How Big is a Standard Size Business Card?

You can get creative but ideally your cards should be a certain size

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Bear, Jacci Howard. "How Big is a Standard Size Business Card?" ThoughtCo, Jun. 15, 2017, thoughtco.com/standard-business-card-size-1077305. Bear, Jacci Howard. (2017, June 15). How Big is a Standard Size Business Card? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/standard-business-card-size-1077305 Bear, Jacci Howard. "How Big is a Standard Size Business Card?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/standard-business-card-size-1077305 (accessed September 23, 2017).
Business card thumbnail sketches
Business card thumbnail sketches. illustration by Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com

Although business cards can be any size or shape and made of any material, most of them are paper rectangles of standard dimensions.

The typical business card size in the U.S. (and most countries) is 3.5 inches by 2 inches. Most of the templates you find in desktop publishing or business card software, and the free business card templates on the Web are designed for this size card. 

Ideally, your card will be big enough to include pertinent information about your and your business, and small enough to fit in a wallet or pocket.

 

Eastern Countries and Business Cards

For the most part in Western countries, business cards are exchanged as a formality, and there's no expectation by either party about how to receive the card or any real etiquette to who hands out their card first. 

But in some Eastern cultures, particularly Japan, there are some societal rules about how to give a business card (known as a meishi) to another person. The card is to be presented using both hands, held at the corners to the receiver can read the printed information. It's considered rude to cover that information. 

Then, the person who is receiving the card should read the card and thank the presenter. It's sort of a nicer way to handle the business card transaction; most of us know too well the feeling of handing a business card to someone we want to connect with only to see the person shove it in their pocket without glancing at it. 

Designing Business Cards

They can be horizontal (landscape) (3.5 inches wide or long and 2 inches tall) or vertical (portrait) (3.5 inches tall and 2 inches wide). Landscape is the most common orientation, but this is an area where you can get a little creative; as long as you keep the dimensions the same, a vertically-oriented card will fit just as well in someone's wallet.

Folded business cards (also called double or brochure business cards) are usually about 3.5 inches by 4 inches folded to 3.5 by 2. They can be designed as top fold cards or side fold. These are a little trickier because the fold adds bulk, and might be a tougher fit in the recipient's wallet or pocket. 

When designing business cards with a bleed, use a document size of 3.75 inches by 2.25 inches. For a folded business card with bleed, the document would be 3.75 inches by 4.25 inches.

As a general guideline, use margins of at least 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch to avoid having text or images cut off unintentionally in the printing and cutting process.

Standard Sizes for Business Cards

Countries that use ISO paper sizes may use A8 or ID-1 sizes for standard business cards. But no matter what the standard is in your country you aren't obligated to use a specific size business cards.

You can be as creative as you like with design and size, but it's always best to consider the person receiving the card. The whole point of the business card exchange is to give someone your contact information. If the card is cumbersome or hard to read, you've wasted your time and probably annoyed the person who now has your card.