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  • Idwal Jones

Paper Sizes 101: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: May 10, 2023

When it comes to printing, paper sizes can seem like a confusing and daunting topic. There are so many different sizes and variations, it can be hard to know where to begin. In this blog post, we'll break down everything you need to know about paper sizes, envelope sizes, and the SRA sizes for printing.

There are many different paper sizes in use around the world, but the two most widely used are ISO sizes and North American sizes.

ISO Sizes:

2A0: 1189 x 1682 mm

A0: 841 x 1189 mm A1: 594 x 841 mm A2: 420 x 594 mm A3: 297 x 420 mm A4: 210 x 297 mm A5: 148 x 210 mm A6: 105 x 148 mm A7: 74 x 105 mm A8: 52 x 74 mm A9: 37 x 52 mm A10: 26 x 37 mm

North American Sizes:

Letter: 8.5 x 11 inches (215.9 x 279.4 mm) Legal: 8.5 x 14 inches (215.9 x 355.6 mm) Tabloid (or Ledger): 11 x 17 inches (279.4 x 431.8 mm)

One of the benefits of the ISO size system is that each size is exactly half the size of the next largest size. For example, A4 is half the size of A3, A5 is half the size of A4, and so on.

Beyond these basic sizes, there are also various other sizes and variations to consider. For example, you might be familiar with "postcard" size, which is generally around 6 x 4 inches. There are also "square" sizes, such as 5 x 5 inches or 6 x 6 inches. And some printers and designers might create custom size paper to fit their specific needs.

It's worth noting that paper size can affect everything from printing costs to how your document is viewed on different devices. For example, if you want to print a brochure on a larger sheet of paper and then fold it down to a smaller size, you'll need to factor in the extra cost of the larger paper. And if you're designing a website or digital document, you'll want to consider how it will look on different screen sizes and resolutions.


printing on different paper sizes in London

Envelope Sizes

In addition to paper size, envelope size is another important consideration for printing and design. After all, you need to ensure that your paper (and any accompanying materials) will fit inside the envelope.

There are many different envelope sizes available, but some of the most common include:

C4 Envelopes: 229 x 324 mm C5 Envelopes: 162 x 229 mm C6 Envelopes: 114 x 162 mm DL Envelopes: 220 x 110 mm

As with paper sizes, there are many different variations available beyond these basic sizes. For example, some envelopes might have a window or a pre-printed design. It's worth noting that when it comes to printing and envelopes, you might need to factor in bleed and trim. Bleed refers to the extra space around the edge of your document that needs to be added to account for any variation in printing or cutting. Trim refers to the actual cutting of the document to its final size. When designing a printed piece that will be inserted into an envelope, it's important to consider both bleed and trim to ensure that your design looks how you intend it to. SRA Sizes for Printing

While ISO sizes and North American are common for general use, there is another set of sizes that are specifically designed for printing: the SRA sizes.

SRA stands for "supplementary raw format A" and is similar to the ISO A-series sizes, but with slightly different dimensions. The SRA sizes are designed to provide extra bleed and trim space for printing, making them useful for commercial printing.

There are two main types of SRA size: SRA2 and SRA3. SRA2 is 450 x 640 mm, while SRA3 is 320 x 450 mm. Like the ISO sizes, the SRA sizes are designed to be scaled in half, so SRA2 is half the size of SRA1 and SRA3 is half the size of SRA2.

When it comes to printing, using an SRA size can help you ensure that your design looks exactly how you intended it to, with plenty of space for bleed and trim.

In Conclusion

Paper sizes and envelope sizes might seem like a minor detail when it comes to printing and design, but they can have a big impact on how your materials look and function. By understanding the various sizes and variations available, you can ensure that your printed pieces and envelopes look professional, polished, and fit for purpose. And by considering bleed, trim, and SRA sizes, you can make sure that your design looks as good on paper as it does on screen.


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