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A Handy Guide to Paper Sizes

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Paper sizes can be confusing. Though most people roughly know the difference between A3, A4 and A5 sized paper, their knowledge becomes a bit scattered when you start talking about B5 or C3 sized paper.

This can be a tad problematic, especially when you want precise measurements for your printed product. Imagine printing what is meant to be an A4-sized brochure and it comes out the size of a postcard!

Today, we’re going to clear up any confusion and provide a handy guide for when you want anything printed with the absolute best quality imaginable.


Most paper sizes go off the International Paper Sizes measurement system. These comprise of A, B and envelope sized paper, and each have their unique qualities fit for different purposes. These include everything from posters (A1) to postcards (A6).

The first and most often used of these categories is the ‘A’ series which can be viewed below.

Best Used For:

The A paper series is the most widely used paper size in the world largely due to its many applications. For example, the A series can be used for postcards, letter heards, brochures, and compliment slips, making it the most commonly used paper finish in the world.

This also includes enlarging and reducing image size that doesn’t leave any cutoff or margins; being able to make a small booklet the next size down; everyday printing; or used for daily items such as stamps or vouchers.

For printing, we at Lanes recommend the SRA series of paper. This is great as it allows room for machine grip, colour bar and any potential bleeding.

If you wanted your own supply, visit this guide to see which is right for you.


Though not as widely used as the A paper series, the B-series is still used in a wide variety of circumstances where A sizes are not suitable.

Best Used For:

Due to being larger than the usual SRA sheets, B-series paper tends to be best for books due to its ability to allow for folding the lip and spine.

Otherwise, you’re unlikely to see a B paper finish print job unless you plan to order a lot of books for printing.

Envelope Sizes

While the ISO C-series of paper was introduced to define the sizes of envelopes which would house A-series paper, there are other (more common) kinds of envelope-sized paper that businesses use on the day-to-day purpose, such as the DL size.

Rather limiting in purpose, for sure, but it’s good to know that there is a separate system for envelopes in case you decide to print your own letters, just to avoid any confusion.

Best Used For:

These are the most common types of paper used for the most common types of A-series paper. While it’s good to know you can fit an A4 size piece of paper in a C4 envelope, you’re more likely to get a smaller envelope (namely C5 or DL) to fit into it after folding.

Other Type

The International Paper Sizes system is by no means the only method of measuring paper. There are many different ways of doing so, and some of them include:

  • US Paper Sizes
  • Postcard Sizes
  • Newspaper Sizes

Now you’re more clued up on how paper sizes work, why not take a look at our printing services here at Lanes?

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