Standard U.S vs European Paper Sizes: What you need to know [Infographic]

Written by Large Format Printing, Printing

When it comes to printing, paper weight and size play a very important role. Understanding exactly what type of product and what works best for your graphic is a crucial part in creating print material. Different sizes work better for different projects and designs.

Unfortunately expressing exactly what size and weight of paper you want could be tricky. Frequently customers aren’t knowledgeable about the standard metrics in which paper is measured.

In addition, there are some differences internationally and although you might have a handle on US paper sizes, most other nations use a different system.

For example standard paper sizes in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, are defined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

While the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines European standardized sizes.

Since the standards are different, it can lead to some problems in communication when doing business with someone from another country.

​With the world becoming a much more global market place, international business is becoming more commonplace .

​Since the likelihood of doing business internationally is more likely, so is the chance that this will be a concern for you at some point or the other.

According to the ANSI series paper sizes;

  • the most commonly used and available size is the ANSI A or standard letterhead which is 8.5 by 11 inches. ​Often Followed by legal sized paper which is 8.5 by 14 inches. Followed by ANSI B otherwise referred to as standard Ledger or tabloid (11 in by 17in), ​ ANSI C (17 in by 22in), ANSI D (22 in by 34 in) and ANSI E (34 in by 44 in).

According to standard European paper sizes, paper sizes go from A0-A7 and includes a standard business card size (BC). Since most european countries use the metric system the European standard sizes are measured in millimeters.

  • ​A0 is the largest format offered and is best suited for adhesives, vinyl banners, and large format posters.  It is most similar to ANSI E  at 1189 mm by 841 mm or 33.1 inches by 46.8 inches.
  • ​A1 is best for adhesives, vinyl, and wall planners and is 841mm by 594mm or 23.4 by 33.1 inches (which is most similar to ANSI D)
  • ​A2 is frequently used for adhesives, vinyl and posters and is 594mm by 420mm or 16.5 by 23.4 inches ( which is most similar to ANSI C)
  • ​A3, used for posters and menus and is 297mm by 420mm or 11.7 by 16.5 inches (which is most similar to ANSI B)​
  • A4 is their standard paper size, which is 297mm by 210mm or 8.3 by 11.7 inches. This most closely matches the US standard letterhead or ANSI A.
  • A5, used for booklets, brochures, flyers, and leaflets and is 210 by 148mm or 5.8 by 8.3 inches
  • ​A6, used for flyers, leaflets, and postcards and is 148mm by 105mm or 4.1 by 5.8 inches
  • ​The standard business card or BC is 85mm by 55mm or 90mm or 3.5 by 2 inches.

There are also standards used for paper weights in print. This is to ensure that you are getting the paper thickness you need from your supplier. The density of paper products are measured in grams per square meter according to the ISO defined metrics.

​There are 12 different densities to choose from, ranging from the thickness of toilet paper all the way to luxury quadruple thick business cards.

Before starting a project with a print shop make sure that you are in agreement on what set of standards to follow for sizing.

​Understand both ANSI metrics as well as ISO in order to make sure that you are communicating effectively with your printer. Ensuring that your prints will turn out just as you had wanted.

​If you have any questions or don’t know what you want, feel free to call us or checkout our website  for some guidance on which size and density would work best for you.

European vs US Paper Sizes and Weights-01

Last modified: December 21, 2021

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