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What Size Are Business Cards?

What Size Are Business Cards?

The standard size for business cards are:

– Standard North American Size: 3.5″ x 2″ (89 mm x 51 mm)

– Standard European Size: 85 mm x 55 mm

– ISO/International Standard Size: 85.60 mm x 53.98 mm

– Japanese Size: 91 mm x 55 mm

– Square Business Cards: Typically 2.5″ x 2.5″ (63 mm x 63 mm)

– Mini or Slim Business Cards: Various smaller sizes

– Die-cut or Custom Shapes: Dimensions vary based on design

There are plenty of variations available though, so although these options are considered to be the norm for most business cards, they can also be much smaller, different shapes and thicknesses, as well as finished in all manner of ways.

Read on for further insight into the variety of business cards available and the sizes they tend to be.

What Is A Business Card?

A business card is a small piece of cardboard/plastic or an electronic file that contains the contact information of an individual for their business activities. They’re a way of exchanging contact information with others in a convenient way. Whilst traditionally this is done in person when meeting or at events, it can also be done online.

They’re often viewed as a marketing tool as they serve as a physical reminder of an interaction and people tend to hold on to them for a long period of time, with many keeping them on their person or work desk for future reference.

Well designed business cards can create a talking point and memorable moment in business, so can be a great way to make a good first impression for work.

How Big are Standard Business Cards?

The standard size of a business card is around the size of a credit card. This measures 3.5 inches x 2 inches and it’s big enough to include essential contact information without being cumbersome to store or carry around.

Mini business cards and other varieties are also available and these can appeal to more modern individuals looking to create a memorable statement with their cards by using different shapes, sizes and textures.

Whilst the standard business card is fairly well known, there are ultimately no rules when it comes to business cards and you can choose to use any size / design or style that you wish.

Origins of the Business Card

Business cards have been used for centuries as a way to help people exchange contact details. Some sources say they originated in CHina when courtiers would exchange calling cards to announce their presence at meetings and events.

Mediaeval Europe and noblemen are another theory, with coats of arms on cards being exchanged to identify themselves to others. From the 18th century businesscards started to look a bit more like what we imagine today, with business and professional information included.

Today, business cards still hold a place in professional networking and meet and greets for those who need to build and maintain strong relationships with others for work.

What to Include on Business Cards

The size of a business card will impact how much and what information can be included. Standard business cards will usually include a person’s name, job title, qualifications, direct telephone number or mobile, email address and company name, logo and website as a minimum.

Quite often, further information can be available such as the business address, or switchboard number for their office. If space allows, you can include your business tag line, or list out products and services to make it clear how you can help someone when exchanging contact details.

Opening hours or office hours when you’re available can also be included but as this information can change fairly rapidly, you may choose not to include that as it can be expensive to reprint a batch of business cards when doing it regularly.

When to Give Out Business Cards

You can give out business cards when you meet someone who you want to speak to again. This usually occurs in a business setting, but you can also use your business card to share contact information in an easy way in personal settings too.

For example, if attending a business seminar for work, you may get talking to others in your field or with complementary skill sets that you would like to work with again in the future. You could exchange business cards in this situation.

If you are shopping in a store and you need to provide contact information to complete the sale, you could hand over your business card for the person gathering the information to be able to easily refer to the information in front of them.

Business cards can also be left in public places as a form of advertising. For example, community notice boards, libraries, coffee shops or post offices.

Don’t be shy about giving out business cards. Take any chance you can to hand out your cards and you can help to promote your business and make valuable connections.

Basic Business Card Etiquette

It can be natural to feel awkward about the right way to do things, particularly in business, because your actions have the potential to impact the perception that others have about you and your business.

When it comes to business card etiquette, it’s an easy path to follow, so don’t worry about doing it wrong.

  • Face the person that you’re passing your business card to. This is the most respectful way to pass on your details.
  • If you are asking for the business card of somebody else, do so in a private way, away from others. You don’t want to embarrass them if they don’t have one for example or don’t want to appear rude by singling them out over others in a group setting.
  • Ensure that the details on your card are accurate when giving it out. It will leave a poor reputation if some has to try and contact you with the wrong telephone number.
  • Exchange cards at the beginning or end of a meeting, not in the middle as it causes a distraction.
  • Only give out cards in good condition. Ditch any bend or ripped ones in the bin.

Business Card Etiquette Around the World

Business cards are a fairly universal concept in business, but customers and expectations can vary slightly between countries. Keep these things in mind when working internationally:

China

China has lots of languages but simplified Chinese is the most often used in major cities of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. You should have a Chinese version of your card ready to exchange in these countries so as not to appear disrespectful.

In China, business cards commonly include details about the success of a company, so adding something that sets your business apart like ‘largest tech company in the UK’ can be helpful and appreciated. Red is considered a lucky colour in China, so you may want to have a red version made up too.

Japan

Japanese culture is full of customs and traditions and exchanging business cards can feel like a ceremony in itself. Your business card should have Japanese on one side and English on the other.

When exchanging cards, it’s important to note that you should accept a card with hands open and facing upwards. When you have received the card, bow to show respect and then introduce yourself verbally. Reading out the name of the person who has given you their card is also a sign of respect and indicates that you have read it and will not forget their name.

India

In India, you should deliver your card to someone only using your right hand and it’s also commonplace to include your qualifications and credentials on your card. This information is considered valuable in India.

Common Mistakes When Designing Business Cards

Every mm of space counts on a business card so it’s important to ensure the design is optimised for efficiency and aesthetics. When designing your business cards, make sure that you:

  • Include enough contact information and that it’s clearly legible.
  • The materials are of good quality. A nice thick business card, or one that has a film over it, is far more appealing than a flimsy piece of paper that’s bent in the corners.
  • Don’t overcrowd the design. Less is more so try to utilise colours rather than too many graphics to symbolise your branding.
  • Tell people what to do with a call to action (CTA). This could be ‘call for a consultation’ or ‘Visit our website for offers’ etc.

By avoiding these simple mistakes, you can get the most from your business cards.

Where to Buy Business Cards?

Business cards can be produced by any reputable printer, and if you have a decent print facility at work, you can even create your own.

Consider the quality of the card that you want in terms of finish, thickness, colours, shapes and size. This may narrow down your choices when it comes to printers or business card suppliers.

Online printing companies are a great place to start and will often provide a competitive quote online in seconds. Whilst striking the right balance of quality is important, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on business cards. They will ultimately end up in the bin if you need to update your contact details, so consider if ordering 500 is the right thing to do, just to get a better unit price. For most people a much smaller amount will be sufficient.

What to do when Given a Business Card

When you are given a business card, you should thank the person and look at the card that you’ve been given. Even if you have no intention of making contact or following up, the polite thing to do is to acknowledge the person in front of you. Perhaps say that it’s been a pleasure to meet them, or indicate when you may be able to follow up.

Commonly, people who attend networking events and exchange business cards tend to follow up with the people they have spoken to afterwards. This can be via LinkedIn, email or telephone, but it’s a great way to show that you value meeting them and would like to work together in the future, as well as being good manners.

Final Thoughts

In a digital age, business cards may seem redundant but this pocket size networking tool can still work wonders for connecting like minded professionals and individuals all around the world.

Aside from being a useful way to share your contact details with others, exchanging a business card is a physical signal of your intention to follow up with someone again.

Exchanging business cards is a sign of mutual respect and can help to form lasting connections, open the door to new partnerships and opportunities that otherwise may not have been possible.

Whilst the standard European business card size is 85 mm x 55 mm, you can see from this post that there are plenty of other options available.

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