Most standard business cards are rectangular, measuring 3.5 x 2 inches. Cards of this size fit easily into most wallets and card holders, and are therefore less likely to get misplaced or tossed.
However, there are valid reasons for deviating from this standard size.
When the design is done well, business cards that are different shapes and sizes can make your business stand out from the crowd. Different sizes are easier to spot in a stack of cards, and creative shapes that relate to your products or services make for a more memorable business card.
Aside from the standard 3.5 x 2 size, there are three other sizes you might frequently see: folded, micro, and square:
While creating a business card with digital software, it’s important to think of your dimensions in pixels. Otherwise, you could end up with a blurry card.
The following are the three most common business card sizes and their dimensions in inches, millimeters, and pixels:
If you don’t want to manually convert your dimensions, most graphic design programs (e.g. InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Canva) will allow you to input your dimensions in inches and set your pixels per inch (ppi) to 300. This ppi setting will ensure that your card comes out as crisp as possible from the printer.
Some newer versions of Microsoft Word also allow you to adjust ppi, but making business cards in Word is not recommended.
Bleed area is space for design elements to extend beyond the margins of your card — your design elements “bleed” past the edges. That way, when the card is printed and cut to size, there are no white borders. This also ensures that any tiny variations in cutting are less noticeable.
Bleed area is generally 1/16 inch on all sides.
You should keep all the important design components of your card (logos, contact info, etc.) within the actual card space, not in the bleed area. The bleed area should only contain elements like extended borders or patterns.
For example, if you’re creating a standard business card with a 1/16 inch bleed area, how big should your design be?
You’ll want the entire design to measure 3.625 x 2.125 inches, but all the important components need to stay within the 3.375 x 1.875 inch area that represents the “safe area”, which is the size of the finished card minus a buffer.
When working with business card templates, make sure you don’t decrease the bleed area — that might change the way the finished product looks. Similarly, if you’re sending a business card design to a printing company, make sure you follow their guidelines for bleed area.
Many graphic design programs allow you to set bleed area when you create a new document. Bleed can also generally be adjusted later via document settings or canvas size settings, though menu options vary between programs.
The right business card size for you or your business will depend on a number of factors, like your industry, budget, clientele, personal taste, and the amount of information you want to convey on your card.
If you’re very traditional, or tend to do business with clients who have traditional taste, a funky shape or size might not be the best choice — you’d probably be better off sticking with a classic rectangular card, and making it stand out in other ways (memorable logo, bold color, luxe texture, etc.). Even if your style is on the understated side, your business cards still need some wow factor to make them stand out.
But if you or your clients have more eclectic or adventurous taste, you have some room to explore other options. This is particularly true for those in more artistic professions, where an imaginative business card shows off desirable creativity.
For example, a DJ might design a business card in the shape of a record, and a baker might decide on a cupcake-shaped card. These kinds of themed shapes work well for businesses that want to be viewed as unique, creative, or fun.
The most important thing to remember here is that your creativity should be intentional. Don’t pick a wild shape just for the sake of it — make sure it’s relevant to your business, and well thought-out.
Size and shape also affects the amount of information you can reasonably fit on your card.
If you just need to include your name, email address, and phone number, a smaller card like the micro size would probably work well. But if you have more information to convey (relevant social media handles, services offered, business hours, etc.), a folded card would give you more surface area to do so.
Including key information on your business card is helpful, but it should be just that — key information.
You don’t want to crowd your design with too much text, or use a tiny font just to make everything fit. In general, less is more, so carefully consider what information is necessary to include on your card, and what information would be better suited for your website or social media.
In addition to size and shape, you’ll also need to choose other design elements for your business cards, such as fonts, hand-drawn elements, logo shape, and color. Ideally, your choices should result in a good balance.
In other words, a business card with a wild shape, several bold colors, whimsical fonts, and multiple graphics will almost always be too much. You want your cards to make an impression, but they don’t need everything but the kitchen sink to do so.
If you want to design creative cards, pick one or two areas to stand out, and keep the rest as simple as possible.
Business card templates are great tools for designing polished, professional cards. Templates give you the advantage of having a foundation to work from, with options to change details like colors and fonts to customize your card and make it true to your own style — all without having to start from scratch.
When you’re looking for a company to print your business cards, it’s all about options and expertise. While plenty of office supply stores and copy centers offer business card printing services, it’s not their focus, so customization options are limited and quality varies.
You don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a finished product that you could have made yourself with some cardstock and a color printer. That’s why it’s best to choose a company that specializes in printing business cards.
Silkcards has over 18 years of experience in printing high-quality business cards and other marketing materials. We pride ourselves on our unique, custom add-on options and wide array of cutting-edge printing techniques.
If you need some help designing your cards, you can rely on our extensive experience. Whether you just need a little advice about our add-ons, or want to take advantage of our custom design service, we’re here to make sure you get the business card of your dreams — one that perfectly represents your business and wows clients every time.
There are more options available for business cards than ever before, including unique shapes and sizes. It might feel overwhelming at first, but choosing a business card size doesn’t have to be rocket science.
You know your business best — you’re the expert on your business’s unique brand, goals, mission, aesthetic, client base, and differentiators. Once you know what you’re all about, you can choose a business card that makes the most sense for your business.
Whether you go for the classic standard size, the modern appeal of a slim micro card, or a custom shape that highlights your brand’s personality, you should make sure your cards are printed with the highest-quality materials and techniques. That’s the recipe for an unforgettable card!