General FAQs Section

All other questions about print and design supply from SBDW are available here.

Questions on Print Sizes

Print Sizes: What sizes can I order?

In general we list on our site the standard print sizes, known as the ISO sizes, DIN standard sizes or Lichtenberg sizes. These are (truncated) A4, A5, A6, A7. For more info on this read the Wikipedia entry.

All ISO 216, ISO 217 and ISO 269 paper sizes (except DL) have the same aspect ratio, \scriptstyle 1:\sqrt2. This ratio has the unique property that when cut or folded in half widthwise, the halves also have the same aspect ratio. Each ISO paper size is one half of the area of the next larger size.

We do of course offer any size you could wish, within reason.

General rule; for a flyer, leaflet or poster, the price for a custom size will be the same as the next ISO size up that it fits within.

So for example a 148.5mm square flyer will be priced the same as an A5 (148x210mm) flyer. A 297mm square poster would be priced as per an A3 (297x420mm). Of course different sizes aside from square are possible, but the principle remains the same; for example 100x120mm would come out of A6 (105 x 148mm).

Its always worth checking with us but if you are in a rush, just place your order for the next size up and put in your order notes that you want a different size and 99% of the time we will simply be able to print and supply to you.

Print Sizes: List of paper sizes

There are a few different standard sizes.

A series

All ISO 216, ISO 217, DIN and ISO 269 paper sizes (except DL) have the same aspect ratio, \scriptstyle 1:\sqrt2.

A-sizes or ISO Sizes (common)

A4: 210 x 297mm
A5: 148 x 210mm
A6: 105 x 148mm

Please note, we simplify the technically correct 148.5mm to 148mm for ease of reading.

A-sizes or ISO Sizes (full)

A0: 840 x 1188mm
A1: 594 x 840mm
A2: 420 x 594mm
A3: 297 x 420mm
A4: 210 x 297mm
A5: 148 x 210mm
A6: 105 x 148mm
A7: 74 x 105mm
A8: 52 x 74mm

Please note, we simplify the technically correct 74.5 and 52.5 for ease of reading.

B series, Crowns & Royals

B series are based around metric (mm/cm) measurements. Crowns & Royals are based around Imperial (inch) measurements.

Generally used for large format posters, the B series have a set of common names too based on their Imperial variants. Although a 20×30″ is not technically 20×30″, at such large sizes fitment is not so important and so a Double Crown may be supplied at 500×707, 500×700, 19.7×27.8″, or 20×30″ by different manufacturers.  As a general rule of thumb, for exhibition and indoor display, the metric sizes and measurements are used and for outdoor display, its more common to use Imperial measurements. Most sizes are to all intents and purposes interchangeable up to B0/4-Sheet by which time Imperial is the prevalent system.

B2 / Double Crown / 20×30

B2 is 500 x 707mm, which is 19.7 x 27.8″
A Double Crown is technically rounded up to 20 x 30″
These are interchangeable terms and sizes.

Double Royal

This is the standard poster size used on the London Underground, it is 25 x 40″.

Quad Royal

Again these are fairly Underground-specific sizes, 40 x 50″.
B1 / Quad / Quad Crown / 30×40
B1 is 707 x 1000mm, which is 27.8 x 39.4″
A Quad or Quad Crown is technically rounded up to 30 x 40″, which is 762 x 1016.
As you can see there is a 5.5cm difference here which although not appreciable, is sometimes worth being aware of.
B0 / Four Sheet
B0 is 1000 x 1414mm, which is 39.4 x 55.7″
A 4-Sheet is technically rounded up to 60×40″ which is 1016 x 1524mm.
As you can see there is now a 11cm difference in size. This although appreciable, is in fact immaterial as by this size, Imperial measurements take over as the standard for the industry. Most boards, displays, display areas, mounting points and even the paper sizes themselves have a degree of tolerance built in.

C series – Envelopes

There’s no detail to go into with the C series as its predominantly used for envelopes. An A4 sheet fits nicely into a C4 envelope and the sizes are very common for envelopes so there is little room for error.

Here’s some basic sizes if you want to doublecheck. Of course to complicate things we offer envelopes in square sizes and several other special build sizes; it depends if its a colour or special envelope whats out there. Best to visit our Envelopes section for more.

C3: 324 x 458mm
C4: 229 x 324mm
C5: 162 x 229mm
C6: 114 x 162mm

You can find out more about paper sizes and the history and reasoning behind them on the Wikipedia entry.


Preparing Artwork for Large Format Print

I’m looking for A1 posters – I’m not sure I have the photo resolution to get that big – how do you generally achieve A1 size? Is print quality a issue?

