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Printing Lingo: What Does “Radius” Mean when Referring to Rounded Corners?

An example of a Business Card with all four corners rounded

"Rounded Corners" is a finishing technique used to improve the aesthetics and/or functionality of certain printed pieces.

For example, business cards and promotional brochures are often designed with rounded corners to achieve a unique look.

Flash cards, pocket-sized booklets, and presentation folders are commonly fabricated with rounded corners to help prevent the corners from getting bent backward during frequent handling.

Also, if a printed piece is particularly rigid, a sharp 90-degree corner may actually lead to a skin puncture or other injury. This is especially true for printed pieces that have a thick laminate applied. Hence, rounded corners are generally recommended if the laminate film is 5mil or thicker, especially if the items will be handled by children.

What does the term "Radius" Mean?

The term radius refers to the distance from the center of a circle to the perimeter of the circle (in other words, the radius is one half of a circle's diameter).

The illustration at right shows a circle with a 1/2" radius aligned with the corner of a red square. The red square represents the printed piece and the red curved section represents how the square corner of the printed piece would be rounded off. In most cases, all four corners of a printed piece are rounded, but some projects have just have one, two, or three corners rounded.

When considering the option to round the corners of a printed piece, you will likely have several "radius" size choices. The most popular choices are the 1/2", 3/8", 1/4", and 1/8" radius. As you can see from the image below, the larger the radius, the more paper substrate will be removed to form the rounded corner…and the less "pointed" the corner will be.

If you have an upcoming print project that you would like enhanced with rounded corners, give Formax Printing Solutions a call at 866-367-6221. Or, if you already know your specs, simply click here to access our easy quote request form. As always, we look forward to assisting with your printing and finishing needs!

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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