Look around at your next networking event. Chances are, the vast majority of business cards being exchanged are the same size. At some point over the decades, someone decided American business cards should be 3.5” x 2” and that size stuck.
But just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. In fact, there can be benefits to choosing a different size or shape. In a sea of rectangles, your business card will stand out, which means it’s more likely you’ll make a lasting impression. But there can be a few negatives to thinking outside the box, as well. Here’s everything you need to know about business card sizes and dimensions.
1. Playing it safe with standard sizes
At the mention of the words “business card,” the image of a standard business card usually comes to mind. Of course, the biggest benefit to having a business card this size is the affordability of printing. You’ll be able to choose from a wide range of printing services, which means you can shop around and get the best deal available.
Another benefit is that the world is geared toward 3.5” x 2” business cards. When you hand a standard-size business card to someone, that person likely adds it to at least a small stack of previously-collected cards. Your new contacts may even have a business card holder or an app that scans business cards. Not having a standard size means your card may end up in a trash can simply because it doesn’t fit.
If you do business outside of the U.S., though, it’s important to keep in mind that what’s standard here isn’t standard everywhere. Here are the standard business card sizes for various areas of the world:
- Canada and U.S.: 3.5” × 2”
- Japan: 3.582” × 2.165”
- Ireland, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Slovenia, Portugal, Turkey: 3.346” × 2.165”
- Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan, Sweden, Vietnam, India, Colombia: 3.54” × 2.165”
- Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia: 3.543” × 2.125”
- Iran: 3.346” × 1.889”
- Sri Lanka, Argentina, India, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Latvia, Mexico, South Korea and South Africa: 3.543” × 1.968”
2. Classic is classy
Sure, someday we’ll all be paying for everything with our phones and smartwatches. However, plastic still rules when it comes to buying things. That means everyone you meet is likely carrying a wallet full of credit cards.
Although it’s slightly shorter and wider than a standard business card, at 3.375” x 2.125”, a credit card-sized business card will slide handily into a slot in someone’s wallet. That’s not only convenient for your connections, but you, as well. You can make sure you always have at least one or two of your own business cards on you, which is ideal for when you run into someone on the street or during your personal travels. Of course, two downsides are that it won’t fit into standard business card holders and it will stand out slightly in a stack of cards. Though the latter could be considered a good thing.
3. Beef it up
Slightly larger than credit card-sized business cards, chubby business cards stand out. They measure 3.5” x 2.5” in size, which means they’ll jump out of that stack of cards your associates are collecting. These cards also won’t fit into standard business card holders.
One of the biggest benefits of a chubby business card is the extra room. This makes it ideal for business owners that need to squeeze a great deal of information into a small space. It can also be used to accommodate a larger graphic. If you don’t need the extra real estate on the card, you can incorporate plenty of whitespace to make your messaging stand out.
4. All over the board
Today’s businesses know that to stand out, you need to think outside of the box with your business card. There’s no shortage of custom sizes, including the always-popular square design, which is usually 2.5” x 2.5”. The biggest issue with a custom size is printing. Before you choose a designer to put your business card together, track down a printing service that offers that size at a price that fits within your budget. Otherwise, you’ll find that you have a great design with no one to print it for you.
In recent years, one custom size that has become popular is 3.5″ x 4″, which folds to 3.5” x 2”. This gives you plenty of space for your brand messaging while also handily fitting in standard business card holders. It’s important to ensure, before you choose this card size, that you can find a printer that will fold the cards for you. Otherwise, plan to spend hours folding your business cards after they arrive.
5. Fun with shapes
Size isn’t the only way a business card can stand out. Even a small change like rounded corners can help your business card pop without the negatives of having an odd size. The best thing about standard cards with rounded edges is that they can easily slide into a business card holder or stack of cards, while also being slightly different.
But if you really want to stand out, consider one of the many custom-shaped cards available. This may require you going by the printer, rather than the designer, when creating a card. But nowadays the possibilities are endless: a writer may choose a typewriter-shaped card, for instance, while a coffee shop might go with a card shaped like a cup of coffee. The more creative the better.
6. Designing for success
No matter what size or shape you choose for your business card, the right designer can make all the difference. You can actually save money by putting your effort into a design that stands out on a standard-sized card. You’ll be able to find a good deal on printing while also creating a card your contacts will want to keep.
Although many online printers offer do-it-yourself services, the problem is that you’ll run the risk of having the same design as everyone else in your industry. Online templates are also limited on what they can do. By working with a professional, you can describe exactly what you want and have it provided in a ready-to-print format. Your designer can even get a feel for your brand personality and tailor a business card to fit.
Today’s online printers give professionals plenty of options when it comes to business card shapes and sizes. However, no matter what shape or size you go for, a good design can help your card stand out more than anything else.