Paper sizes is a hot topic in the printing world and when it comes to deciding on which paper size to use for printing, it’s a decision that could make or break a project. Today, we’ll answer all your burning questions about paper sizes for printing and look at all their most common uses such as paper sizes for posters, leaflets, brochures, certifications, business cards, books and photos.
Maybe it’s a ream of A4 paper in the printer, a notepad on the coffee table or a poster watching over you on the wall. While these items are familiar everyday objects ultimately comparable to each other, they all differ in one thing: their size.
ISO 216 Standard for Paper Sizes
We’ve all come across classic paper sizes like A4 and A5, but who determines these paper size standards? After a quick search online, it appears the oldest known record of basing paper size on aspect ratio was found in a letter written on 25 October 1786 by the German scientist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. He believed paper sizes should all have the same aspect ratio as the square root of two.
In other words, the width and the height of a page relate to each other like the side and the diagonal of a square. Now known as the ISO 216 standard, these paper sizes are used across the world and are defined by letters such as A, B and C. The main advantage of the ISO 216 standard of paper sizes for printing is its scale, since you still preserve the aspect ratio when cutting or folding a page into two.
Now you have a bit more understanding about where today’s standards of paper size comes from, let’s take a look at the different paper sizes available for printing.
ISO A Paper Sizes
If you’re like us and from Europe, you’ll be very familiar with the paper size convention ‘A’. As the most globally recognised paper size standard used almost everywhere other than USA and Canada, A paper sizes are the common standard business letter size used in English speaking countries. The largest standardised paper size in the A range is A0 and the smallest being A10. Here’s where they differ:
Different A Paper Sizes for Printing in cm
Different A Paper Sizes for Printing in Inches
ISO B Paper Sizes
In addition to ‘A’ sizes, there is also ISO B paper sizes. This series was designed to provide a wide range of paper size options for printing and while following the same pattern as A, with B0 being the largest and B10 the smallest, their sizes are a little bigger in comparison.
ISO C Paper Sizes
You guessed it! Following the A and B paper sizes for printing, there is also ISO C paper sizes. This series is most commonly used for envelopes with the C paper size falling nicely in between its A and B counterparts. If you are a business searching for a new set of stationary and a range of branded envelopes, these are the paper sizes for you.
What is the Normal Paper Size for Printing?
Now you’ve got a good idea of what paper sizes are available, let’s talk about some of the most common paper sizes for printing. Without a doubt, the most popular paper size around is A4 – it is everywhere! Not only it is the size most people use in their home office printers, but its size is used for letters, notepads, letterheads, business stationary and leaflets.
It is the perfect paper size for most daily printing needs. Coming in second place is A3 size paper which is twice the size of A4 and is widely used for posters, charts and presentations.
What Paper Size Should I Use for Printing?
Now let’s talk about you and your printing project. How to choose which paper size you need depends entirely on what it is you’re printing!
A0 Paper Size
This is the largest A paper size which we offer and measures a finished size of 841mm x 1189mm. Being the largest size available we typically see this product used for wide format or large format printing where the idea is to be seen from a distance. We offer A0 printed posters, display boards & signs for this very reason.
A1 Paper Size
This is the second largest A size which we offer and measures a finished size of 594mm x 841mm. Being one of the largest sizes available we typically see this product used for wide format or large format printing where the idea is to be seen from a distance. We offer A1 printed posters, display boards & signs at this size, for this very reason.
A2 Paper Size
This is the the third largest A paper size which we offer and measures a finished size of 420mm x 594mm. Not a huge size but still one of the largest sizes available we typically see this size the same as A0 and A1 being used for wide format or large format printing where the idea is to be seen from a distance. We offer A2 printed posters, display boards & signs for this very reason.
A3 Paper Size
An A3 piece of paper is twice the size of a standard A4 paper size. Measuring a comfortable 297mm x 420mm. While not excessively large this change in size opens this side up to a whole range of uses. Thats not to say that they can’t be used as A3 posters they can, and we do offer printed display boards in this size too. With the advancement of technology people have been able to afford an A3 printer within their own home. This size is and has been for many years a staple size for the food industry, perfect for takeways to print all of the menu choices in an excellent layout prompting us to order.
A4 Paper Size
An A4 piece of paper is the most common paper size that we can all relate too! When we go to the supermarket and buy that pack of paper for our home printers this is typically the size available. Measuring 210mm x 297mm, we typically receive letters, bank statements or bills in this format. Thats not to say that that this is all this size is for, oh no. The A4 paper size has a whole range of uses and we suppose that this is due to not only its size but also to the fact that in relation to us holding it in our hands it seems to the perfect size for a wide range of uses.
