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Why you should almost always print to standard sizes

When you’re thinking about printing something, size is usually the first consideration. Rather than determining the size of your business card or flyer by yourself, you should choose a standard size. Here’s why.

In Australia, we use ISO 216 (the “A Series”) paper sizes. Simply, the base size is A0 and each size down is made by halving the original. For example, an A1 is made by halving an A0 and an A2 by halving an A0. The only exception is DL, which is a third of an A4.

What are the benefits of printing to standard sizes?

1. Standard sizes are cheaper to print than custom sizes.

Offset printing is the most economical and efficient way of printing larger jobs. Your job is printed alongside other jobs on large sheets of paper which are then perfectly divided up into standard sizes.

If you don’t use a standard size, your job may not fit neatly onto a normal offset print run and you may need to pay extra to compensate.

2. Printing to standard sizes reduces waste.

Not only is it more economical to print standard sizes, it’s less wasteful.

A full size sheet of paper is used to print your job regardless of what size you pick. However, only standard sizes can fit neatly onto a sheet without any leftover blank space.

A custom size almost always leaves blank space which needs to be trimmed and thrown away. Over thousands and thousands of sheets, this waste of paper adds up!

3. Standard sizes are compatible with other stationery.

Other stationery, such as envelopes, are made to fit standard sizes. If you’re planning to distribute a sealed flyer, you have to use a standard size or you might not be able to fit your flyer into store bought envelopes.

There’s a reason the most common business card size is 90x55mm. 90x55mm is very similar to the size of a credit card or driver’s license and allows for easy storing of business cards. If you hand out a custom size business card which doesn’t fit into wallets or business card holders, they will probably end up in the trash!

4. People are used to and expect standard sizes.

There’s something familiar and comforting about an A4 letter, a DL brochure, or a 90x55mm business card. People will immediately notice the slightest departure from these sizes and attention will be drawn away from your content towards the paper it is printed on.

Can I ever not print to standard sizes?

Of course you can! Ultimately, the decision is up to you. You should weigh up your reasons for wanting to print a custom size with the benefits of printing to a standard size. For example, if you have a specific single use in mind for a printed product then a custom size might be more appropriate than any of the standard size options.

See specifications for all ISO 216 paper sizes and learn more about standard sizes here!

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