North American Paper & Envelope Sizes
Standalone Paper Formats
North American Common Paper Formats & Usage
Here are the current standard paper sizes used in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Letter, legal, ledger, and tabloid are by far the most commonly used of these for everyday applications.
|Formats & Usage||Inches||Millimeters|
|Letter & Standard Brochure Format||8.5 x 11||215.9 x 279.4|
|Legal Format||8.5 x 14||215.9 x 355.6|
|Ledger & 4-page Flyer Format||17 x 11||431.8 x 279.4|
|Tabloid & Mini Poster Format||11 x 17||279.4 x 431.8|
|Standard Folded Pamphlet Format||4 x 9||101.6 x 228.6|
|Standard Small Brochure Format||6 x 9||152.4 x 228.6|
|Standard Kit Folder Format||9 x 12||228.6 x 304.8|
|Standard Small Poster Format||18 x 24||457.2 x 609.6|
|Standard Large Poster Format||24 x 36||609.6 x 914.4|
|Standard Extra Large Poster Format||36 x 48||914.4 x 1219.2|
|Standard Oversize Print Format||48 x 72||1219.2 x 1828.8|
North American Envelope Formats & Sizes
Envelopes come in so many styles and formats, that it would be difficult to attempt to list them all. Add to that an endless variety of paper stocks, finishes, thicknesses and levels of durability. Some come with protective padding, security features and windows while others are designed for specific methods of shipping, like airmail envelopes. We’ve listed the most common types to help you make the appropriate choice for your design projects. Ask your local paper merchant for specific envelope details, samples and availability of your selections.
Also, make sure to get from your government postal service, specific instructions regarding envelope design guidelines and specifications. You must precisely follows your country’s official mailing rules and regulations, if you don’t want to have your design work rejected because it does not meet required specifications. Since these differ from country to country, be careful to respect international rules and regulations if your envelope is to be shipped out of the country, especially in bulk as a commercial mailing. Remember, you can custom design your envelope as long as you respect your country’s postal rules and regulations. It’s a good idea to always check your final design with the local postal authorities to get official approval before sending your files to the printer.
NOTE – We are using on purpose, in the ‘inches column’, decimal values instead of fractions in order to make it easier for you to use it in your favorite software. This way you don’t have to convert fractions into decimals. You could also simply cut and paste the numbers from this page into your favorite software.
The Difference Between Coated and Uncoated Papers
The major difference between coated or uncoated papers beyond the look, is how the inks will rest or sit on the paper once printed. On a coated sheet, the inks will stay on top of the coating, spread less, the colors will be more vibrant and the image sharper. On an uncoated sheet, the inks will penetrate the paper, will spread a lot more, the colors will appear duller and the image less sharp. It is the role of the designer to choose the appropriate paper for his design requirements and look and feel.
Coating is a process by which paper is coated with an agent to improve brightness or printing properties. Different levels of coating are divided into light coated, medium coated, high coated, and art papers. Coated papers come with different finishes; ultra glossy, glossy, satin or matt finish. Coating also makes the printed material more shiny and colors more vibrant. That is why it is generally used in the printing of brochures, magazines, book covers and art books who have large photographs. The coating restricts the amount of ink that is absorbed by the paper and how the ink bleeds into the paper. This is desirable for sharp and complex images as the ink stays on top of the paper and will not wick or bleed reducing the sharpness of the printed material. Coated paper is more resistant to dirt, moisture and wear.
Like the name says, uncoated paper does not have any coating, but these papers also come with different finishes and various texture options; vellum, smooth, super smooth, linen, laid, cockle, etc. Uncoated paper is typically used for letterheads, copy paper, stationery and lower quality leaflets and brochures. But high quality uncoated papers are generally used by designers for a more prestigious or elegant look on letterheads, envelopes, high quality brochures and packaging. Uncoated papers will absorb inks more and make them spread or bleed, reducing the sharpness of the printed material and the colors will appear more dull. Uncoated paper is less resistant to dirt, moisture and wear.
Paper Weight and Paper Grade Explained
Paper weight is divided in two main categories: Text and Cover based on weight and thickness. Text weight is a lighter and thinner paper stock that includes Bond, Book, Writing, Ledger and Offset paper. Text paper is flexible and can be easily folded. Cover weight is a heavier and thicker paper stock that includes Bristol, Index, Tag and Card paper. Cover paper is more rigid and must be scored before it can be folded. There are two systems for indicating the weight of paper; a North American system and an International Metric system. Papers are also graded for quality on a scale from 1 to 5, with one being the highest.
North American Paper Weight System
The North American system for paper weight uses pounds (lb.) while the International Metric system uses grams per square meter (M). The North American pound rating is based on the weight of 500 sheets. Text or Cover weight descriptions always include a number that refers to the weight of the paper. The higher the number, the heavier the paper and heavier means thicker as well. The US system is confusing because the same pound number can be used for both Text and Cover paper weights. For example, a 100 lb. Text and 100 lb. Cover have the same pound number even though the cover stock is almost twice as heavy and thick. The reason why, is they both use the weight of 500 sheets, but they use a different size sheet. Text stock measures 25″ x 38″ while Cover stock is 20″ x 26″ instead. In North America they also measure Cover stock thickness in points. For example, a 10 pt. Card stock is 0.010″ while 12 pt. is 0.012″ thick.
Papers are graded for quality on a scale from 1 to 5, with one being the highest and it’s used to distinguish between printing papers from different manufacturers. Grade refers to category, class, rating, opacity, finishes, brightness or brand of paper. Paper grading is essential to differentiate the quality of one paper manufacturer’s brand of paper, to other paper brands and is used in the printing industry to sell paper based on quality. Where this becomes confusing for the designer, is our industry also uses various terms loosely to differentiate different types of papers, for example, offset, bond, coated, uncoated, bristol, cover, text, index, tag, newsprint, digital papers, acid free, recycled, corrugated, etc. and also call them grades instead of type of papers. Real paper grading is an international system used by paper mills and the printing industry to grade quality on a scale from 1 to 5.
Also see International Metric Paper Weight System