Tip of the month by Chris Cochrane
Size Does Matter

When you look at rugby players like George Gregan, Ben Blair, Sam Tuitupo or if you are old enough to remember, Grant Batty, you could be very tempted to believe size does not matter.   But in our professional world of printing, we all know size is extremely important.  The human eye can detect very small variation in size, certainly less than a millimetre, in fact we are able to detect items approximately 0.2 mm in diameter and small variations, when two similar sized objects are placed together, are very easily spotted.

So it is not the difference between quarto (or as it is often called American A4 and is 8.5 inch by 11 inch, or 216 mm 279 mm) and A4 that I refer to, but the importance of size when specifying a bound product.  It is important that the correct binding side is known, right from the time of the quote, and that this information is clearly communicated to each person involved in the job. 

Can you print a humble 4 page A4 office newsletter on the industry workhorse GTO?  The answer is not quite as obvious as it might seem.  You need a bit more information before you can say yes.  Is the fold is along the 297 side, or is it along the 210 side?

According to Grant Letfus, Bindery manager for Soar Printing and member of the Trade training council, the print finishers standard is to specify the bound edge first. This means most A4 magazines are 297 by 210, not 210 by 297.  A magazine (or newsletter) 210 by 297 would open out to by 210 by 594.  Grant says this standard is widely accepted in New Zealand and Australia.

Portrait and Landscape can be confusing too.  If you think of an A4 saddle stitched calendar, it is likely that it will be presented landscape yet it has the same size (297 by 210) as an A4 magazine presented portrait.

As always it is important to communicate your message clearly and yes size really does matter.

If you want to comment or suggest a topic for ‘tip of the month’, contact Chris on email cc@printcost.com


“We first installed Printcost in 1995 when the company had 35 staff, since then various modules have been added to keep National Lifeboat Institution) in the UK. This allows each branch to call-off stock items and track the progress of their orders which are printed at the charity’s head office in Poole, Dorset. The system will save the RNLI hundreds of hours per year which would previously have been spent filling out and re-keying manual requisitions. The RNLI has been a Printcost customer since 1999.