Your business card is often the first touch point someone has with your business and brand. As such, it’s important to get your business card design right and it all starts by knowing the standard business card size in the US.
In this post, we’ll show you the standard U.S. business card size and show you the basic design components you need to keep in mind when designing your business card and teach you how to prepare your business card for printing.
You'll also learn the importance of using pre-made business card design templates to get cheap fast business cards. We'll show you the best professional pre-made business card templates from Envato Elements and Placeit, if you don't have the time it takes to start from scratch or need to design a business card quickly.
What's the U.S. Business Card Standard Size?
The standard U.S. business card size is 3.5 x 2 inches. This refers to the finished business card design that's printed out and ready to be handed out. However, as you’re designing your business card, there are a few other design components that you've got to take into consideration.
Without taking these into account, your business card design won’t be ready for printing and no printer will be able to print your finished design. Let’s discuss business card design and formatting components:
Basic Design & Formatting Components of a Standard U.S. Business Card
Before you set out to design your business card, you need to take the following formatting components into consideration:
- Bleed area. Most printed business cards include a bleed area that’s about ⅛ of an inch. This bleed area ensures your design elements such as background patterns or colored areas can extend beyond the edges of your card and give the appearance of the design bleeding off the card.
- Margin around the design safe area. This thin margin occupies an additional ⅛ of an inch to ensure your design isn’t cut off when the business card is printed out.
When you take the bleed area into account, the final dimensions that you need to set for your business card design document are 3,75 x 2.25 inches.
You also need to pay extra attention to your fonts as well as any graphic elements your business card will include. Given the small size of a business card, you want to make sure that your business information can be easily read. Therefore, you need to choose a legible font, which means sticking to traditional serif and sans-serif fonts is a smart choice.
Avoid adding too much graphics to your business card design as it can result in a finished design that’s too busy and distracting. Instead, opt for your logo and perhaps a patterned backside of the business card if you plan on leaving it empty.
Keep in mind that the information above refers to U.S. business cards. Business card sizes vary from one country to the next. If you’re looking to create an international business card design and want to know the proper dimensions, we've got a full guide on business card sizes that you can read.
How to Prepare Your Business Card for Printing
Once your business card design is complete, prepare it for printing before sending it off.
Step 1. Ensure You’ve Accounted For Bleed & Margin
The first step, as mentioned earlier, is to account for bleed and margin areas. That’s why you'll want to set your document size to 3,75” wide by 2.25” high.
Step 2. Set Your Document to CMYK
Almost all printers use the CMYK color mode. If you want your colors to print exactly as they are in your design, your document mode should be set to CMYK. If you’ve already designed your business card in RGB color mode, you can easily convert it to CMYK by going to Edit > Edit Colors > Convert to CMYK in Illustrator. The same option can be found in Photoshop and InDesign by going to Edit > Convert to Profile.
Step 3. Set the Resolution to 300 DPI
As you’re preparing your document, make sure to set the resolution to 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch). This ensures your business card design elements will be crisp and clear.
Step 4. Save Your Design as PDF & TIFF
The last step is to save your business card design as a PDF file and a TIFF file. Almost all print shops support PDF and TIFF file formats and sending your business card as both a PDF file and a TIFF file ensures your fonts can print correctly.
While most PDF files will embed fonts automatically, they can sometimes display incorrectly when your print shop opens them. Sending your files in TIFF format prevents this from happening and ensures your text displays exactly the way you want it to.
Design From Scratch vs Pre-made Business Card Design Template
So far, everything we’ve discussed so far has been about designing a business card from scratch.
However, if you need a business card quickly it pays to save time on the design process by using a pre-made business card template. Let’s go over the advantages of each method and discuss where you can find business card templates.
1. Advantages & Disadvantages of Designing a Business Card From Scratch
The biggest advantage you'll have when it comes to designing a business card from scratch is that you've the power to create a completely custom and unique design.
That unique business card design comes at the cost of learning how to use software like Adobe InDesign or Illustrator before you can create an effective design. You may even have to hire a designer!
If you’re not a designer but a business owner with a full plate, you've better ways to use your time. Not to mention, with a pre-made business card template you don’t have to worry about getting the size right, setting up bleed marks, margins, and placing your design in a print-safe area.
