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  • A Series Paper: A Definitive Guide

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    Digital Printing

    When you think of paper sizes, you most likely think of legal or letter sizes. In reality, the world of printing runs on many different paper sizes. The most widely used is what’s known as A series paper. A series paper sizes are popular in many countries, but they’re not commonly known in the United States. Here’s a guide to understanding what A series paper is and why it matters in printing.

    A Series Paper Sizes

    • 4A0: 66.2 x 93.6 in
    • 2A0: 46.8 x 66.2 in
    • A0: 33.1 x 46.8 in
    • A1: 23.4 x 33.1 in
    • A2: 16.5 x 23.4 in
    • A3: 11.7 x 16.5 in
    • A4: 8.3 x 11.7 in
    • A5: 5.8 x 8.3 in
    • A6: 4.1 x 5.8 in
    • A7: 2.9 x 4.1 in
    • A8: 2.0 x 2.9 in
    • A9: 1.5 x 2.0 in
    • A10: 1.0 x 1.5 in

    Where Is A Series Paper Used?

    They are the most used paper sizes in business. A series paper is the choice for office stationery, booklets, brochures, catalogs, and other corporate publications. The sizes A1 through A10 are used in most countries. The A4 size is popular in Europe and other countries, where it is the most commonly used business paper.

    What Is the ISO Standard?

    Starting from the largest size, the A0, every size is half the size of the previous one when folded. The dimensions of A series paper sizes are defined by the International Standard for Organization (ISO) 216.

    The ISO 216 standard, which includes the commonly used A4 size, is the international standard for paper size. It is used across the world except in North America and parts of Central and South America, where the terms “letter size” and “legal size” are more commonly used.

    The ISO standard was first developed by German printers in 1922. By the late 1930s, many countries had adopted the ISO system for measuring paper sizes. In 1975, the United Nations adopted the ISO as its official document formatting system. By this time, the system had spread to many countries, including most of Europe, Asia, and South America.

    Today, the standard has been adopted by all countries except the U.S. and Canada. In some countries, including Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, the Philippines, and Venezuela, the ISO is officially adopted, however, most people use the U.S. terms “letter” and “legal” in everyday use.

    In 1995, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adopted a new standard for paper sizes which defined the American ‘letter’ format as ANSI A and the “ledger” or “tabloid” format as ANSI B. You could think of the ANSI standard as the American version of the ISO.

    Benefits of Using A Series Paper Sizes

    The benefit of the ISO sizing is that it’s based on the metric system. This means the largest size, the A0, has an even size of 1 square meter. Because of this, the relationship between the width and the height of a page stays the same no matter how big or small the paper gets. This is known as a “single aspect ratio,” and it means that you can scale the paper size to calculate the weight of one or more sheets.

    Why does this matter? This single aspect ratio makes it easy to know how your document will look at varied sizes. That’s because, as we noted above, each size, when folded or cut in half, produces a piece of paper the size of the next size in the A series paper. If you fold an A4 piece of paper, you know that it becomes an A5.

    Being able to scale this easily means you can scale the size of the document, enlarging or reducing it, without losing any text or images. You can photocopy it any size without worrying about cutting off parts of it.

    Now, consider doing this with standard U.S. paper sizes. If you’ve ever tried to photocopy something from letter size to legal size, you know how frustrating it is.

    Being able to calculate paper weight has another advantage. It helps you know how much it will cost to print, ship, or mail your documents once they’re printed.

    How Does the American System Differ?

    The U.S. has not adopted A series paper. In the U.S., we use inches rather than the metric system to determine standard paper sizes. The main sizes are:

    • Letter: 8.5 x 11
    • Legal: 8.5 x 14
    • Ledger or Tabloid: 11 x 17

    This is a system that uses two aspect ratios instead of one. If you fold or cut a piece of paper in half, you must use a different ratio for the new size. This makes it more difficult to scale sizes up and down.

    Are you curious about A series paper? Can you print on A4 paper instead of the standard letterhead? Check your printer. It may have an A4 setting.

    Is There Only an A Series Paper?

    A series paper is not the only size defined by the ISO. The others are B series and C series. In countries that use the ISO standards, B series pages are primarily used for posters, passports, and books. The C series pages are used for envelopes and other small, lightweight items.

    Paper Size Matters

    Before you choose your paper size, it’s important to know where you’ll be using your printed documents. There are a few basic categories that cover most paper uses.

    Desktop papers

    These are the most seen papers. They include letter sizes, legal sizes, and other ledger sizes. You should consider American letter or A series paper in the A4 size for:

    • Letterhead
    • Company brochures
    • Invoices
    • Catalogs
    • Flyers

    Tabloid papers

    For other documents, consider using tabloid/ledger or ANSI B sizes. The term “tabloid” refers to paper in this size with a portrait orientation, and the term “ledger” means it has a landscape orientation.

    Use tabloid or ledger paper for:

    • Newsletters
    • Newspapers
    • Comic books

    You can also use this size to save time when printing labels, postcards, business cards, or other small items. The tabloid size allows you to print many at the same time to save time and money.

    Scrapbook papers

    Scrapbook size paper is typically 12 x 12 inches. This is a large size that you can use for photo albums. You may also consider it for recipe books, instruction manuals, and children’s books.

    Weight Matters

    Besides the size, the paper’s weight is another measurement that makes a big difference. When you consider which papers to choose, look for a # (pound) symbol. It shows how much the paper weighs.

    Heavier paper is usually thicker and stiffer. It’s an excellent choice for projects that need to survive frequent handling or mailing. Heavy paper is durable, and it’s able to take on fancy embellishments like stamping or foil printing.

    For some projects, lighter paper will work better. It is a viable choice if you’re trying to keep your budget under control. Lightweight paper costs less to print, ship, and mail.

    Finish It Off

    Do you want a coating on your paper? A glossy finish looks great on most projects, but it’s not suitable for every project or every page. If you have a full-color publication, a coating will make those colors pop. It lends a glamorous look to your paper. On the other hand, coated paper is difficult to write on, so if you expect your reader to write on the document, don’t use it.

    Matte or uncoated paper gives your project a natural feel. It is also an excellent choice for black and white graphics, which will pop on this paper. It is more porous than coated paper and this can make colors look muted. If that fits the look you want, it can be an excellent choice for most projects.

    Choose the Right Paper Every Time

    At Dazzle Printing, we make it easy for everyone to print great-looking materials. We can help you choose the right page size, weight, and quality for your print job. For the best in customer service, affordable rates, and speedy turnaround, contact us today.



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