Standard Postcard Size – An In-Depth Guide for Beginners

From the very beginning of use, the postcard has been an effective way of presenting valuable information. It can be an ideal memento of your favorite place as well.

And whether you keep ones received from your faraway friends attached to your refrigerator or send vacation postcards to your grandparents every now and then, you surely have noticed that how compact and wholesome postcards are.

No wonder they make such amazing marketing tools. But is there anything like standard postcard size? Well, yes indeed.

And it is the postcard size that determines how you can mail it. This article will guide you through every aspect of postcard size, how and why size matters, and what mailing options you have.

By the end of it, surely you would be able to pick the right size for you.

Why Is Understanding Postcard Size Required?

For a successful marketing campaign, your postcard must stand out in attracting your customer and conveying the message you want to say. But does it have to do anything with the size?

Yes, each postcard size can best serve you a specific purpose. From highlighting your content to mailing options and cost, understanding the different dimensions will help you choose the right marketing strategy.

Why Is Understanding Postcard Size Required

So, let's see how knowing about the different postcard sizes is going to be of help.

To Finalize Your Design and Message

A postcard includes your message, business logo, and a suitable design template to fit and convey what you have to say compactly. In other words, for what purpose do you intend to use it. Is it a general opening announcement or discount card?

You might want to print cards for specialty purposes like coupons or declaring to shift your business location. Apart from that, political campaigns and social service organizations use postcards innovatively and attractively to reach out to people.

And knowing about all the postcard size options will assist you in finalizing the length of your words and a suitable design. Too many words in a smaller card would make a mess, which is neither pleasant nor appealing.

How you want to layout your words, whether in a single paragraph, bold key phrases, or bullet points, is also a key factor determining the size.

Finalize Your Design and Message

Choosing the design is again linked to the size. While some templates are designed for larger cards, others can be accommodated in standard or smaller ones.

So, if you know about different postcard dimensions, voila, you can now put the right words and design, fitting the appropriate dimension!

To Determine Delivery Time and Cost

The US Postal Service or USPS has different rates depending on the postcard size. And mailing larger cards costs more than smaller ones.

So, if your company is new and has a limited budget, standard-sized postcards through first-class mailing services make a better alternative.

However, you can cut down your expenses to some extent by producing in bulk and sending through EDDM service. We will be covering available mailing options in a bit.

Determine Delivery Time and Cost

Now, as different size cards are authorized to send via separate mailing options, the time it would take to reach the destination varies. And bigger postcards will take longer to reach, contrary to smaller ones.

So, if you are on a deadline and would like to send promotional sale week cards, choose a card size that you can mail via first-class service.

To Choose Mailing Option

The USPS doesn't consider every size as a postcard. And hence, the mailing options differ. There are a few fixed guidelines, following which your mail piece is regarded as a postcard by USPS.

The perfectly rectangular cards with dimensions in the range of 3.5 x 5 to 4.25 x 6 inches are called postcards and sent through first-class mail. Also, the paper thickness should be within 0.007-0.016 inches.

Choose Mailing Option

If your mailpiece is beyond this dimension and thickness, it's either considered as letters or flats. And USPS sends them via marketing mail at a higher rate.

Different Sizes of Postcard

Postcards can be as small as 3.5 x 5 inches and as large as 9 x 11 inches or beyond that. And the popular sizes within this range are:

  • 3.5 x 5
  • 4 x 6
  • 4.25 x 5.5
  • 4.25 x 6
  • 5 x 7
  • 5 x 8.5
  • 5.5 x 8.5
  • 6 x 9
  • 6 x 11
  • 6.125 x 11.5
  • 8.5 x 11
  • 9 x 12

You can also find postcards bigger than 9 x 12 inches, though these are considered specialty mail pieces or flats and charged higher than letters and postcards.

This wide array of dimensions can be categorized into the following. Each has its own usability and the potential to fit into a specific goal and budget. So, go through the categories below to find out which would be the right pick for you.


The postcards measuring a minimum of 3.5 x 5 inches and a maximum of 4.25 x 6 inches are considered small-sized ones.

This size range is popular among people starting new businesses, restaurants, or other services as they cost the least in terms of both manufacturing and mailing.

You can send these through the first-class mailing service, ensuring quicker delivery at minimum cost. So, when you are just starting out a company, you can reach out to a bulk of people fast and cheap using smaller postcards.

Small Postcard

However, standing out or conveying the message you want to say with a tiny card is a bit of hard work. Nevertheless, you can surely gain some potential customers with a cleaver and seamless design, bright color contrast, and useful keywords.


