If you’re responsible for sourcing your company’s commercial printing needs, A and B series paper sizes will be familiar. You might also be aware of the SRA paper sizing series. If you’re not, you’re about to!

A lot of people think that the paper print companies print on is the same size as the finished job. For example, you might need A4 flyers and assume that we print onto A4 sheets, like a basic desktop printer. However, like your desktop printer, commercial printers also cannot print edge to edge of any paper, which leaves a white border on the document. What we do at inteliprint, is use SRA3 sized paper and trim the art down to the required standard A series size. This is how a digital printer can produce edge to edge magazines and brochures. Which makes small production runs more economic than offset printing for the customer which is suited to larger volume orders.

What is SRA sizing?

SRA stands for ‘supplementary raw format A’ and is slightly larger than the standard A series sizes. As shown below, standard A3 sized paper is 297 x 420 mm and the SRA3 size is 320 x 450 mm. SRA3 is the paper size most commercial digital print machines will take. Lithographic or offset printers can of course, print larger sizes.

Diagram showing SRA and A series paper sizes used in commercial printing.

SRA and A series paper sizes

I need A5 flyers printed. What does SRA3 have to do with my print job?

Everything! In the case of A5 documents, commercial printers will use SRA3 and impose multiple (4) copies of the A5 artwork onto the larger sheet. There is still space around the edges and between each flyer to ensure the SRA3 sheet is trimmed using the guillotine and we end up with 4 copies of the A5 flyer per SRA3 sheet. Imposing the job saves everyone money. Printers have a maximum capacity of sheets they can process in a period. Reducing the sheet size doesn’t increase the potential output by sheet, so using the maximum sheet size for the machine helps to keep the production costs low, and saves the customer money too.

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