If you are creating a custom business card design, the first thing you need to decide on is the size of the design. The standard size of a printed business card is 3.5" x 2", but when you are creating a design for a 3.5" x 2" card you actually need to use a larger design size.
This article will explain what the proper design size is for a custom business card, and will also explain how you can convert inches to pixels while creating your design.
What Size in Inches for a Business Card Design?
Instead of using a 3.5" x 2" size for your business card design, you should use a size of 3.75" x 2.25". This size increase results from using 0.125" "bleeds" on each edge of the business card design. Bleeds are there to cover any potential white space that might result from the cutter shifting the paper during cutting. Check out the diagram below to see how bleeds work:
As the diagram above shows, you should keep all important design elements inside of the 3.25" x 1.75" "safe design zone". This ensures that your essential design elements will be centered on the card even if the cutter is off by a tad bit.
The "no type area" should include background colors/watermarks, but no text, as this is the area where the card will be cut. Same goes for the "bleed area" – even though the bleed area is outside of the 3.5" x 2" card design, some of the cards will include a tad bit of the bleed area due to shifting during the cutting process. By including this bleed area you ensure that your cards won't have slivers of white on the edges if there is any shifting during the cutting process.
Please note that our business card printing process requires the 0.125" bleeds, but other printers may require different bleed sizes. Check with your printer prior to creating your design to see what bleed size they require.
What Size in Pixels for a Business Card Design?
Some designers prefer to size their images in pixels as opposed to inches. If you want to use pixels instead of inches, use a conversion of:
Size in Inches x Dots Per Inch (DPI) = Size in Pixels
So, if your printer requires 360 Dots Per Inch, your design size should be 1350 x 810 pixels instead of 3.75" x 2.25". To break it down further, your safe design zone should be 1170 x 630 pixels, your no type area should be a 45 pixel buffer on each side of the card, and your bleed area should be an additional 45 pixel buffer on each side of the card.
If your printer uses a different DPI setting (300 and 350 are other common DPI settings), adjust the formula to come up with your new numbers. Click this link to learn more about the design lines and cutting process.
Once your custom business card design is ready, click here to order your custom business cards from BusinessCards.org!