The complete paper and print size guide – A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6

Choosing the right paper size can often be confusing, yet it's vital not just for the success of your project but also for managing costs effectively. This guide simplifies the selection process and suits all experience levels, from amateurs to professional designers.

With printing, picking the perfect paper size isn’t just a minor detail; it’s a crucial decision. Most of the world (Australia included) primarily uses the “A Series”, which is covered by ISO 216. The most common paper size in Australia is A4. Additionally, A0 through to A6 are commonly used when required. This variety ensures a perfect match for any project, whether a detailed chart or an advertising flyer.

Why stress over paper size? Well, it’s all about impact and practicality. Printing a massive diagram on a tiny A6 would squash all your details, while an A0 for a simple note is overkill. Plus, size decisions directly sway your printing costs. Larger sheets mean more ink and paper used, hence higher expenses.

This guide aims to demystify the A series for everyone, from the seasoned designer to the curious newcomer. By understanding each size’s potential, you can make choices that elevate your project’s effectiveness and efficiency. So, let’s delve into the world of A series paper sizes, where making the intelligent choice can brilliantly transform your printing projects.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

A quick overview of A Series paper sizes

Diving into the A series paper sizes, you’ll find a logical and user-friendly system that scales from the grand A0 to the compact A6. Each step down the series halves the size of the previous paper, maintaining a consistent aspect ratio that is pleasing to the eye and easy to design.

A0 starts the series as the giant, ideal for big posters or architectural plans. Moving down to A4, the most familiar friend in offices everywhere, we find the perfect size for documents and letters—A6 rounds off the series and is ideal for postcards or small flyers.

This range ensures a size for every need, balancing visual appeal and practicality. With this guide, selecting the right A series paper size will be a breeze, enhancing your projects with just the right touch.

Why the correct size matters

Choosing the right paper size isn’t just about fitting your content on a page; it’s about ensuring your message lands with impact. The correct size can enhance readability, draw attention where needed, and even save you a lot on printing costs.

For instance, an A4 sheet is spot-on for reports or letters, striking the perfect balance between space and content. Go too big, and you waste resources; too small, and you risk cramping your style, literally. It’s not just about what you say but how you present it that counts.

In short, picking the right size is like choosing the perfect outfit for an occasion—it should be just right. Get this step sorted, and you’re on your way to making your project shine.

How paper size influences printing costs

Believe it or not, the size of your paper can significantly affect your printing bill. Larger sizes like A0 or A1 use more material and ink, naturally leading to higher costs. It’s like ordering a large pizza—the bigger it is, the more you pay.

Conversely, smaller sizes, such as A5 or A6, can be more economical for bulk printing jobs like flyers or postcards. It’s about finding that sweet spot where your content fits perfectly without overspending on unnecessary extras.

Before you order, think about how the size of your paper might impact your budget. Planning can lead to significant savings, making your project cost-effective and efficient. Remember, in the world of printing, size does matter!
Close up of a printed magazine

Why it’s best to stick to printing standard sizes (if possible)

Venturing into custom paper sizes might seem like a path to uniqueness, but it’s often a road paved with extra costs and complications. Custom sizes can throw a spanner in the works of standard printing processes, leading to increased expenses as printers adjust to accommodate your special request.

Moreover, standard sizes like those in the A series fit seamlessly into envelopes and display stands, ensuring your printed material is ready for action without additional fiddling. Sticking to these tried-and-true dimensions saves money, time, and hassle.

In a nutshell, while custom sizes have their place, for most projects, the standard sizes offer a blend of efficiency, economy, and convenience that is hard to beat. Keep it simple, and your printing journey will be smoother and more enjoyable.

A0 to A6: Understanding each paper size and its uses

A0: The Giant of the Series

AO Size in mm: 841 x 1189 mm

AO Size in cm: 84.1 x 118.9 cm

AO Size in inches: 33.1 x 46.8 inches

AO comparison: Roughly half a table tennis table

Typical uses for A0: Architectural plans, large posters, window displays, event backdrops

A1: Large, yet versatile

A1 Size in mm: 594 x 841 mm

A1 Size in cm: 59.4 x 84.1 cm

A1 Size in inches: 23.4 x 33.1 in

A1 comparison: Roughly the length of a guitar and width of an office chair

Typical uses for A1: Academic posters, medium-sized advertisements, mounted displays, large diagrams

A2: The middle ground for art and advertising

A2 Size in mm: 420 x 594 mm

A2 Size in cm: 42.0 x 59.4 cm

A2 Size in inches: 16.5 x 23.4 in

A2 comparison: A car windscreen sun protector

Typical uses for A2: Art prints, medium posters, classroom or office notices, and promotional material in stores.

