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Paper Formats & What They’re Used For

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Paper formats simply describe the type of paper you’re using. If you’re working in an office environment, we’re sure there are piles of A4 documents dotted around along with A5 notebooks placed on each desk. These are paper formats.

Paper format also refers to the weight of your paper which is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). Thicker paper is more durable and therefore less likely to tear.

The list of all the paper formats is very long, and probably not the most interesting thing to real off. Instead, we’ll talk about some of the most commonly used paper formats and what they’re used for.

What Are Standard Paper Formats Used For?

For everything business-related, and probably everyday life related for that matter, the A-series is the most used paper size in the print industry. They include:

  • A7 – 74 x 105mm
  • A6 – 148 x 105mm
  • A5 – 148 x 210mm
  • A4 – 297 x 210mm
  • A3 – 297 x 420mm
  • A2 – 594 x 420mm
  • A1 – 594 x 841mm
  • A0 – 1189 x 841mm

A-series paper is used for everything from letterheads and posters to your weekly shopping list and thoughts journal.

What Paper is Used for Magazine Printing?

Printing paper used for magazines is known for its high-quality finish, weight and grade. An A3 format is most commonly used to create magazines, but other formats like A4 can also be used for a smaller style. Magazines are printed on paper with a gloss coating which gives them a shiny surface. The ink doesn’t soak into this paper, so colours and photographs appear brighter and sharper making it a perfect option for promotional magazines.

Magazines tend to use 80 to 90 GSM for interior pages with heavier paper for the front cover in order to protect the pages.

What Paper is Used for Leaflet & Flyer Printing?

Leaflets and flyers are used to provide important information that stands out for an event, service or company. It needs to be eye-catching and be high quality for those people who stuff them straight into their bags. Promoting your business on silk paper is the most common option. It’s a great middle ground between full gloss and very matt. This gives your flyers some vibrancy whilst providing easy-reading benefits.

Flyers tend to be between 135 – 400 GSM depending on the effect you’re wanting to portray. For leaflets and flyers that will be given out to most people, choosing a lower weight is more cost-effective. For impressing potential clients or giving them away to potential business partners, opting for a heavier weight will likely leave a lasting impression.

What Paper is Used for Posters?

Brochures can be an impressive marketing tactic that increases brand awareness. They can come in a range of different sizes depending on your business and its needs. Brochures are usually printed on 90 GSM for lower cost, everyday hand-outs and 170 – 300 GSM for corporate brochures designed to impress new clients or partners.

For the finish to your brochure, paper treated to give a glossy or matt look can give your brochure a high-end effect.

Trevor has accrued 31 years’ experience in the print industry and has a wealth of knowledge in almost every field of print. He has built Action Press to where it is today and has guided the company through changes in both litho and digital media.

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