Leading Australian supplier of high quality plastic card product and accessories - STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

Designing for Clear and Frosted Plastic Cards


Clear and frosted plastic cards, with good graphic design, can make an incredibly unique talking point for your business. But designing for clear plastic cards requires a different approach to that of opaque plastic or paper cards. Considerations need to be made for how each side of the card will impact on the other and whether certain colours and special finishes will stand out as expected on these different materials.

If you’re exploring clear, clear matt or clear frosted plastic cards for your business, then the information below provides a useful explanation of the different options available with some design tips and tricks to make your plastic card stand out from the rest!



Clear Gloss Plastic Cards

Clear plastic cards are completely smooth and fully transparent. Objects seen through them are quite sharp, like looking through glass. In this way, the environment around impacts substantially on the readability of the card. It may have to be placed on a plain surface, or held up to a blank wall to decipher small text details.


Clear Matt Plastic Cards

This card has a smooth matt lamination on clear plastic, which works to reduce some of its transparency while maintaining a matte look of the card. It’s sort of a cross between a frosted card (without the texture) and a fully transparent card.


Clear Frosted Plastic Cards

These cards have a slightly textured feel. Held up to the light, they are highly translucent but objects seen through them are blurred. Thicker plastic will reduce the amount of translucency so we recommend a 0.5mm thickness (slightly thinner than a standard credit card). The frosted lamination also successfully hides small scratches and marks. A heavier textured frosted finish (like sand) is also available.


Things to consider when designing for clear and frosted plastic cards

Think back to school when you learned that red plus blue makes purple and yellow plus blue makes green. Similarly, our perception of colour and graphics printed on a clear or translucent plastic card are directly impacted by its immediate environment and generally appear less vibrant than if printed on an opaque surface. This is however one characteristic that makes clear and frosted plastic cards so unique; their ability to morph in different environments and the interesting play of colour and light that can be seen.

If you require certain colours or graphic areas on your clear plastic card to really POP, then an opaque white under-print can be applied to the card, disabling the transparent quality of that area completely. This is particularly useful for making text readable, and a way to utilise both sides of the card.


Frequently Asked Questions

What special print finishes work best on a clear plastic card?
Generally speaking the clear material provides enough WOW factor and some of the most eye-catching cards we’ve printed are very simple, one or two colour designs. However, silver and gold foils also render well on both clear gloss, clear matt and clear frosted plastic cards.

What shapes and sizes are available?
Clear gloss, clear matt and clear frosted plastic cards can be printed in all shapes and sizes. See our die line gallery or contact us about creating a custom shape plastic card to suit your project.

Can a barcode be used on a clear gloss, clear matt and clear frosted plastic cards?
Yes, a barcode can be printed on a clear gloss, clear matt and clear frosted plastic card but it requires an opaque white under-print in the area which the barcode will appear. It is important to consider how this might visually affect the reverse side of the card.

Can a magnetic strip be incorporated on my clear plastic card?
Magnetic strips are a popular feature of many types of plastic cards including gift cards and membership cards. Magnetic strips can be incorporated on clear gloss, clear matt and clear frosted plastic cards with a thickness of 0.76mm, but again it is important to consider the visual impact this will have on the reverse of the card.