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‘A’ sizes

In all countries using the metric system, ISO ‘A’ sizes are the most common. The starting point is an ‘A0′ sheet with an area of one square meter. Folding this sheet in half results in an ‘A1′ sheet, folding an ‘A1′ sheet in half gives an ‘A2′ sheet, and so on. Because the height and width are in the ratio one to the square root of two the proportion of the sheets remains the same. This feature makes it very simple to adapt one design for several different purposes (for example a postcard, leaflet and poster).

Size Dimensions Uses
A0 841 mm x 1189 mm posters
A1 594 mm x 841 mm posters
A2 420 mm x 594 mm posters, calendars
A3 297 mm x 420 mm posters, calendars, ‘tabloid’ magazines
A4 210 mm x 297 mm stationery, books, annual reports
A5 148 mm x 210 mm personal stationery, books, brochures, leaflets
A6 148 mm x 105 mm postcards, leaflets, invitations, booklets
A7 105 mm x 74 mm tickets

Here is the same information as a diagram:


DL sizes: Another commonly used size based on the ‘A’ size system is one third of ‘A4′ (99 x 210 mm). Two thirds of ‘A4′ (198 x 210 mm) is also sometimes used as is the square size 210x210mm. There is also ‘A00′ (or ’2A’) at 1189 x 1682 mm.

Oversize ‘RA’ and ‘SRA’ sizes

Printing presses cannot print right to the edge of a sheet because the excess ink build up would cause problems. Most printers use oversized sheets which are later trimmed down to the finished size.

There are several reasons for having this extra space. It is used for trim, register and colour control marks and where images print to the edge of a document they should continue off the trim area to form a ‘bleed’ (the standard is 3mm). Where several pages (e.g. of a book) are arranged together on one sheet ‘gutters’ may be required between pages to allow for folding and trimming. Additionally, about 6-12mm is generally required on one long edge for the ‘grippers’ which hold the paper as it passes through the machine; this area cannot be printed on at all.

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