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Business cards are an important part of professional networking and getting your new (or refreshed) business in the hands and minds of the right people. With that said, there’s a common misconception that business cards HAVE to be a specific size.
While there are standard sizes, you can make a bold statement about your business by opting for an alternative size instead. So, what is the standard size? Should you go for rounded corners or square?
If you’re not sure, you’re in the right place! In this article, I cover the standard business card sizes in different areas of the world, the most popular alternative sizes, the round vs. square corner debate, and the different thicknesses to choose from.
So, let’s start at the beginning.
What Is the Standard Size of a Business Card?
Standard business card sizes vary slightly depending on where you live. But, they’re all rectangular in shape and very close in size. So, here are the standard business card sizes for a few different countries around the world:
- US and Canada — 3.5” x 2” (1050px by 600px)
- Ireland, UK, and Western Europe — 3.346” x 2.165” (1003.8px by 649.5px)
- Mexico and Eastern Europe — 3.543” x 1.968” (1062.9px by 590.4px)
- Japan — 3.582” x 2.165” (1074.6px by 649.5px)
- Australia — 3.54” x 2.165” (1062px by 649.5px)
Most of the differences are too small to notice so it doesn’t matter which one you choose although some professional printing companies may require you to use a specific size.
Furthermore, most print media uses what’s called a bleed area. This is usually a ⅛” extension passed the standard business card dimensions. So, in the United States, your actual design would be 3.75” x 2.25” to account for the extra ⅛” on every side.
But, the additional bleed area is trimmed off.
Why Do Business Cards Come in a Standard Size?
This isn’t the standard size… on accident. It’s actually by design. Business cards should be roughly the same size as a credit card, insurance card, or driver’s license, so they easily fit inside your wallet.
You don’t want a potential client to have to fold or deform your card to get it to fit, and you also don’t want it to get lost in the black abyss of someone’s wallet or purse if it’s too small. So, this standard rectangular size helps ensure it stays intact and in an easily accessible place.
Popular Alternative Business Card Sizes
Although most business cards are a standard rectangular shape, there are quite a few popular alternative sizes small business owners consider when designing their new business cards.
These may help your business stand out from the rest, but it’s important to keep in mind why most business cards are the size they are — the same size as a credit card, so they fit in a standard size wallet or business cardholder.
Smaller cards are easier to lose, and larger cards may not fit in someone’s wallet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them. So, if you’re looking for a unique design that’s more out of the box, these popular alternative sizes may do the trick:
- Square — 2.5” x 2.5”
- Slightly larger than the US standard — 3.346” x 2.165”
- Portrait rather than landscape — 2” x 3.5”
- Folded business card — 3.5” x 4” then folded in half
- Slim and sleek — 3.5” x 1.75”
- Mini — 2.75” x 1.1”
It’s also important to note that some of these sizes may not be an option depending on the professional printing service you go through. And the smaller the card, the less information you can include.
Lastly, consider creating cards of different sizes to see what looks best as you go through the process of designing your business cards. You may even want to order different sizes for different occasions to make a lasting impression.
What Are the Advantages of Non-Standard Sized Business Cards?
As you’ve seen, non-standard business cards are an excellent way to make your business stand out and take a rebellious stance against following the norm. This simple choice can say a lot about who you are and how you run your business. But, it can also:
- Give you more space to work with (if you need it)
- Give you less space to work with if you don’t have a lot to say
- Help when doing business internationally
- Make your cards easier to hold onto
- Weigh less and cost less (for smaller sizes)
- Help you stand out in a sea of other cards
So, carefully consider your target audience’s preferences, where you do business and the context of how potential customers or clients get your business cards in the first place. At the end of the day, these should all play a role in your final decision.
Should You Opt for Rounded or Square Corners?
Square business cards are standard for most business cards, but rounded corners are an easy way to make your cards stand out and give them a softer appearance. However, if you’re going for a sleek, timeless look, square corners may be the better option.
If you’re not sure which route to go, try printing off two copies of your design in the right size with your printer at home. You can either design one of them to have rounded corners or cut them after you print.
This can help give you a physical idea of what each style looks like with your specific design.
One final thing to think about is rounded corners won’t get damaged as easily as square corners. Round corners won’t snag as someone puts it in their wallet, so it may hold up better over time. But with that said, the choice is entirely up to you.
How Thick Should a Business Card Be?
Business cards come in a wide variety of different thicknesses. And the thickness you choose depends on factors like:
- The tone you want to portray (i.e. a feminine brand may want thinner cards)
- What your target audience prefers and how they’re going to use it
- Your budget
Furthermore, most professional printing services offer a variety of different thicknesses you can choose from. These different thicknesses are measured in points, and the higher the number, the thicker (and more expensive) the cardstock is.
The two most common thicknesses for business cards are 14pt (or 0.014” like a postcard) and 16pt (or 0.016” like a greeting card). But, carefully consider who your target audience is and how they may handle your business cards.
Final Thoughts on Business Card Sizing
Whether you’re after something sleek and timeless or something a bit more quirky, you have a lot of different sizes, styles, and thicknesses to choose from. If you’re just getting started, consider opting for the cheapest business card design option to start getting your contact information out there.
You can redesign and get more creative once you know more about your target audience and start making enough money with your new business to justify the added expenses that come with fancier business cards.