2. Advantages & Disadvantages of Pre-made Business Card Templates
The number one advantage of pre-made business card templates is that a pre-made template saves you a ton of time. They're a good way to get cheap business cards quickly.
A second advantage of pre-made business card design templates is that they can easily be customized to your needs.
To start, professionally designed templates have already been designed with the standard U.S. business card dimensions in mind. They've got all the necessary bleed marks and margins so all you've got to do is edit the dummy content with your information.
With a pre-made business card template you might be worried that your business card will look like everyone else’s. However, with all the customization options such as changing colors, fonts, adding your own logo, and changing the background, you can easily make your business card design unique.
Where to Find U.S. Business Card Templates With Standard Dimensions
If you’re looking for U.S. business card design templates that use the standard dimensions, your first stop should be Envato Elements. Envato Elements offers thousands of professionally designed business card templates for one low monthly price.
Here are a few examples of business card templates that you can find on Envato Elements. (And these are just a few of the high-quality business card design ideas that you'll find on Elements.)
This beautiful minimalist business card design template has clean design lines and allows you to easily add a background element that'll set your business card apart. You can, for example, add a solid color background or a pattern. The business card is set to the U.S. standard business card dimensions complete with bleed marks and you can easily edit it in Photoshop or Illustrator.
This modern business card design features a stylish colored and diagonal strip that makes the entire design more dynamic. You can easily change colors, fonts, and add your logo. This template can be edited in Photoshop and was designed in the standard U.S. business card size along with a proper bleed area.
Try this colorful business card template if you want a nice and vibrant design. You can easily replace the back with a pattern or texture of your choice or even opt for a solid color fill. You can also easily customize the fonts to match the rest of your brand. You can edit this template in Photoshop, and it was designed in the standard U.S. size along with the bleed area.
This clean business card template is a great choice if you’re going for a minimal yet elegant look. The template features elegant sans-serif fonts paired with a traditional black and white design. Edit the template using InDesign, export it as both PDF and TIFF, and send it off to your favorite print shop. The template also includes well-organized layers so you can easily make adjustments.
The best part about Envato Elements is that you can download as many business card templates and use them as many times as you like. On top of that, you can also download other items such as fonts, patterns, and icons that you can use to spice up the design of your business card.
Design Cheap Business Cards Online Quickly With Placeit
Another option for designing business cards is using an online business card maker like Placeit.
The benefit of this approach is that you don’t have to download and learn any complicated design software. All you need is your browser and you can quickly find a professional business card design, customize the colors, fonts, and graphics, enter your information, and download a print-ready file.
Recap: Business Card Design - What You Need to Know
We’ve covered a lot of ground today. Let’s quickly recap the main points we talked about.
- A standard U.S. business card size is 3,5 x 2 inches when printed. However, you've got to add additional ⅛ of an inch for the bleed area if you’re using colored backgrounds to ensure there's no white border around your business card, which can look weird. This means you should set your document to 3,75 x 2.25 inches.
- Before printing your business card, make sure it’s print-ready. This includes setting the resolution to 300DPI, converting the color mode to CMYK, and exporting a finished design as both PDF and TIFF file.
- You can save a lot of time when designing a business card by using a pre-made business card template.
- A great place to start your search for a business card template is Envato Elements. This subscription-based marketplace allows you to download as many business card templates as you want as well as thousands of other design assets and use them in an unlimited number of projects, all for one low monthly price.
- If you only need one business card template and prefer to buy your design assets on an as needed basis, check out GraphicRiver. Here, you'll find thousands of pre-made business cards with beautiful designs and in the standard U.S. size that can be bought individually.
- Lastly, to design your business card quickly, check out an online business card maker like Placeit.
Create the Business Card Size You Need Today
Getting your business card the right size is important if you want it to have a professional look and feel that makes a great first impression of your brand. With the tips in this article, you'll be well on your way towards ensuring your business card is the right size and includes all the necessary design components.
You've also just learned how to get cheap business cards that look professional without the expense of hiring a designer by using pre-made business card design templates. You'll save time during the design process and skip the manual process of adding bleeds and margins. Best of all, there are thousands of professionally designed business card templates from Envato Elements. Or buy individual business card design templates from GraphicRiver or consider using an online business card maker like Placeit.