The preferred file format for business cards is an Adobe PDF (.pdf). Adobe Illustrator (.ai) and Adobe InDesign (.indd) files also work well. These three programs have excellent color management.
Note: If you send an InDesign file, please be sure to package it (
File → Package) and send the whole package folder.
We can also accept files in the following formats: Adobe Photoshop (.psd), .jpg, and .tiff. If you send your files in any of these formats, please make sure that the resolution is set at 300 dpi. Also, be aware that these file types lack the advanced color management of Illustrator, InDesign, and PDF files.
Fonts + Strokes
For best results, you should outline all the type in your file. You should also outline strokes.
Size + Bleeds +Margins
The standard business card size is 3.5″ x 2″. Other common sizes include 3.5″ x 1.5″ (skinny) and 3.5″ x 2.5″ (chubby).
Many printed designs bleed – the term for artwork that touches the edge of the paper. If your design bleeds, you should include an extra 1/8″ of design that is meant to be cut off. This includes photos, solid backgrounds, patterns, and anything else that extends to the edge of the card.
You should also leave a margin of at least 1/8″ around the finished size of the card, because printing and cutting may vary ever so slightly. We call this the “safe zone”. You should put anything that is important (logos, text, etc.) within this safe zone.
A Note About Borders
Using borders close to the trim in your artwork can compromise the intended look of your product. When using borders, we recommend a margin of at least 1/2″, again due to the registration variances of printing.
Note: If you plan to have any kind of border, we recommend that you make it at least 1/4″ thick. If you don’t, variance in printing and cutting can become very obvious.
Note: When you export your document to PDF from Illustrator or InDesign, be sure to include the bleed area. In Photoshop, you should set your resolution to 300 dpi, and your document size to 3.75″ x 2.25″.