Slightly bigger sizes like 5 x 7 and 6 x 9 are considered medium or standard postcard sizes. Companies and businesses often prefer these dimensions to get more attraction and exposure.

This range of postcard sizes provides better visibility and enables companies to be creative with their design to stand out and get noticed. You can create a customized design and print it in both portrait and landscape.

Standard Postcard

The mailing cost is a bit high, though. And you can't send these cards through direct mails; instead, you'll have to use marketing mail, which takes a little bit more time as well. Despite the cost and delivery time, the size has a higher response rate.


If you want to grab more customer attention with a neat and spaced design, images, and bold key phrases, large 6 x 11 or 6.125 x 11.5 is sure to serve you the best. These cards allow more flexibility in choosing the design and message length.

The mailing option for this size range is direct mailing, and USPS sends them as letters and not postcards. So, the price will be a bit higher, but the response and attention you are likely to get will surely make them worth your money.


You might also see these postcards being used as special discount cards, general information, and opening announcement cards.

In other words, wherever you need your message to be concrete, impactful, and eye-catching to customers, these sizes are sure to give you better outcomes.


Mail pieces with a dimension of 8.5 x 11 or 9 x 12 inches are considered oversized and priced according to flat rates by USPS.

The extra-large size has superior benefits. Your business cards are going to have the greatest visibility with more response and conversion rates than others.

So, they make the perfect promotional business cards that can accommodate a lot of information as well.


However, they are the costliest of all. The cost is eventually gonna add up to make a substantial investment sum, even if you are printing large sizes and mailing at flat rates.

Nevertheless, you can manage some of the costs by printing the cards on your own with just the right paper and printer. If you're unsure about what kind of printer to choose, feel free to go through the 10 Best Printer for Crafting.

What Is the Standard Postcard Size?

The 4 x 6 and 5 x 7 inches postcards are most commonly used and considered standard for marketing purposes.

Specifically, the 4 x 6-inch ones have the most widespread use as they fit into the first-class mailing category and are most cost-effective and delivered in the fastest time.

But the compact size cannot include much information compared to larger ones. So, they serve the best for particular purposes like declaring sales dates, special announcements, and reminders.

Standard Postcard Size

However, there's a broad division of sizes. And what would be the right size for you depends on what your company has to say, how much response you want to achieve, and the size of your marketing fund.

While the small-sized ones up to 4.25 x 6 are the cheapest, flats tend to have the highest engagement ratio.

Also, there's a chance of small cards being undermined by recipients. But you can put it in an envelope to look more valued and professional.

Even if it's small within a customized envelope, a neat postcard is sure to have more impact on the target audience.

And if you need help making one with a small piece of paper, have a look at how to make an envelope.

USPS also allows half-fold and trifold mailpieces that comply with the standard restriction.

For instance, a 10 x 7 or 12 x 11 inches card half folded to 5 x 7 and 6 x 11 inches can be sent as postcards. Likely, you can trifold a larger 15 x 7 or 16.5 x 8.5 inches to 5 x 7 and 5.5 x 8.5 inches and send them as postcards.

Also, there's a video to help you out on mailing your postcard following the USPS regulation.

Perks of Choosing the Right Postcard Size

Postcards are a great marketing tool, and with careful planning, design, and size, they are considered more efficient than cold emailing and social media marketing. 

And the first aspect of creating an exotic, stand-out postcard is picking the suitable dimension.


And depending on what you intend to achieve and your budget size, the right size is sure to make all the difference. Let's look at some of the perks of thoughtful dimension selection.


The design and manufacture cost of postcards varies significantly with the dimension. Also, there are different rates for different mailing options based on the size.

So, all things considered, the small postcards mailed through the first-class direct mailing service are the least expensive and most appropriate for a company with a limited marketing budget.

However, for a company that expects to improve its response rate, smaller postcards can't help much.

Surely, they help you reach maximum people in the shortest time and budget, but the conversion rate is below average. Also, you mightn't be able to accommodate your message fully.

So, adjust your marketing strategy with the right size that prioritizes your purpose and gives you higher returns on investment. It enables you to be cost-effective in the long run.

Customize Design

A postcard not only conveys the direct message but is made to appeal to the customers. And your design template is everything that makes your mailpieces one of a kind.

So, you need to choose a dimension that presents a good combination of words, design, and images. Large-sized coupons or discount cards with no significant wording except a couple of keyphrases would be a sheer waste of money.

Hence, the proper dimension for you would allow being creative while giving you the flexibility to choose the length of words.

Customize Design

Also, keep in mind that all the card spaces are not for your use, and you should spare some space for the mailing address, barcode, and other stuff according to the USPS regulation. 

