A composite – “comp card” (sometimes called a ZED) is a model’s business card.

A model’s comp card is a physical stock card that usually has the model’s headshot on the front and 3-5 (4 is the industry standard) images on the back that show off the model’s range, in addition to vital stats. These days, a comp card can vary in size, but typically the card is sized 5.5″ by 8.5″ and printed on medium/heavy card stock. The design and layout can vary, but most often a comp card shows 4 to 6 of the models photos and includes his/her physical measurements and modeling agency contact information.

Information Included on the Comp Card:

Stats for women: Hair color, Eye color, Height, Bust, Waist, Hips, Dress size, Shoe size
Stats for Men: Hair color, Eye color, Height, Suit or Chest size, Waist, Inseam, Shoe size

In most cases, your comp card is your one and only opportunity to make a good first impression. Comp cards are printed on a thick card stock and are handed out to agencies and potential clients during castings, and auditions. Most agencies will not meet with you until you have your comp card done – because that is the tool that they use to market you.

Comp cards originated in the 1960s and have been the primary marketing tool for models and the modeling industry for many years. Originally printed on A4 sized paper, they were named “Model Composite”, a termed Peter Marlowe trademarked after inventing them. They are known by several different names: Sed Card, Zed Card (a misnomer of Sed card that became popular), Z Card, Comp Card, and Composite Card; these all refer to the same thing. The comp card is used to submit your profile to agencies either online or by mail. You’ll need these to get a modeling agency’s attention!

With that in mind, it is important that the images on your comp card are your absolute best and nothing less. Additionally, the printing and reproduction quality is extremely important. Poor reproduction makes your images look unprofessional and as a result – makes you look unprofessional.

Most printers will provide physical samples of their cards if you ask. Review them to be sure that they have good color and that the printing is properly centered and the cards are not cut crooked (All of these are common issues we have found with cheaper printers). Also be sure that the cards are printed on a solid card stock so that they are not flimsy and do not fold or crease easily.

Click here for a list of comp card printers.

Comp Card Design

Sending your images separately to a printer, in the form of prints, slides or digital images, gives you no control over the final outcome of the layout or quality of the images. Having your comp card prepared digitally and then burned to a CD (printer ready), ensures you the best possible quality.

The cards can be formatted horizontally or vertically like you see in the example above. A high quality comp card will be printed on a thick card stock. (12pt or 14pt font).

Recommended Reading about Comp Cards