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With increasing creativity, many are using different unique sizes for their print product. While we love the idea and creativity, it’s generally still easy to know the standard sizes that are often used in the print-world: 

  1. It’ll be a lot clearer than to just say “postcard size”, “the normal brochure size”.
  2. Using standard sizes help to bring cost down as paper wastage is minimised, and generally are more readily available in the market.

The Standard Paper Sizes
The image here should be telling enough. Rule of thumb: most postcards are A5, magazines are A4, tabloids are A3 and the bigger posters are usually A2 or A1.

Additionally, we should know the difference between the open and closed finished size. The open format is the completed product before folding. The finished size means that the product has been cropped and so no longer has any “bleed” (explain more further down).

The closed finished size describes the product once it has been folded: as an example, a 6 sided A5 portrait Z-fold leaflet measures 444 x 210mm in its open finished size, which results from 3 pages of A5, each 148mm laid side to side next to one another. Once it is closed, this A5 Z-folded leaflet measures 148 x 210mm.

With one or two-sided products such as flyers or business cards, there is of course no difference between open and closed finished size.

My paper is bleeding?
To allow for cutting tolerances in the production phase, the format ordered has to be extended by 3mm on every side, or the finished size will need to have this space added. This would mean that the A5 flyer shown above would, before cropping, measure 450 x 216mm.

It is important for the colours, background images, and the layout to be integrated into the bleeding area, meaning that all objects on the edge will be affected by the cropping. If you fail to provide bleed information, cropping can leave behind a thin line of white on the edge of the (unprinted) paper.

You should also make sure that texts, images, graphics, and logos which you do not want cropped are far away from the edges; all elements which you do not want affect should be at least 3mm from the edge which will be cut later.