Looking to update your business stationery, and impress new clients at your next networking event? Are you unsure what is a standard business card size or what business card dimensions you should use?
This guide will take you through the standard sizing for business cards by country, and also take a look at a couple of ways you can make your business cards really stand out by choosing an unusual size, print finish or detail.
Looking for the perfect ready-made business card? Discover a huge range of business card templates on Envato Market.
Things to Note About Business Card Sizes
1. There is No Single ‘Standard Size’...
The first thing to talk about is that there is no single ‘standard business card size’ for a business card. Most countries will have a preferred average business card size which is more commonly used, but that’s not to say that other sizes aren’t also used by businesses based in that country. Choice of printer and personal preference are just two factors which might influence the dimensions of a business card.
2. ... and This is in Part Due to Historical Reasons
There’s also a historical dimension to business card sizing, which is why sizes can vary between countries. Today’s business cards can trace their roots back to 17th Century Europe, where cards were used as announcements for the arrival of aristocratic and other wealthy people back to their home town or even their own household. By the 19th Century these ‘calling cards’ or ‘visiting cards’ were widely popular amongst the middle and upper classes, with many houses featuring ornate card trays in the hallway for visitors to leave their cards in when leaving.
Printed cards were not only intended for social purposes. Tradesmen in Europe began using ‘trade cards’ which were given to a customer before or after a job was completed. They often featured maps detailing the trademan’s business premises, allowing the customer to get in touch easily. Originally these trade cards would have been produced on a press, but after 1830 it was more likely to have your card produced using lithograpic printing methods.
Europe, the Americas and other parts of the world adopted the trade card model and produced them according to their own cultural preferences. As the ways in which individuals carried their cards evolved (the modern bi-fold wallet only became standardized in the mid-20th Century when the first credit cards were introduced), so did the dimensions of business cards, which were adapted to fit inside wallets, purses or satchels accordingly. Over time, each country developed their own preferred standard size, which still tends to be the most commonly used size in that country today.
3. Technical Things to Note Before You Begin
Before you get started with designing your cards, check with your printer whether they have a standard size that they prefer to work with. If you want to go for a more unusual custom size you should also make sure to ask whether it would be difficult for them to print and cut the cards consistently. Nobody likes a business card with wobbly text!
Another thing to check is the printer’s preference for bleed dimensions. You should always provide your completed artwork with a bleed around the entire edge of the card, but the width of the bleed can vary between about 3 and 5 mm*, depending on the printer’s preference. So be sure to check in with them about that to avoid having to redo your artwork.
Note: All the standard business card sizes pictured below are illustrated with a 3 mm bleed.
You might also want to add some more unusual print finishes to your card design, such as rounded corners (which will require die cutting), foiling (to add metallic or floro touches), or laser-cutting (to create intricate internal designs, to mimic a lace effect). You should prepare your final artwork with these desired finishes in mind, or talk to your printer about how to set up the artwork according to their preferences.
Read on to find the most commonly used business card size in your country:
If You’re in the USA or Canada
The standard size of a business card here is 89 mm by 55 mm (or 3.5 by 2 inches).
If You’re in Western Europe
Aside from a few variations, European countries mostly share the same standard size for business cards. The UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium all tend to go for a slightly narrower average business card size at 85 mm by 55 mm (3.346 by 2.165 inches).
If You’re in Australia, New Zealand or Scandinavia
Australia and New Zealand share the same business card dimensions, as do Northern European countries Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Taiwan also shares the same size, which is 90 mm by 55 mm (3.54 by 2.165 inches), just ever so slightly wider than the American size.
If You’re in Japan
Japanese business cards are called ‘Meishi’, and they have a very specific ritual associated with how they are given. They are printed on a Japanese paper size called Yongo, which is 91 mm by 55 mm (3.582 by 2.165 inches) in diameter. It used to be traditional for women to have smaller cards (at ‘Sango’ size, about 3 and 3/8 by 2 inches); and it was also customary for these to have rounded corners.
Meishi are stored in special leather cases. When meeting a new business contact, the card is presented with both hands, held by the top two corners, allowing the recipient to be able to read the text on the card easily. The giver also introduces himself formally to the recipient at the same time. The recipient accepts the card by holding the bottom two corners of the card with both hands, taking care not to cover the name or other information on the card, which would be considered disrespectful. The recipient then reads the card, thanks the giver and bows. The card is then placed carefully inside his or her own leather case.
If You’re in China
The standard business card size used in China, Hong Kong and Singapore is 90 mm by 54 mm (3.543 by 2.125 inches).
If You’re in South America, Central America, Eastern Europe or South Africa
This card size is shared by a large number of countries across the world, including Argentina, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Latvia, Mexico and South Africa. The
typical business card size used here is 90 mm by 50 mm (3.543 by 1.968 inches).
If You’re in Iran
The Iranian standard card size is a little smaller than some of the others, at 85 mm by 48 mm (3.582 by 2.165 inches).
If You’re Looking for Something More International
Although there is no international standard card size, there are a couple of sizes that are more widely recognized by printers in different countries, and can serve as international crossovers as a result—which is perfect if your work involves meeting people across many different continents.
The ISO 7810 ID-1 size which is 85.6 mm by 53.98 mm (3.370 by 2.125 inches), is the size of most international ID and credit cards, and so will fit quite happily into most people’s wallets without a problem.
A little on the rarer and smaller side but nonetheless still an internationally recognised size is the ISO SO 216 (A8) which is 74 mm x 52 mm (2.913 by 2.047 inches) in diameter.
If You’re Looking for Something More Unusual
As businesses look for more ways to stand out from their competitors, business cards too are evolving and becoming ever more unique and eye-catching. Unusual dimensions of a business card are now becoming more common, with some printers offering services for producing smaller ‘minicards’ and even square cards. These sizes are great for creative businesses looking to produce a card that steps away from the norm.
Square cards are also great for showcasing Instagram-style photos; giving you just that extra bit of room to make more of a visual statement.
Go Forth and Make Fantastic Business Cards!
What I’ve hoped to show you here is that, although there are some standard sizes which are considered more common and normal in particular countries, there is also no single standard size for producing a card. As long as the card is reasonable practical and portable, you can consider creating a card at either a more standard size, or go for something a bit different, like a mini or square card.
Think about the real purpose of your business card—where will it be picked up or given? If it’s more important for somebody to keep the card to place in their wallet then a standard size is probably the wisest choice, but if you’re relying on the card to attract someone’s eye, say at a convention or in a shop, then you might want to go for a slightly different size that stands out a little more.
Subtle details added to your card can also make a difference. Adding rounded corners can soften the appearance of a card, making it feel more curved and tactile, as in the rounded business card template below:
Choosing a beautiful print finish can also add to the final look and feel of your cards. Why not choose a textured paper, teamed with embossed typography for a luxurious feel? Or why not choose an ultra-modern matte coated paper finish for a super-smooth, contemporary style?
Adding unusual texture, whether ‘faked’ with texture images or created using embossing or bevelling post-print techniques, can also add extra character to your cards and turn them into keepsakes for potential clients or customers.
Once you have chosen your preferred card size, you can get started with the fun stuff! Designing your own business cards can seem like a daunting task at first, but these top tips will give you plenty of food for thought:
Looking for a specific style of business card, or simply to get some more inspiration for your own designs? These premium card templates are a great place to start either way:
Stuck on what to actually include on your business card? This useful guide will help you to edit your details down and make a lasting connection with a prospective client:
You can also find a huge range of stylish business card templates over on Envato Market. Make sure to check it out!