Regardless of whether you’re a Vecteezy contributor designing templates for our users or a business owner looking for quality marketing materials, you’ll want to know the standard sizes that are used for business cards, brochures, and flyers. On this page, you’ll find details that will answer the most common questions related to the size and specs of these types of printed materials.

About the Bleed and Safe Zone

There are two important concepts to keep in mind when you are work on a design that will be printed: the bleed and the safe zone. Designing for print requires that you leave a little bit of room for error. If you’re designing a smaller item, like a business card, the design will be printed on paper and then cut. If the cut is not 100% precise, a thin white line at the edge of the paper could be visible where the design ends. This is why you’ll always want to make sure you include a bleed in your artwork file.

The “bleed” area essentially extends the design or background color so the card is printed slightly larger than it will be cut. Since the design and printing extend beyond the cut, there will be no edges without printing. This prevents those thin white lines along the edges.

Another factor that needs to be considered is the proximity of text or other important elements to the edges of the design. You don’t want any of these important elements to be so close to the edge of the design that they might be in danger of being cut off. Imagine printing 1,000 business cards only to have your website address or phone number partially cut off!

You can account for this by leaving a “safe zone” around the edges of the design where no important details will be included. That way if the trim is slightly off, it won’t cause any problems.

Bleed and Safe Zone

When you’re looking at a print template, you may see visual guides for the bleed and the safe zone. The bleed will be on the outside and the safe zone directly inside the bleed, as shown in the image above. When you’re designing, you’ll want to include the color and background through the safe zone and bleed all the way to the edge of the canvas, but keep all text and important details away from those areas.

If you’re using a commercial printer, be sure to check their instructions for designing and submitting your files. Each printer will have its own procedures and their instructions have been established to help customers get the best results. Throughout this article, we’ll cover the standard sizes for several different items, along with the bleeds. However, if your printer’s instructions are to use a different size for the bleed or if it contradicts our advice in some other way, be sure to follow the printer’s instructions. They know the specific process they’ll be using to print your design, so they can give the most specific advice.

You’ll also want to check with your printer for details like the preferred file type. In general, PDF is a good choice because it’s very versatile. You may want to save a working copy of your design in AI (Illustrator) or EPS format, but the printer may prefer to receive PDFs or another file type.

Related: How to Prepare a Digital Art File for Print

Standard Size for Business Cards

The finished, standard size of a business card is 3.5 inches by 2 inches (8.9 cm by 5.1 cm). With the bleed, most business card design files or templates will measure 3.75 inches by 2.25 inches. That leaves 1/8 of an inch around each of the edges for the bleed. You can also use a safe zone of 1/8 inch (0.125 inches).

When you’re designing a business card, you may want to avoid using borders or thin lines around the edges of the design. If the trim is slightly off, the border or thin lines may not look the way you intend.

Of course, not all business cards are the standard size. You could go with a larger or smaller size to make your card stand out, but there are some significant downsides to this as well. If your card is not a standard size, it won’t fit nicely in a stack of other cards that are the standard size, and it might not fit properly in a wallet. For these reasons, the safe approach is to simply go with the standard size.

Standard Sizes for Brochures

There are several different types and sizes of brochures, as well as options for folding the paper in different ways. We’ll cover the most popular options here, but there are many more possibilities if you choose to go with something that’s not standard.

You should design with a safe zone of at least 1/8 of an inch, or 0.125 inches. Just like designing business cards, it is advised that you avoid using thin borders or lines around the edges of the design.

8.5 x 11 Inches

One of the most popular types of brochures is the tri-fold. The most common size for a finished tri-fold brochure is 8.5 by 11 inches (21.6 cm by 27.9 cm). This means that a brochure can be printed on standard letter-size paper (brochures are usually printed on heavier, thicker paper) and then folded into thirds. The same size can also be used for half-fold brochures.

With a 1/8 inch bleed, the dimensions of the design file will be 8.75 inches by 11.25 inches.

8.5 x 5.5 Inches

This is the smallest of the common brochure sizes (21.6 cm by 14 cm). It’s exactly half the size of standard letter paper but can be appropriate for brochures that don’t need to include a lot of information. The most common folds for this size are half-fold and tri-fold.

With a 1/8 bleed, the dimensions of the design file will be 8.75 inches by 5.75 inches.

11 x 17 Inches

A finished brochure that is 11 by 17 inches (27.9 cm by 43.2 cm) can be folded in half to get two letter-sized pages (8.5 x 11). As a result, half-fold is the most common option for this size of brochure. This can be a good option for menus or small product catalogs that need more space than a typical 8.5 x 11 brochure.

With a 1/8 inch bleed, the dimensions of the design file will be 11.25 by 17.25 inches.

11 x 25.5 Inches

The largest of the common finished brochure sizes is 11 by 25.5 inches (27.9 cm by 64.8 cm). Just like the 11 by 17 size, this is an ideal choice for brochures that need a lot of images or text. There are several different ways that these brochures can be folded.

With a 1/8 inch bleed, the dimensions of the design file will be 11.25 by 25.75 inches.

Standard Sizes for Flyers

There are a few different sizes that are common for flyers, and the right choice will depend on several factors like the amount of space needed and the budget for printing. The design should include a safe zone of at least 1/8 of an inch.

8.5 x 5.5 Inches

The smallest of the common finished flyer sizes, 8.5 by 5.5 inches (21.6 cm by 14 cm) is also referred to as a half-sheet because it is half the size of an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper. These smaller flyers are inexpensive to print (as compared to the larger sizes) and may be appropriate for promoting events and other things that don’t require a lot of space for images and text.

With a 1/8 inch bleed, the dimensions of the design file will be 8.75 by 5.75 inches.

8.5 x 11 Inches

One of the most common finished sizes for flyers is the same size as regular letter paper, 8.5 by 11 inches (21.6 cm by 27.9 cm). With twice as much space as the half-sheet flyer, you’ll be able to fit a lot more into your design.

With a 1/8 inch bleed, the dimensions of the design file will be 8.75 by 11.25 inches.

11 x 17 Inches

The largest of the common finished flyer sizes, 11 x 17 inches (27.9 cm by 43.2 cm) is most appropriate for flyers that will be hung on a wall or displayed somewhere where it should be seen by people more than a few feet away. Keep in mind that text size needs to be larger if you want it to be readable at greater than an arm’s length.

With a 1/8 inch bleed, the dimensions of the design file will be 11.25 by 17.25 inches.