to capture the attention of paying customers while they wait in line to complete transactions. Traditionally, rack cards have promoted services and destinations related to tourism.

You have probably seen a rack of cards in a hotel at one time or another. These vertical cards are all lined up, side by side, row after row. Or perhaps you have been in a bus station and have seen card racks promoting various destinations.

Think of rack cards as a “middle step” between a business card and a brochure.

Rack cards take advantage of a captive audience. However, if you’re standing in line at a hotel, you might be wondering what to do now that you have reached your destination. So these cards promoting theme parks, museums, and the like may actually be a welcome sight. And in recent years they have expanded their subject matter to include such services as dry cleaning, massage spas, and restaurants.

Rack cards often include a 2” perforated card at the bottom, which can be a coupon for a discount or a promotion, a ticket, a business card, or even a map.

Door hanger cards are similar to rack cards in their vertical format, but they are left on your door, often in a hotel. A “Do Not Disturb” sign would be an example, but you may have received many other door hanger cards on your front door at home, cards offering lawn and home repair services and the like.

Printing Considerations for Rack & Door Hanger Cards

Rack & door hanger cards have been around for a long, long time because they are effective sales tools that are cheap to produce. Rack cards have a traditional size: 3.5” x 8.5” and 4” x 9”. It is prudent to keep to these sizes since they will fit in most card racks. Door hangers are usually 3.5” x 8.5” or 4.25” x 11” (with a hole at the top for hanging on the door knob).

You will also need to choose a paper stock (most rack & door hanger cards are printed on standard stocks ranging from 13 to 15 pt. gloss, matte, or uncoated cover). Many printers offer gloss aqueous or UV coating for durability, and some even offer foil stamping on the rack & door hanger cards to better catch the eye of the viewer. By standardizing the format and production methods, commercial printing suppliers can keep the prices low.

If you will need fewer than 500 rack cards or door hanger cards, your printer may choose to print the job digitally. For more cards, your commercial printing vendor may opt for offset printing.

While you’re compiling custom printing specifications and working on the design, also consider whether you will want rounded edges on the cards and whether you will want the cards shrink wrapped (and if so in what quantities).

Design Considerations for Rack & Door Hanger Cards

First and foremost a rack card must compete for the viewer’s attention with all other cards in the rack. If you think back to the last time you saw a rack of cards, you may remember ten, twenty, or even a hundred cards in the rack.

This is the time for a bold photo and a gripping headline. It’s also prudent to focus on the top half of the rack card first, since the cards are staggered in a metal rack, and each set of cards obscures a portion of the cards immediately above it. So focus your design on the first few inches at the top of the card.

Unlike a brochure, your card will be seen from a distance, surrounded by numerous other cards. So use color dramatically, and consider making a mock up and placing it in a card rack. This will help you see whether your design is eye catching from a distance and whether it stands out from a group of other rack cards.

Use the front of the card for the headline, photo, a call to action (or an offer), and contact information. On the back you can include a list of benefits (to encourage the viewer to buy your product or service). You may even want to include a map to your establishment. If your business is a restaurant, consider adding a menu on the back of the card.

In short, remember that a rack card has two sides when you are considering what to include and how to lay it out.

A Final Step

As with real estate, location is of prime importance with rack cards. Think about where your promotion will be seen by the most people (in restaurants, hotels, airports, and such), and then distribute the cards far and wide. You’re looking to capture foot traffic. The good news is that unlike a sign, a rack card is meant to be taken. Your prospects may hold onto it as a reminder of what they want to do, or buy, in the near future.

Used with thought and marketing savvy, rack & door hanger cards can be inexpensive, and yet incredibly effective, tools for advertising your business.

3 Responses to “Rack & Door Hanger Cards: A Cheap and Effective Way to Advertise”

  1. Such hangers are very helpful in order to organize cards.

  2. Door and rack hanger cards are great way to ensure good publicity. You can get vendors to place the racks of cards in shopping malls and other places for better marketing.

    • admin says:

      Agreed. Anywhere that gets a lot of foot traffic. This is an inexpensive marketing vehicle. Thanks for posting your comment.


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