Sunday, 16 October 2011

WIDFP? - Paper Formats

Many paper size standards conventions have existed at different times and in different countries. Today there is one widespread international ISO standard (including A4, B3, C4, etc.) and a localised standard used in North America (including letter, legal, ledger, etc.). The paper sizes affect writing paper, stationery, cards, and some printed documents. The standards also have related sizes for envelopes.

ISO paper standards are widely used. Originally for the litho and screen print industries where sizes need to be fixed they are still used extensively in the large format digital printing market although Large format digital printers use rolls rather than sheets of paper. This is due to the fact that most of the shelf display hardware for exhibition, retail and advertising are manufactured to take these set poster sizes. Poster frames, Billboards, Pavement signs come in set sizes. European displays are metric where in the UK we still have imperial sizes such as 20" x 30". Paper sizes listed below:

ISO Paper Sizes
The Series A is used for Standard Printing and Stationery. The Series B is used for Posters, Wall-Charts etc.

Area of A0 = 1 Square meter
A0/A1 = AI/A2 = A2/A3 ...........A9/A10 = 2
Length = 1.414 * Width

Width of An = 2^(-1/4-n/2) and Height = 2^(1/4-n/2)

The C series is used for folders, post cards and envelopes. C series envelope is suitable to insert A series sizes.

Width of Cn = 2^(-1/8-n/2) and Height = 2^(3/8-n/2)

The allowed tolerances are ±1.5 mm for dimensions up to 150 mm, ±2 mm for dimensions above 150 mm up to 600 mm, and ±3 mm for dimensions above 600 mm.

The A, B & C series are trimmed paper sizes. ISO also define format series RA and SRA for untrimmed raw paper, where SRA stands for 'supplementary raw format A'. These formats are only slightly larger than the corresponding A series formats. Sheets in these formats are cut to the end format after binding. The ISO RA0 format has an area of 1.05 m² and the ISO SRA0 format has an area of 1.15 m². These formats also follow the sqrt(2)-ratio and half-area rule, but the dimensions of the start format have been rounded to the full centimeter. The common untrimmed paper formats that printers order from the paper manufacturers are

Common Application Examples:

The system of 'A' paper sizes was created by the International Standards Organization (ISO) to standardize the dimensions of paper. The smaller the number, the larger the sheet. So, for instance, an A1 sheet of paper is larger than an A2 piece, and A3 is bigger than A4.

It can be a little confusing at first as you might instinctively think the larger the number, the larger the piece of paper, but in fact it's the other way around. The larger the number, the smaller the paper.

The sizes are all relative to one another. Each sheet is the equivalent in size to two of the next smallest size in the series. So, for instance, two pieces of A1 make up an A0 sheet, or two pieces of A5 make up an A4 sheet. Or, put another way, each sheet is twice the size of the next in the series. If you tear a piece of A4 in half, you've two pieces of A5, or if you tear a piece of A3 in half, you've two pieces of A4.

2A0 is the largest piece of paper measured by this system, and A7 the smallest. A4 size is the paper commonly used in computer printers. The dimensions are set in millimeters, so the inch equivalents given in the table below are only approximations.

For the mathematically minded: the height-to-width ration of ISO A paper sizes is based on the square root of two (1.4142 : 1) and a sheet of A0 is defined as having an area of a square meter. (link)

Billboard Sizes
There are several standard sizes of billboards and printed bulletins used in the outdoor advertising display market. The names have remained from the old days when the posters consisted of a certain number of panels. Today’s posters are made with a considerably smaller number of panels, or may even be all one sheet in the case of a vinyl graphic. However, the basic sizes have remained the same since the panels used to display the older posters are still in use.

Business Card Sizes
Business cards date back hundreds of years and typically include the givers name, their companies’ name and their contact details. In modern times many companies will design high specification business cards, printed on high quality card stock in order to reflect well on their company – as a business card is the first impression many potential stakeholders will have of a company. Tent cards that fold back to the original business card size are popular, as are other innovations such as using unusual materials for the cards – PVC plastic, rubber, wood, metal and magnetic business cards are not uncommon as companies strive to stand out from the crowd. One thing that does stay constant however is the size of the business card.

Newspaper Sizes
The broadsheet newspaper size is the largest of the various newspaper formats and is characterized by long vertical pages. The term derives from types of popular prints – usually just of a single sheet – sold on the streets and containing various types of matter, from ballads to political satire. The first broadsheet newspaper was the Dutch Courante, published in 1618. Newspapers currently using the broadsheet format include; The Daily Telegraph in the UK, The National Post in Canada, Die Zeit in Germany, The Times of India, The Japan Times and USA Today. The Berliner format is used by many European newspapers, including; The Guardian in the UK, Expresso in Portugal, The University Observer in Ireland, Le Monde in France and La Repubblica in Italy. As the term “tabloid” has become synonymous with down-market newspapers in some areas, some small-format papers which claim a higher standard of journalism refer to themselves as “compact” newspapers instead, however both are generally the same size. Some newspapers that use this format include; The Sun and The Times in the UK, NRC Handelsblad in the Netherlands, Berlingske Tidende in Denmark and the Daily Telegraph in Australia.

C Series
The C series of paper is used only for envelopes; as the area of a C series sheet is the geometric mean of the A and B series sheets of the same number. This means that an A4 sheet is slightly smaller than a C4 sheet, which in turn is slightly smaller than a B4 sheet. In practice this means that an A4 letter could fit unfolded into a C4 envelope which could then fit into a B4 envelope.

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