Even though the main focus of most marketing strategies is digital advertising, print formats are still a vital part of every marketing mix. Whether you are a small local business, growing startup, or a big corporation, print advertising is still one of the most important channels you will utilize.
Flyers are still among the most popular print advertising formats when it comes to driving sales, increasing foot traffic, or creating brand awareness. One of the biggest reasons for their popularity is the fact that they are relatively cheap to produce and easy to distribute. Unlike digital ads, which perish once you run out of budget, people tend to save the print ones for future reference.
Posters have been around for centuries. The evolution of poster design shows how posters grew from the first channel for mass communication and advertising into the foundation of modern-day graphic design. Even in our world obsessed with digital and screens, posters still play a vital role in event or product advertising.
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Size does matter, for flyers and posters
Printing technology has changed dramatically over the past decade. Laser printing and cutting mean that you can create print designs in any shape and size imaginable. There are no more strict rules and restrictions when it comes to printing. Still, there are some good practices that have proven over years that they work.
For example, when it comes to flyers, you might get tempted to go small and cut the cost of production even more. However, the best size that works for flyers is the A5. The flyers this size are usually the ones that most people save for later reference. It also gives you enough room to put all the necessary information and images without making it look overcrowded.
Navigating through all the options regarding standard paper sizes can be confusing, mainly if you work with clients or designers from different regions in the world. There are two global standards for flyer and poster sizes, ANSI (used in the US and Canada) and ISO 216 (used internationally.
So, before you start working on your flyers and posters, make sure that you have the correct dimensions. This guide is here to help you navigate the entire journey.
ANSI Flyer Sizes (the US and Canada)
Standard flyer 8.5x11 inches (216x279.5 mm) is the most popular in the United States and Canada. This size is equivalent to a US Letter page size, and it is popular because of its versatile folding options. It can be folded in half (half-fold flyer), twice (tri-fold, gate-fold, z-fold), or three times (accordion fold).
Half sheet flyer 5.5x8.5 inches (139.5x216 mm) is the cheapest option when it comes to printing.
Large format flyer 11x17 inches (279.5x432 mm) is usually distributed as an insert in small-format newspapers. It is also known by its nickname “tabloid.”
ANSI Poster Sizes (the US and Canada)
Large posters 24x35 inches (609.5x914.5 mm) are the most popular option for event promotion or advertising and are usually made for outdoor use.
One sheet poster 27x40 inches (686x1016 mm) is the standard size for movie posters in the US and Canada, but it is also used in the UK and Australia.
Medium posters come in two sizes, 18x24 inches (457x609.5 mm) and 19x27 inches (482.5x686 mm). They are most frequently used in schools and colleges for showcasing charts.
ISO 216 Flyer Sizes (International)
A4 flyer 210x297 mm (8.2x11.6 inches) is similar in size to the standard flyer in the US. It is widely used because of its versatility.
A5 flyer 148x210 mm (5.8x8.2 inches) is mainly used for promotional pamphlets.
DL flyer 99x210 mm (3.8x8.2 inches) or “dimension lengthwise” is one-third of a standard A4 flyer. This type of flyer is used for promoting a single offer or product.
ISO 216 Poster Sizes (International)
A0 poster 841x1189 mm (33x46.8 inches) because of its size, this type of poster is used for indoor and outdoor advertising.
A1 poster 594x841 mm (23x33 inches) is usually utilized for advertising.
A2 poster 420x594 mm (16.5x23.3 inches) is most used for event advertising such as concerts or sporting events.
A3 poster 297x420 mm (11.6x16.5 inches) since this size can be printed even on the home printer. This poster size is mainly used for non-commercial purposes.
Setting your posters and flyers for print
Your printing service usually prints materials on a larger piece of paper than the dimensions of your flyer or poster. This is usually done because they can print multiple files simultaneously on the same sheet of paper to cut the cost and production time.
Once printed, the material is cut on the guillotine, a large knife that cuts through stacked sheets of paper. Since this type of cutting is not precise, slight misalignments happen during the process. Therefore, you need to pay attention to bleed and margins when setting up files for print. They are all equally important because they keep the content and the design safely away from the knife.
In essence, bleed area or bleed makes sure that there are no white lines around your design after cutting. Designers usually extend the document’s borders for an additional 1/8 inch (3mm) on each side. Design colors and elements extend beyond the document’s standard print size to ensure that there are no white lines around it when slight misalignments happen during the cutting process.
If you plan to create a document for a larger format print, you should increase the bleed area. For example, for medium poster size, your bleeds should go up to 1/2 inches (12.7mm).
Margins create an internal safe zone in the document intended for print. The minimal acceptable size of the margins is 1/4 inch from each document edge. They provide an additional layer of protection for the design after the cutting process. Therefore logo, text, and other essential elements of the document should not go past the margins.
If your flyer or brochure needs to be folded, you also need to leave 1/8 of inch margins on each side of the fold. Folding lines make sure that your design stays symmetrical and that the folding won’t affect any part of the content.
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Picking the right paper
The size you pick for your flyer or poster will depend on three things. The content you want to put on the flyer, the type of business, and the distribution method. Determining these three in advance will help you pick the right paper quality quickly. There are many types of paper, and you will have to check with the printing service you plan to hire about available options. However, you can divide paper types into the following categories:
- Glossy paper is used mainly for luxurious, professional, and high-end brands. The colors and images come to attention better with this format. The only downside of this format is that it is prone to smudging and smearing, so it should be used for promotional materials distributed directly to the audience.
- Premium paper is almost identical to glossy paper with one crucial difference, its resistance to smearing and smudging.
- Matte finish paper has a much softer appeal than glossy paper and is usually used by professional services. It is not prone to smearing and smudging. Due to its matte finish, its colors are muted compared to glossy and premium paper.
- Recycled paper is becoming more and more popular because of its environmental impact. With the improvement of recycling technology, the quality of recycled paper is almost indistinguishable from the regular one.
Picking the right size for your poster and flyer is just one part of making this format works for you. You also need to pay close attention to its design. People will get dozens of flyers every day. If you want to see any results from your marketing efforts, you need to have a design that grabs attention and speaks to your target audience.
There are a lot of things that can affect the price of flyers. If you consider printing a significant volume of pamphlets, even the slightest change can mean many more expenses. Knowing the right size is the first step in picking the best option from your local printer.