Technology has transformed business communication and network from in-person to largely digital. Email and communication servers like Slack and Basecamp now govern many of our professional interactions. Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. While written communication is often paperless, you should always make sure you have a business card on hand. It’s the quickest and most effective way to introduce yourself to someone and ensure a lasting connection.
Not only do business cards convey important personal contact information such as name, title, email, website, address, and phone number, they also give a first impression of your business or brand. And as they say: You never get a second chance to make a great first impression!
In this article, we are going to go over the standard U.S. business card size in inches and pixels, cover the principles of business card design so that you will know how to efficiently use the little space you have on your double-sided card, and show you how to make your own business cards easily using the PicsArt app. We’ll also go over some successful examples of business card design, so you can have some templates in mind when you start your own.
What Is the Standard U.S. Business Card Dimension?
The standard U.S. business card size is 3.5 x 2 inches, or not larger than the size of a credit card (which they will likely end up next to in a wallet!). But it’s important to bear in mind that when you’re designing a card to be printed, there are a few other factors you should consider. The first is the bleed area.
Bleed is the term in printing used to describe the design elements that touch or extend beyond the edge of the page. To account for it in the printing process, printers use what’s called a bleed area, in which the designer will usually provide an extra ⅛ of an inch outside of the edge of the page to account for errors that may occur in the printing process. After trimming, the bleed ensures that everything looks spiffy, and there are no unprinted edges.
Another important factor you must consider when creating a business card is the margin, which designates a safe zone for the meat and potatoes of your design. It is set usually ¼ or ⅛ of an inch within the borders on all sides. It exists to ensure the important elements of your designs (that is, the text and the logo) don’t get cut off when the business card is printed out.
When you take the bleed area into account, the dimensions you should be using when you’re setting up your project are 3.75 x 2.25 inches. If you’re designing in the PicsArt app, you’ll be setting your dimensions in pixels, at 300 pixels per inch — a good default setting if you intend to send something to print, and the dimensions you will use (including the bleed area) are 1125 x 675 px.
The Dos and Don’ts of Business Card Design
Not all business cards are created equal. What makes a good business card depends on a lot of factors, but here are some basic dos and don’ts.
Display your company logo and brand prominently. Business cards have come to take on a life of their own in the modern era, and even seem to be their own genre. But it’s still important not to forget that they are functional. The entire point of a business card is to establish a line of communication between you and a new contact, so making sure your contact information is legible and easy to find is rule number one. Business card templates can help with this, but they’re also not necessary if you want to start from scratch.
Know your audience. The fonts used, color, texture, and paper stock used also conveys a message about the type of industry represented. This should align with the industry you’re selling your services and skills to. For example, if you’re a builder, maybe it’s not necessary to showcase a fancy typographic style. However, if you are a graphic designer, you may want to employ some savvy font pairings.
Aim for originality. While not overwhelming your new business connection with text and information in your business card is important, that doesn’t mean your card should be boring. Try to imbue it with some of your personality. That might mean a fun font or a unique shape. This will help your card stand out amongst others.
Play with textures. The beauty of business cards is that, unlike most business communications these days, they come in a physical form. As you design, consider the type of paper that you will use and how your designs will pair. There are many specialized printing techniques, each of which conveys certain qualities. Embossing, which is the process of creating raised or recessed reliefs in paper, can make your cards look authoritative. Using matted paper, which has a smooth, waxy coating, can help give a more modernist look. You can also be resourceful with materials. With all the concern over the environment these days, you can even get your business cards made out of recycled t-shirts!
Clutter your business card with too much information. Business cards are small and clutter easily. Try not to overdo it with the contact info (especially as social media accounts keep piling up these days). Keep it to the bare necessities. And don’t forget, your card is double-sided! Be efficient with that space.
Give in to gimmicks. It’s very tempting to use the business card as a way to showcase your sharp wit, creativity, and sense of humor. The thing about gimmick-y business cards is that they can be a hit or a miss. If they go over well, it could be a decent boon to your business, but when they don’t, it can come off cheesy and unprofessional. A good rule of thumb with business cards is: When in doubt, choose the simpler route.
Deviate from your brand’s aesthetic. Your business card should reflect the rest of your branding. Having a business card that looks totally different from your website or your stationery makes it harder for customers, clients, and colleagues to recognize your brand.
5 Examples of Business Cards That Work
Here are five examples of business cards that employ many of the principles we’ve discussed in this post, to help get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to make your own. Bear in mind, these are not necessarily common business cards, but ones that really pop. It’s up to you how simple or creative you want to get.
How To Design a Business Card Using PicsArt
If you’re on the PicsArt app, follow these easy instructions:
- Open the app and tap the plus icon at the bottom of the screen to start a new project.
- Scroll to the bottom of the screen and select a colored background.
- Select the Tools icon and click on the Crop tool.
- Make sure the Free Crop icon is selected. Then, at the top of the screen, tap on the dimensions. Doing so will conjure up a pop-up that allows you to type in your Custom Crop Ratio. Reminder: For a U.S. standard business card size, the dimensions are 1125 x 675 px with bleed.
- Next, tap on the Text icon at the bottom of your screen. Type in your contact information. Select the font you’d like to use.
- Click on the checkmark at the top right and place the text anywhere on your image.
- Lastly, if you have a logo to add, scroll to the right on the bottom menu and click the Add Photo icon.
- When you’re satisfied with your edits, save or post your image!