This will be dictated by your source image. Its very unlikely that your image, whether created by a computer, or a camera, is A1 at 300dpi. You use a desktop publishing software, insert the picture, and size it to fit where you need it to be. The software will then tell you the effective resolution it will print at. In an ideal world this will be 72-144dpi but unless you are prepared to change your image, you have no choice in the matter. As the document will generally be viewed from afar, its not a big issue. Whats more important is using vector text in your document so that it is sharp at any size. In this case, and in the case of sizing imagery within a desktop publishing package, its immaterial what file size you produce at, as long as things are in proportion. With regards to your imagery, you just have to do the best with what you have available to use.

Can I see a proof?

We can offer three types of proof; online or two kinds of hardcopy – colour-accurate, and digital. Due to the somewhat labour-intensive process involved in hardcopies, we charge £7.50 for online or £15 for a hardcopy digital, and more for a colour-accurate proof; this covers any single items such as flyers or posters.

A proof for a brochure is completely possible, lets deal with that later along with colour-accurate proofing.

These charges include our Artwork Helper package which will include adjustment of any bleeds, correction of sizes, etc – basically, to make your file 100% print ready if you are uncertain.

Digital Hardcopy Proof

If you feel like you would like a digital hardcopy proof, we’d ask you to consider the following. This process will delay your order, as it will take us 1-2 working days to send to you, then there is post time, and of course your artwork can’t go to print until you approve the proofs. Secondly, the process will not be completely colour-accurate; as our printing process is lithographic, this involves the creation of printing plates which is a one-off and costly process. So any proof will be digitally printed and therefore cannot be held colour-accurate.

Therefore, there is nothing that can be seen on a digital hardcopy, that can’t be seen on screen. This to our mind makes them somewhat redundant, but your mileage may vary, and so the choice is yours. If you feel that the benefits don’t outweigh the costs, we’d recommend an online proof.

You can add a hardcopy proof to your Cart now by clicking this link.

Online Proof

An online proof is an emailed PDF (or a Dropbox link to a PDF) which will show your artwork exactly as it will print. We operate a WYSIWYG system, so anything you send to us will be reproduced exactly as sent, provided you’ve followed our Artwork Guidelines.

Essentially, if you send us a PDF to X1/a (2001) spec, we would simply send you back a reduced size version of this. So if you’ve sent us a print-ready PDF, this may be redundant.

If, however, you’ve sent us an EPS file, an InDesign file, or a file from Word, Quark or some other format, you may want a proof to ensure that the conversion to PDF has run smoothly. So in this case, its quite useful.

If you’ve sent us a TIF or JPEG, or other “flat” or bitmap file, then making it into a PDF is a redundant process for us. Contrary to in the past, we can print from these files directly now. Again we feel there is no need to proof with these file types; this is why we suggest them to keep workflow fast.

However if you’d like an online proof, please specify this at order; you can add a proof to your cart now by clicking this link.

Colour-Accurate Proof

A colour accurate proof is the closest thing we can get to your final product. In most cases, it IS your final product; we can literally print a single version lithographically for you.

For something like this we’d recommend you Get in Touch with us directly. The best way to do this and keep it cost-effective is to print on a B0 press with several other jobs at once. To batch something like this takes approx 2 weeks or more. We can of course produce these faster, but the costs do increase.

A rough guide price for a colour accurate proof is £30-50.

Questions on Environmental Issues

Environmental: Can we put the FSC logo on our print?

The short answer is no. The long answer is yes, of course, but not at the price structure we offer. To put an FSC logo on print without contravening the guidelines (something we would not consider as it would prejudice our future ability to trade) you MUST go through an external check by FSC, on a job-by-job basis, to confirm with the ISO standards to which we work and those of FSC.

Each printer is allocated an FSC logo. One cannot hand out one’s FSC logo to a third party. Therefore to bring a job to print with an FSC logo, we would have to place a dummy version on your working proofs, then have it replaced with live art in the factory, this would then have to go through an internal CSR check, then to an external FSC check before use.

Despite this being a fairly fast process, when most of our jobs contain 8, 16 or even 32 pieces of separate client artwork and are printed, boxed and despatched within as little as 4 hours, we cannot stop to do this, not to mention it would breach our confidentiality which sadly we cannot do.

If you wish to use the logo we would be able to do this as a separate matter but because the job would have to go solo, you’d be looking at roughly a 300% price hike. Doing multiple pieces of work together, for example a business startup package with more than 15,000 printed leaves, would allow us to do this at a reasonable cost per unit, but not ordering ad hoc.