A3: The dual nature of work and display

A3 Size in mm: 297 x 420 mm

A3 Size in cm: 29.7 x 42.0 cm

A3 Size in inches: 11.7 x 16.5 in

A3 comparison: Two computer tablets laid side by side

Typical uses for A3: Presentation visuals, small posters, portfolio pieces, tabletop displays

A4: The most common and versatile size

A4 Size in mm: 210 x 297 mm

A4 Size in cm: 21.0 x 29.7 cm

A4 Size in inches: 8.3 x 11.7 in

A4 comparison: A standard magazine

Typical uses for A4: Office documents, brochures, letters, forms

A5: Ideal for booklets and flyers

A5 Size in mm: 148 x 210 mm

A5 Size in cm: 14.8 x 21.0 cm

A5 Size in inches: 5.8 x 8.3 in

A5 comparison: A paperback novel

Typical uses for A5: Booklets, flyers, small catalogues, invitations

A6: Perfect for postcards and invitations

A6 Size in mm: 105 x 148 mm

A6 Size in cm: 10.5 x 14.8 cm

A6 Size in inches: 4.1 x 5.8 in

A6 comparison: A Kindle screen

Typical uses for A6: Postcards, personal invitations, thank you cards, pocket diaries

Tips for selecting the right paper size for your project

Choosing the right paper size for your project is simpler than you think, and getting it right can make a big difference. First off, think about what your print will be used for. If it’s going to be displayed on a wall, something larger like A0 will catch more eyes, but for something that’s being handed around, A4 is usually more than sufficient. It’s all about how your audience will interact with the material. Smaller sizes like A6, like a postcard, are perfect for quick reads or takeaway items.

Another crucial factor is your budget. Printing costs can escalate quickly with larger paper sizes, so you must align your choice with how much you’re willing to spend. Plus, there’s the content to consider. You want your material to breathe on the page to look smooth, so opting for a slightly larger size can ensure clarity and readability if you’re on the fence about sizes.

Lastly, being environmentally conscious is more important than ever in today’s world. Opting for the correct size helps reduce waste.

By considering these considerations, selecting the right paper size becomes an easy part of your project planning, almost as easy as deciding on your morning coffee.

FAQs

What are standard copy paper sizes?

Standard copy paper sizes include A4 (210 x 297 mm), commonly used globally, and Letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) in North America. These sizes are part of a broader system, including sizes from A0 to A6 for various applications.

Why are there so many different printer paper sizes?

Different printer paper sizes cater to various printing needs, from small postcards to large posters. The variety allows for optimal use of space and materials for specific documents and visuals. There are also many other standard sizes not covered by ISO 216, such as business cards, typically 90 x 55mm.

What does the A in paper size mean?

The “A” in paper size refers to a standard classification under the ISO 216 system based on a constant width-to-length ratio of 1√2. This system ensures that each subsequent size is half the area of the previous one, maintaining the aspect ratio.

Why is the standard printer paper the size it is?

The standard printer paper size, such as A4, is based on the ISO 216 standard and is designed to suit a wide range of printing needs while maximising efficiency and reducing waste. It’s a compromise between writing space and material economy.

What are the origins of the US letter and A4 paper sizes?

The US letter size originates from the historical use of large paper sheets cut into smaller sizes, including 8.5 x 11 inches. A4 size, part of the ISO 216 standard, was developed to have a simple, mathematically easy-to-replicate set of sizes, widely adopted for its efficiency. A4 is narrower and slightly longer than US letter.

What are the paper sizes for printing?

Paper sizes for printing vary widely, from A0 (841 x 1189 mm) for large format prints to A8 (52 x 74 mm) for small items. The most common sizes for everyday use are A4 for documents and Letter sizes in the US, with specialised sizes for posters, books, and other specific needs.