Trying to make business cards in Illustrator

I’m mostly a developer rather than a graphic designer - that being said, I haven’t worked with Illustrator too much but I’m trying. I work with Photoshop so it’s certainly not alien or anything like that.

Does anyone have a good resource, template, or tutorials that explicitly states the standard business card layout parameters/dimensions/units? I’ve found a lot of logo tutorials but what’s funny is that every single one skips over that sort of information rather than looking out for the inexperienced… oh well.

I found this link which I thought would do the trick, it gives you a template and even guides for the cut/safety lines, but at 100% it seems too small, as if something isn’t right:

…they have the Artboard at 3.75in X 2.25in

Thanks in advance!

Thanks guys…

I don’t really do much print work, but that tutorial seems pretty spot on as far as the basics of what you need. Standard business card size is 3.5 x 2 inches. The artboard of your template includes a 1/8 inch bleed…extra space on all sides that’ll be trimmed off…and guides for your ‘safe’ area to place all your text and design elements.

As far as the size not seeming right or too small on your monitor…it most likely isn’t exact. Below is a thread on the Adobe forum that I found that deals with this (in Photoshop) and tries to explain:

As stated in the Useful Tips section of the tutorial you posted, if you want to see what you’re file will look like (as far as size and text/graphics positioning), try test printing on your inkjet/personal printer.

Ask your printer what size you should work with (size with and without bleed just to make sure).

I just make a document at the scale of the card 3.5x2 then make the card graphics on it.

With graphics that go to the edge of the card you will need to talk to your printer about that. But I have never had any problem printing out regular cards with a little space around the edge.

Best way really would be to do all the graphics in illustrator, then set up the correct paper size and do the text in InDesign and import the graphics. Indesign will let you set up bleed etc to proper print specs much easier than illustrator. The way it works in industry is: Photoshop for pics, Illustrator for vectors (logos etc) and Indesign for type and to bring everything together.

The size of your business card is standard. It is sized so that it fits in peoples pockets and wallets. Not saying that unconventional sizes do not exist, but approach it with a better understanding of who you will be handing these out to.

A 3.5x2 with a .25 bleed is a standard set up. Illustrator (depending on your version) comes with sample business cards. Open > Programs >Adobe >Illustrator > (depending on your version it will vary here) Look for Template or a directory that might contain templates… you should find business card templates in there.

The templates should come with crop marks. The crop marks tell the printer where to cut your design. That’s why you have the bleed… in case your printer sneezes or something… and cuts a little off… your design is yet in tact. But fire your printer.