Higher Response

Yes, reaching out to the targeted people and increasing response is the prime reason companies mail out postcards in bulk. And with the right size, your purpose can be served easily.

Smaller cards might come in cheap, but lengthy congested messages would fail to appeal to people and probably end up in dumpsters. Larger ones do induce better engagement, but it might not always be the case.

So, you have to be sure what size(s) will guarantee a boost in responses, and you can work with a combination of different sizes.

Also, if you are in a competitive business market, look for an unusual size that would make your mailpieces unique and hence your mailing campaign a success.

Better Customer Relationship

Even in this era of online marketing monopoly, postcards still are the heart and soul of local businesses, restaurants, retail stores, barbershops, and others. With thoughtfully designed catalogs, people are more likely to browse through the services you are offering and might relate to what you are saying.

Again, a compact card with a website address or QR code prompts people to respond almost immediately.

Better Customer Relationship

People are also inclined to attach specialty cards like discount cards for new customers, seasonal sales announcements, reminders, and BOGO cards to their refrigerator doors.

So, by choosing the proper dimension and impactful design, you can bond with your customers, build trust, and create an intriguing marketing policy that produces a substantial, loyal customer base with minimal effort.

Postcard Mailing Options

Your selected postcard dimension must comply with USPS regulations for various mailing options. The numerous variations would require you to go through the mailing options to find the eligible one.

First Class

The first-class mailing service is the least expensive of all. The mailing cost is $0.13 per piece. However, it has a limited size range, and the dimension should be within the range to be qualified as a postcard.

The sizes that fall within this mailing service are 3.5 x 5, 4 x 6, 4.25 x 5.5, and 4.25 x 6 inches. Also, the maximum thickness is 0.016 inches. Anything beyond this size and thickness range cannot be included in this service.

It delivers your mail faster as well. A local delivery usually takes about 1-3 days, while a national one requires a maximum of 5 business days.

Marketing Mail

This category of direct mailing is suitable for sending out larger-sized letters and flats. Any sizes bigger than 4.25 x 6 inches is sent through this option.

However, the delivery time is a bit longer, about 2-5 days for local mails and 1-4 for national ones.

So, even though you can accommodate more contents and information in larger cards, this isn't an option for you if you have a strict deadline.

Marketing Mail

Also, the cost is slightly higher for letters, but you can bulk mail with at least 200 pieces to avail of the bulk rate. And you have to consider the weight factor as well. Heavier mail cost would substantially increase from the lowest rate for 3.3 ounces.

Every Door Direct Mail

Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM for short, is an entirely distinct type of mailing. You may use this service to deliver your letter to every household in a specific Zipcode region. It's an excellent advertising tool for promoting your business in a particular area.

Also, it doesn't require you to have a separate mailing list, and it helps newer and small companies alike to grow their marketplace.

4.25 x 11, 6.25 x 9, 6.25 x 11, 6 x 12, 8.5 x 7, and 8.5 x 11 inches are some of the sizes that EDDM approves of. You can opt for larger options like 11 x 17 and 12 x 15 inches as well.

So, not only do you have greater flexibility in choosing the size, but this also is a more budget-friendly option.

You can learn more about this affordable mailing option in the following video.

However, EDDM has some strict design regulations despite these benefits and doesn't give you enough room for personalization or customization.

Also, you will be limited to one mailing route, need a USPS account, and pay extra for drop-off services.

What Is the Right Paper for Printing Postcard?

Selecting paper for printing postcards is a bit tricky. You tend to choose the thicker cardstock paper for more durable postcards. However, there's the USPS thickness regulation that you must follow.

Again, the different types of cardstock paper available on the market make it harder for you to choose one.

Usually, we see the 100lb cover or 275 GSM and 110lb index or 200 GSM paper used for postcards. These papers are substantially thick and produce quality color printing.

If you want thicker paper, then there's different cardstock weight to choose from. While the ultra-thick 16pt gives your postcard a premium feel, the 14pt extra-thick ensures quality print while remaining conservative of the cost.

Right Paper for Printing Postcard

However, the thicker the paper, the harder it is to print, and some even might not be suitable for home printing.

Nevertheless, our comprehensive guide on HP printer cardstock settings and Epson cardstock settings will help you successfully print postcards at home.

Wrap up

The postcard dimension you choose has a significant role in making your mailing campaign efficient and cost-effective. They help to build your company's appearance and establish long-term relationships with potential customers.

The combination of a quality design, attention-seeking phrases, and the proper dimension goes a long way in getting a response from your approach. So, you have to be careful and considerate of all the factors to benefit from a campaign.

And we hope our elaborate article on the standard postcard size helps you choose the right one.

Inksaver Editor

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