Paper sizes

One thing that I found fairly confusing when I moved here was the paper size.  I worked at a marketing agency that did some print campaigns and often heard them telling me that something was about A3 size or that we needed a brochure A5 size…hmm okay?? 

Basically the US and Canada are the only two countries who aren’t using the ‘ISO standard’ paper sizes.  The ISO sizes are labeled with a letter (A) and a number (4, 5, 6) which represents the size and is a ratio of the other sizes.  For example, A4 is the standard ‘letter’ size paper…to get a smaller sized paper like an A5, you cut an A4 in half.  To get a bigger sized paper, an A3, you stick 2 A4’s together and to get bigger than that, an A2, you use 4 A4’s or 2 A3’s…get it??  Here, I have found a picture from Wikipedia which might help.

ISO Paper sizes

Don’t worry, they also have corresponding envelopes for these sizes…and A5 fits in a C5 envelope (so does an A4 folded in half – love those ratios!) A4 fits in a C4 etc etc…

On that thought, who decides what paper we use? why are North Americans the odd ones out at international business meetings with shorter and fatter paper? Why wont’ we conform to the International Standards Organisation’s paper sizes…is it too late? will we forever be the black sheep of paper sizes??

PS – they also don’t have a 3 hole binders or a 3 hole punch….they only use 2 holes in binders….I will take a picture and blog about it later….enough blogging about paper for one day.

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