As we previously mentioned letters or printed Letterheads. Many Stapled Brochures or booklets are also great in this size too allowing for the perfect balance between imagery and text, grouping several A4’s together can help create the perfect presentation booklet.
As a single sheet a printed A4 paper size can also be used as a perfect leaflet or menu handout, or an A4 folded leaflet.
210mm Square Paper Size
Whilst not as standard or as popular size as an A4, this size is relatively simple to explain, a square size of 210mm x 210mm. This size is becoming seen more and more and has a wide range of uses! We have and do print many items in this size including Stapled Brochures and leaflets in this size, there size helps businesses cut through the competition due to the ability to stand out in the crowd.
We sometimes refer to these as A5 Square in size as they take the longest edge available on an A5.
A5 Paper Size
An A5 paper size measures 148mm x 210mm, and is half the size of a traditional A4 piece of paper. This too will be as easy size to relate too! We will all at some time or other been passed a leaflet or flyer of this size in the street or had some posted through our door. Their smaller size allows for a great balance between too much and just the right amount of information. You could almost think of these as the goldilocks size when it comes to leaflet printing. Used around the world for advertising a wide range of businesses from beauty salons, mechanics and plumbers alike.
148mm Square Paper Size
Whilst not as standard or as popular size as an A5, this size is relatively simple to explain, a square size of 148mm x 148mm. This size is becoming seen more and more and has a wide range of uses! We have and do print many items in this size including Invitations and flyers, there size helps businesses cut through the competition due to the ability to stand out against all the other noise.
We sometimes refer to these as A6 Square as we use the measurement from the longest edge on our A6 paper size.
A6 Paper Size
A quarter of the size of a standard A4 and measuring 105mm x 148mm these are the smallest size we offer online. To put their size into relation to a real world product something that we can all relate too, a postcard. Thats right a typical postcard is this size it offers a moderate size for information and imagery, nothing too over the top, maybe highlighting that one call to action whether that be a new product or service.
As we mentioned above, the normal paper sizes used for printing is A4 and A3 due to their convenience and ease of use, but what if you’re printing a business card or a label? What paper size should you use for printing them?
Paper Sizes for Printing Business Cards
When it comes to making connections with clients and establishing that all-important first impression, a printed business card is what you need. There are several paper sizes for business cards to choose from, but the most common finished size is 85mm x 55mm, or 91mm x 61mm, with bleed.
We also offer slim business cards which come in at half the height at 85mm x 25mm. For a more unconventional look, you could try a square business card size which finishes at 55mm x 55mm or a folded business card at 170mm x 55mm when laid out flat.
Paper Sizes for Printing Photos
Whether it’s for personal or business use, getting the right paper size for printing photos is just as important than any other paper good. The two most common paper sizes for photos are the 4×6” (10 x 15 cm) and the 5×7” (13 x 18 cm), both fit in standard size photo albums and frames.
Paper Sizes for Printing Labels
Maybe you’re posting out a mass marketing campaign of leaflets or a printed letterhead to a customer and you need a label to neatly display their address. If so, you may need to look at different paper sizes for printing labels. As usual, the size of a printed label depends entirely on your needs, but most labels are printed out on A4 paper.
For large labels with 4 per sheet, these will measure in at 99.1mm x 139mm while 8 per sheet is 99.1mm x 67.7mm, 14 per sheet is 99.1mm x 38.1mm and 40 per sheet is 5.7mm x 25.4mm. For labelling envelopes, the most common paper size is by 66.6mm x 25.4mm which allows for 30 printed labels on one single A4 sheet.
Paper Sizes for Printing Certificates
Another common question our customers ask is what is the best paper size for printing certificates? At Print Stafford, we offer printed certificates on A4, A5 and A6 sizes with A4 being the most popular choice. Printed on high grade 300gsm Tintoretto paper stock, our certificates are perfect for businesses looking to celebrate those special few within the company whether that be an employee of the month or a member of the team who has excelled in their training.
How we measure our paper sizes.
In all of the paper sizes outlined above we measure using the following technique. All sizes are based upon a portrait orientation. With the paper laid out this way we measure along and then up. A simple way to remember this is to go along the corridor and up the stairs, no we didn’t come up with this but its something that stuck! Hopefully we have covered absolutely everything you need to know, and you found the answer you were looking for.
There are of course many other print products you can find other than those detailed above, so if you are unsure what paper size you need for your project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Print Stafford. If you need assistance with your graphic design too, we also have a great in-house design team ready to help bring your printing project to life!