Growing Your Business 101
What is standard business card size?
Standard business card size varies depending on where you are. In the United states, the most common size, and what most people would consider standard business card size is exactly 3.5” x 2.0”. This is usually printed in landscape format, meaning the 3.5” is the width of the business card, and 2.0” is the height.
In Europe, and much of the world that uses the metric system, the standard business card size is 85mm x 55mm. This is a bit shorter in length, and bit taller in height then standard business cards in the USA.
There are also additional variations that are considered to be standard and not every manufacturer adheres to the exact cutting specifications and thus you will often end up with a slightly varying range of sizes when you view a stack of cards in your Rolodex. A good manufacturer of business cards will assure that every card is cut as close as possible to the same size so when you receive a box of new cards, they all have a consistent size.
The thickness of the card is also an important measurement. Most standard cards you find at office supply stores are about 10pts thickness, or 0.010” inch. The supplier will note this as 10PT, or sometimes by wight, 100# card stock ( pronounced 100 pound card stock). Premium cards are often thicker and feel more rigid and durable in the hand. Our standard business cards are printed on 16PT stock, which equates to 0.016” thickness. This is nearly double the thickness of ordinary office supply business cards. Premium versions with silk coatings become thicker at 17PT - 18PT.
When designing the graphics for business card, you must take the final size the printer will run into account. You also have to observe a few guidelines to avoid words too close to the edges, and an unprofessional result. The most common mistake we see is important content placed too close to the edge. This is not a good idea. We recommend you keep all important text and images atleast 1/8” away from the outer edge of the card. The reason for this is text too close to the edges can be cut off during production. Cards are not printed on small card size sheets, but on much larger sheets. After printing is completed, the large sheet is cut down to the final size of the business card.
This leads us to the second most common mistake. The design cannot be made the same size as the cards final size. Whaaat? Yes, you heard correctly, the design of the artwork supplied for printing must not be the same size as the final size of the card. It should be 1/8” larger on each side of the card. This means a US standard size of 3.5” x 2” should be provided as a design that is 3.75” wide X 2.25” tall. The extra size around the edges is called bleed. The artwork that extends into this bleed area is usually the background and any artwork you don't mind getting trimmed off. This area is meant to be cutt off during the prodcution process above when the cards are cut to the final size.