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A Handy Guide to UK Paper Sizes

A Handy Guide to UK Paper Sizes

Paper sizes are something even seasoned print veterans find themselves looking up occasionally. While some paper sizes are used on a daily basis at printers and design studios, there are others that are only used a handful of times a year. Those tend to be the sizes most easily forgotten, so we’ve come up with this handy reference guide that can be referred to any time, 365 days of the year. Don’t forget to bookmark it!

The following is not an exhaustive list of paper sizes, but it should cover the most commonly used sizes used by designers and printers around the UK. For the sake of brevity, we’ll leave out the more rarefied ‘legacy’ sizes that we simply tend not to encounter any more.

ISO Paper Sizes:

You may not have heard of ‘ISO’ paper sizes, but you will have used sizes like A4 and A3 perhaps on a weekly basis. A4, A3, A5, A2, B4 and B5 are probably the most easily recognisable examples of ISO ‘A’ and ISO ‘B’ paper sizes.

ISO 'A' paper sizesISO sizes have several neat, and very handy, mathematical properties about them:

  • The ratio of their sides is always 1 to 1.414 (the square root of 2, by the way).
  • To mentally compute the dimensions from one ISO paper size to the next, you simply keep the longest side and double the shortest. So A4 (210mm x 297mm) becomes A3 (297mm x 420mm). We simply doubled the shortest side (210mm) to get that new 420mm dimension, but kept the existing 267mm dimension — easy!
  • Note that the physical paper size at each step up is DOUBLE the paper area. So A4 is half the size of A3 (fold A3 in half and you end up with A4 again). A3 is in turn half the physical size of A2 and so on.
  • You can alternatively enlarge to the next ISO size (e.g. from A4 to A3) by enlarging the original 1.414 times. So, on a photocopier, for example, you would set the magnification to 141.4%.
  • Most ingeniously, the ISO ‘A’ sizes are designed to allow printers to easily compute the weight of a printed stack of papers simply by counting the sheets. It’s based on the fact that the size A0 is exactly 1 square metre in area. So, if you know you have paper that’s, say, 150gsm in weight (paper is specified in grams per square metre; gsm), you know that a stack of one hundred A0 sheets will be 100 x 150gsm, which is 15000grams (i.e. 1.5kg in weight). If your stack happened to be A1, then you simply need to divide that by two (because, as we learned above, the next A size down is half the size). For A2 you halve it again and so on.

ISO ‘A’ sizes:

The ISO ‘A’ series of paper sizes is most widely used for printing and design in the UK; most people will use A4 paper, for example, on a daily basis. As we mentioned above, each ‘step’ down from one A size to the next is exactly half the size, as you can see in the diagram above/right. Here are the main A sizes:

  • A0 = 841mm x H1189mm
  • A1 = 594mm x 841mm
  • A2 = 420mm x 594mm
  • A3 = 297mm x 420mm
  • A4 = 210mm x 297mm
  • A5 = 148mm x 210mm
  • A6 = 105mm x 148mm
  • A7 = 74mm x 105mm
  • A8 = 52mm x 74mm
  • A9 = 37mm x 52mm

If you want to go larger than A0, the next size up is called “2A0” (1189 x 1682mm). Use the maths trick above to go up from there to 3A0, 4A0 and beyond.

ISO ‘B’ paper sizes:

Exactly as with the ‘A’ sizes, each ‘B’ paper size can be Read more

Printing for ‘Venice in Peril’, London SW6

Printing for Venice in Peril Fund

Southside Print has recently had the honour of being the chosen London printer for a charity based just a few miles away; the Venice in Peril Fund. We printed the A4 flyers/postcards shown below, right, as well as some DL sized flyers, A5 flyers and stationery that included various business cards. The A5 postcards shown below were printed on 190gsm White Essential Offset card. This wood-free paper stock has a trendy, uncoated feel, offers great value for money and gives a superb printed result on our digital and litho printing presses. The DL flyers were printed on the same material and publicised some of the charity’s spring lectures last year.

The charity has also used Southside Print to print onto ‘Favini Alga Carta’, their very own recycled paper that was developed from algae, originally from the Venice lagoon but more recently from other marine sites. You can read more about this innovative paper, along with the incredible idea behind it, here.

VeniceAbout Venice in Peril

Anyone who has ever eaten a ‘Veneziana’ pizza at a Pizza Express restaurant will have already heard of the Venice in Peril Fund. A small discretionary donation, included with every Veneziana pizza order, has raised over £2 million for the charity since the partnership began in 1975.

The Venice in Peril Fund came into existence following the terrible floods of 1966, which severely damaged both Venice and Florence, Italy. Initially called the Art & Archives Rescue Fund (IAARF), the fund-raising activity for the Florence region had served its purpose by 1967, so the focus for fundraising was redirected solely towards Venice and the organisation was re-launched as The Venice in Peril Fund that we know today.

Venice in Peril has its UK headquarters just 7 miles West of Southside Print in Putney, London SW6. The registered charity has been in existence for over forty years, during which time it has raised millions of pounds, primarily for the conservation of buildings, monuments and works of art in Venice. The city remains under constant threat from the surrounding water, rising sea levels and pollution but the charity goes much further than helping to fight only those threats. Along with its conservation work, the Venice in Peril Fund pays for studies, events, education and advocacy for, and about, the region. In support of this work, Venice in Peril also promotes a deeper understanding of Venice – its complex history, the contribution it has made to world culture and the challenges it faces today – to encourage responsible and informed engagement with the city.

Printed postcard & flyer for Venice in Peril eventSpring Lecture in aid of the Venice in Peril Fund

On the 24th of April, the 12th Kirker Spring Lecture will be taking place at the Royal Geographical Society in London SW7. The lecture is by award-winning restaurateur, writer and broadcaster Russell Norman. Russell operates and co-founded several restaurants under the POLPO banner in London and elsewhere, has won several major awards for his books, presented a six-part prime-time documentary (The Restaurant Man) for BBC2 in 2014 and has been recognised by Debretts as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK. His lecture is entitled “The Food of Venice and the Lagoon: how its culinary traditions are as important as its people and its stones” and is being held in aid of the Venice in Peril Fund. Doors open at 6pm with a reception followed by the lecture itself at 7pm. Tickets are £20. More detail about the event, along with ticket purchases, is available here. You can also click the thumbnail image of the A5 postcard/flyer published for this lecture, shown on the right, for more information. The flyer is one of several marketing pieces printed for the charity by Southside Print in London SE1.

The Venice in Peril Fund is at 11 Hurlingham Studios, Ranelagh Gardens, London SW6 3PA and can be contacted on 020 7736 6891. Alternatively email or visit www.veniceinperil.org for more information. Those interested in becoming a member of the charity can also learn more or sign up here.

Printing Services in South and Central London

Southside Print has traditionally offered its litho, large format and digital printing services primarily in and around the London Bridge, Borough and South East (SE1) region of London. Now under new ownership, we’re beginning to extend our print and graphic design services to a wider South and Central London audience, including Victoria SW1, Clerkenwell EC1, The City and EC2/EC3/EC4/EC5 postcodes, amongst many others. Of course, we can supply printing and design services to anyone, anywhere (not just London), and this will be especially true in the near future when we introduce a full online ordering service to the website. You’ll soon be able to order and pay online, then Read more