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Advantages of Standard Size Prints
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Advantages of Standard Size Prints

When choosing what size to print, you’ll want to think ahead. Nonstandard sizes can present various challenges with framing and storage, while standard sizes are typically considered to be much easier to work with. 

Understanding Standard Sizes

So what are standard sizes? Simply put, these are the sizes that materials are most commonly made in. These materials include paper, protective sleeves, mats, frames, and more. This makes it easier to work with standard sizes, as you’ll be able to easier find any materials you need to match the size of your print. If your print is a nonstandard size, you’ll likely need to have custom framing materials made, which will increase costs.

A framed print of a vintage photograph of a ferris wheel hanging on a wall above two small display tables

Examples of Standard Sizes

Standard sizes range from small to very large, so no matter what size print you’re hoping to display, there’s a standard size that will fit your space. 


4x6 and 5x7 are two examples of standard sizes on the smaller side. These sizes are very common for tabletop frames, as they don’t take up too much space. These can also be used as gap fillers within your decor, or for displaying in small spaces in your home or office.


These two sizes are a bit bigger, but still easy to display in almost any space. You’ll be able to easily find affordable framing options right off the shelf. 


Next up are 11x4 and 16x20. These sizes are starting to get larger, and can more easily stand on their own in a display without looking small within a space. Frames will start to get a little bit more expensive at this size, but you’ll still be able to find premade frames with ease.


On the larger end of the scale are 24x36 and 30x40. These sizes tend to be statement pieces in decor, as they command quite a bit of space, especially after being framed. These sizes are not commonly found in stores but can be ordered online. If you choose custom framing you’ll likely have more options available, at a somewhat lower cost, since standard sizes are easier to work with. 

A minimalist room with a framed print of Rex William Stewart hanging on the wall

Standard Image Size Versus Standard Paper Size

When making prints, you’ll need to decide if you want your image to be standard size, or the total paper size. Both options have their advantages. When possible, you can opt for both, such as printing an 8x10 image on 11x14 paper. 

Depending on the proportions of your image, the decision may be made for you. If the proportions of your image simply don’t come to any standard sizes, and it isn’t possible to crop the image, you’ll just have to print a nonstandard image size. In this case, we would recommend printing on a standard-size paper. This will still allow you to buy a premade frame, though you may not be able to find a mat that works with your image size. 

Purchasing Standard Size Materials

Print materials such as paper, sleeves, mats, and frames are made in standard sizes. Some of these materials you’ll want to purchase in the exact size of your print, but some can be more flexible. For example, when purchasing print sleeves, you can opt for a slightly larger size if you need to accommodate a nonstandard paper size. 

Framing Standard Size Prints

With standard-size prints, you’ll have no problem finding a frame that fits your print. Any craft store with a framing department will have a range of frames for you to choose from. Styles will be somewhat limited, but if you are looking for a basic frame you’ll certainly have no problem finding what you need. Premade frames with mats are cut so that standard-size images fit within the mat window perfectly. 

If you’d like to be more creative with your framing, you can still opt for custom framing for your standard-size print. Working with a framer will allow you to choose from a wider variety of both mats and frames to create a truly unique final product. 

A framed paper print hanging in a room decorated with blue accents

Choosing a frame with a mat versus without a mat

As mentioned above, the mats in premade frames are made with standard-size cutouts. This means that if you have a print that is 8x10 image size, that image will sit perfectly within the opening of the mat. Depending on the total size of your paper, you may need to trim it to fit inside the frame or use archival framing tape to attach the print to the back of the mat if the total paper size is smaller than the frame.

If you have a print that is a nonstandard image size printed on standard-size paper, you’ll likely want to choose a premade frame without a mat, as there won’t be a mat cutout that fits your image. Instead, you can choose a frame that matches the total size of your paper, so it will fit perfectly inside. 

Storage Materials for Standard Sizes

Storage materials for prints are made in standard sizes. These sizes will be whole numbers and will range from small to very large. When ordering, remember that you’ll want to order based on the total paper size of your prints. 

Archival Sleeves and Storage Boxes

If you want to do everything you can to perverse your prints, archival sleeves, and storage boxes are a great option. These will keep your prints safe from the elements, ensuring they last as long as possible without fading or discoloration. 

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