Everything You Need To Know About Rack Cards


What are rack cards?

Traditional rack cards are easily recognized as the vertical advertising cards found at most visitor’s centers, hotels, and rest stops. They are often single, glossy, full color marketing pieces that share a small amount of information about a business in an eye-catching way.

How do people use rack cards?

Rack cards are most effective when they’re concise and visually arresting. That’s because most rack cards are distributed in settings where a potential customer’s attention is being pulled in several directions, or during a small window of opportunity. Because of this, rack cards are commonly found in places where people wait such as at a restaurant or at a theater. This gives local service providers and retailers the opportunity to physically be found by visitors.

This is an image of a rack card.

A more targeted use for rack cards is as marketing collateral at a trade show. By including key contact information, interesting imagery, and pointed messaging, vendors are able to quickly share their products and services with curious attendees who might not have time for a long conversation. Rack cards represent a post event reminder, with contact information printed on the card providing an easy path back to your company.

Who uses rack cards?

Rack cards are mainstays in the tourism industry. They can also be used by any business that wants to take advantage of local geography and foot traffic to increase their branding and marketing efforts.

What is the standard rack card size?

Standard rack cards measure 4 inches wide by 9 inches tall. This is the size you should use to print your rack cards if you’re distributing them in a standard holder or rack. Otherwise, you can make your rack card any size you’d like!

What makes for a good rack card design?

  • Think eye catching. Engaging photos, intriguing graphics and big, easy to read messaging.
  • Think textured. Rack cards are a tactile item and adding texture can enhance the first impression your material makes. If you’re working with a designer or a professional printer, ask for paper samples to see how they feel.
  • Think end results. The best rack cards have a simple message and leave no mystery about the business you’re in and what you want people to do. Make your call to action clear.
  • Think about the path of least resistance. If you want to bring a visitor right to your front door to try or buy an item, give them a map and directions. If you want to bring a visitor right to your website to sign up for a service, use a QR code or easy to enter URL.

Some ideas for designing and distributing effective rack cards

Effective rack cards start with the attributes discussed above: aesthetic designs, tactile experiences, and other qualities that invite people to engage with the card as a piece of marketing. A few additional things to consider:

  • Rack cards that look like every other card at a trade show or in a lobby are easily overlooked. Imagine a simple change, like turning your rack card into a long horizontal panorama card instead. Even standing sideways in a rack will prompt a visitor to cock their head just slightly to view it, which means you’ve already won more attention time then your neighbor’s card.


  • Take that same horizontal “rack card” and turn it into a postcard that people can pick up and mail to a friend. You can use your preferred customer list and mail them out yourself to key customers, drawing multiple applications from a single graphic design. If you’ve chosen to design a standard sized rack card, it will also fit quite neatly in a #10 envelope.
  • If you’re distributing your rack cards at bus stops, train stations and other locations, don’t just drop them off and let the chips fall here they may. Instead, send out the most gregarious, high-energy person on your team to places where day time travelers (like rush hour commuters) are sure to be there in droves with the task of making it worthwhile for passersby to pick up more information.
Have a story of success using rack cards? Share it in the comments below!
Looking to add a rack card to your marketing campaign? Contact us today!

From the team at Kendall Press

FAQ, marketing, print

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