Sizes & Materials Explained
There is a lot of jargon and terminology used in the printing world and we have put together some hopefully useful descriptions and explanations below to help you understand the most commonly used. We also have the following pages on our website that describe key aspects of creating artwork in detail; Artwork, Artwork Size Guide, Artwork Colour Guide, Artwork Resolution Guide, Artwork Bleed Guide and How To Order.
If there is anything that you need help with, please call us on 01273 917 939 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Standard Document Sizes
The table below shows standard document names and sizes, including the pixel size for artwork creation using tools like Photoshop and InDesign. When creating artwork you should use the size with bleed area. We print at 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution as this results in a very high print quality.
|(without bleed area)||(with bleed)|
|Size Name||Size in mm||Size in pixels |
|Size in mm||Size in pixels
|Business Card||85 mm x 55 mm||1004 px x 650 px||91 mm x 61 mm||1075 px x 720 px|
|DL / Comp Slip||99 mm x 210 mm||2480 px x 1169 px||105 mm x 216 mm||2551 px x 1240 px|
|A6||148 mm x 105 mm||1748 px x 1240 px||154 mm x 111 mm||1819 px x 1311 px|
|A5||210 mm x 148 mm||2480 px x 1748 px||216 mm x 154 mm||2551 px x 1819 px|
|A4||297 mm x 210 mm||3508 px x 2480 px||303 mm x 216 mm||3579 px x 2251 px|
|A3||420 mm x 297 mm||4961 px x 3508 px||426 mm x 303 mm||5031 px x 3579 px|
|A2||594 mm x 420 mm||7016 px x 4961 px||600 mm x 426 mm||7087 px x 5031 px|
|A1||841 mm x 594 mm||9933 px x 7016 px||847 mm x 600 mm||10004 px x 7087 px|
|A0||1189 mm x 841 mm||14043 px x 9933 px||1195 mm x 847 mm||14114 px x 10004 px|
GSM (Grams per Square Meter)
GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter and it is the industry standard acronym that describes the thickness of the paper or card being printed on. The higher the GSM, the heavier or thicker the paper or card.
- 55gsm – thin paper, similar to newspaper thickness
- 80gsm – used for low cost photocopy or printer paper
- 100gsm – used for standard photocopy or printer paper, letterhead, compliment slips etc
- 130 to 150gsm – low cost leaflets flyers and posters
- 200 to 300gsm – the thickness level moves from paper to card. Used for premium flyers, postcards, lower cost business cards
- 350gsm to 450gsm – higher quality business cards, invitations etc
The abbreviation DPI stands for Dots Per Inch and it refers to the output resolution of a printer. It literally means the number of printed dots contained within one inch of an image printed by a printer. The more dots per inch, the higher the resolution and the clearer the image.
Images that are being printed should be created at 300dpi. This ensures a much higher quality, clearer image without having to reduce the image size. When creating a new image, your software should give you an option to set resolution.
There is more information about DPI and image resolution on our Artwork Resolution Guide page..
Lamination is the process of applying a thin sheet of plastic onto paper or card. This can enhance the look and feel of the material and provide protection from wear and tear.
Lamination is commonly used on good quality business cards, flyers, brochures and other professional and business documentation and stationery.
We provide lamination as an option on many of our products. There are usually four choices;
- No Lamination – no lamination added
- Matt Lamination – a smooth professional finish with no shine to it. The most common choice for business cards
- Gloss Lamination – a very smooth feel with a high shine. Fairly common on business cards
- Soft-Touch Lamination – a velvety smooth finish resulting in a premium look and feel. Popular on business cards, high quality flyers, brochures etc
If you select a product, lamination will be offered as an option if its applicable for that product.
Paper and card can be finished with a coating to provide additional strength and quality. This is not to be confused with lamination which adds a thin plastic sheet and with it an additional level of quality to the product.
If a product has different finishes as an option, the choice will be available when selecting the product.
There are four finishes sometimes available depending on the product;
- Un-coated – an un-coated piece of paper or card does not feel completely smooth as it is possible to just feel the fibres of the material
- Matt – a matt finish is smooth to the touch with no shine to it
- Silk – a silk finish is between a matt and gloss finish. It is smooth to the touch with a light sheen
- Gloss – a gloss finish has a high shine to it. Not commonly used on standard paper but common on thin flyers (low gsm) to give added strength to the paper and a bright finish.