Learn all about business card sizes, standards, bleed areas, different business card designs, card shapes, business card templates to use, and other best practices.
However old-timey and surrounded by new means of promotion and networking, the common business card outlived and outshined everything and is still a staple of sharing contact information, and leaving a good first impression. You can create the most stellar LinkedIn profile, most engaging social media and build the best website, but nothing beats a high-quality business card.
But, before you go on and design one for your small business and present yourself as a respectable business owner, there are some tips and standards you need to know about.
Before we delve deeper into the technical details of designing your own business card, you need to know a few things:
How and why exactly it came to be for different countries to stick to different dimensions, it’s hard to explain. Similar to European-cut and US-standard clothes, business cards also have their differences.
If you didn’t find the country you need information for, here is a complete sheet of business card dimensions by country.
Also, don’t forget that when converting between pixels, millimeters and inches, there is a big chance that you will get decimal numbers that are hard to round off. So, before you definitely agree on the graphic design and send the business cards for print, make sure you check a reliable source about the correct dimensions and ratio.
Apart from the size of your business card and the aspect ratio, there are plenty of smaller details that you might not even think about before sending them for print. Here’s what you have to double-check.
When you or your designer work on a business card, the best format to save it in is the PDF format. The reason for that is because working with PDF formats allows editing, sharing, collaborating on a file and higher security with digital documents. It is also much easier to edit a PDF file as a non-designer than in Photoshop or Indesign, for example, and that will make it possible for you to make small tweaks without calling a designer.
The safe area of a business card is the margins around the main design elements that you have to add in order to make sure you won’t cut anything important in the process of printing and separating the cards. In a standard US business card, the safety margins are one-eighth of an inch from the cutting edge. Keep logos and text safe within a 3.34” by 1.84” area.
If your business card has background color or elements that spread all the way to the ends, you need to add a bleed area around the finished size to prevent white lines after trimming it. It is a one-eighth of an inch zone beyond the trim area that will ensure that your business card doesn’t have white borders after full-color printing or being die-cut.
As is the standard in printing, it is best to use a CMYK color scheme. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (or key color). The reason we use CMYK for printing is that it CMY covers the largest number of light color ranges in comparison to using an RGB color scheme (red, green, blue). K or key color is added to the scheme because it doesn’t cover very deep dark colors. The full color palette under CMYK has a much wider range.
When it comes to typography, our advice isn’t so much about what kind of font you should use, but it’s more focused on leaving the text live and editable, not outlined or locked for editing. The reason is similar to why you should use a PDF format: you’ll maybe need to edit the text in the future.
If you want to create a unique business card or something that is conventional, but out of the ordinary, consider safe areas and bleed areas. Other designs you could consider are: rounded corners, square business cards, folded business cards, matte color business cards, etc. Keep in mind that only standard size cards fit in business card holders.
If all of this information is too much to handle and you’d like a simpler, quicker way, we have good news for you: there’s plenty of good business card templates out there.
We have 13 free professional business card templates that you can easily edit and are already preset with the right dimensions, ratio, color schemes and safe and bleed areas. Of course, if these 13 designs aren’t your cup of tea, you can find many templates on platforms like Behance, Dribbble, Canva, Pinterest, etc.
If you are a person who wants people to remember you for the extra flair even from your first meeting, take a look at these epic, quirky and endlessly creative business cards.
This, of course, takes a lot of graphic design knowledge and probably hiring a design studio, and templates rarely offer this value. But you never know when a eureka is going to hit!
Broke Bike Alley bike repair shop has an ingenious and useful business card: it’s not just a means of sharing information, but also a tool for quick repairs of bikes!
Image credit: Pinterest
Or this metal business card that doubles as a bass guitar tuner with pitch indicators, from the organizer of the Music Tech Festival.
Image credit: CDM.link
And even a foldable yoga mat for the future students of the Flow Yoga Studio!
Image credit: Pinterest
This divorce attorney split his business card in two equal halves, one for each divorcee.
Image credit: How did you come up with it?
And this cool photographer’s business card, that mimics a camera lens view.
Image credit: Pinterest
We hope this guide helped you learn the logistics of creating a business card or find yourself a useful template. If you’re still unsure of how to make one yourself, our designers at ManyPixels will be the perfect solution for you. Learn more about how it works.