Three Easy Steps to Getting the Right Paper Size

When ordering a print, there is often confusion on how to calculate the proper paper size. There are 3 key factors to consider when determining the final paper size; the size of your image (i.e., the printed area), the size of your border and your final canvas size. 

Image Size + Borders = Final Canvas Size

Paper Size (found via KAS Pricing Sheet) Final Canvas Size

These factors, described in more detail below, will help you determine the dimensions of the final paper size required for your project and hopefully avoid any snafus in the printing process.

 1. Determine the Image Size

If your file is not already in the desired image size, open your file in Photoshop. You will need to enter the dimensions of the image in inches. 

You can do so by going to Image > Image Size.

For the example below, we need the image size to be 20.575” X 10”. 

2. Determine the Borders

Borders can be the buffer between various aspect images and a common paper size, or the borders can be a set size which will result in custom finish sizes. There are 2 ways to create borders for the image depending on the desired layout. 

You can either create a custom border size, or create a relative border based on your image size. Make sure that your width and height measurements are in inches. 

Relative Border

In this case, the example below shows a border of 2” X 2” all around the image. The equal border can be achieved by checking the relative option box.

 Custom Border 

Selecting the canvas size ultimately determines the borders around the image. For this example, we choose a 24”X20” canvas size to create a custom border around our image. 

3. Select the Paper Size

Once you have created the canvas size with the borders, refer to the KAS price sheet. 

When you look at the price sheet, the sizes listed refer to the actual Paper Size, or in the cases of mounting or face mounting, the size of the raw material. When the borders and image size are figured in, this adds on to the dimensions of the printed image. These final dimensions (the final canvas size as described above) must be equal to or less than the selected paper size.

In our example we will proceed with the Canvas Size 24” x 20” and select the Paper size that best accommodates the dimensions. We will trim the excess paper and a trim fee may be added if necessary. 

A few things to consider;

There are many ways to provide the size specifications you desire.

1. Chose a Paper size:

If you know the final paper size, we can work from the paper size and adjust the image size to fit with the minimum border which is 1/4” on small prints and 1” on larger prints. Keep in mind that if the image is not the same aspect ratio, the white borders will be larger on the sides or the top and bottom. For more handling room specify a larger white border. 

2. Finished mount size: 

You can also provide us the finished mount size and we can calculate how much paper we need for handling, trim, and the borders you requested. Pricing is determined by the size of the materials required to make the finished piece.

3.Common height, or width: 

Often, when a set of images will be displayed together, it is desirable to print them the same size in one or both dimensions. If the images are of different aspect ratios, be sure to provide cropping instructions.

When in doubt, provide a drawing. And if you have any questions, please call us. Clarity and communication are essential to making the perfect print.