What Is The Standard Poster Size?

What Is The Standard Poster Size?

One thing that is worth repeating is that there is no standard poster size that is internationally known.

What Is The Standard Poster Size?

Nothing is better than a poster for a beautiful, cost-effective marketing tool. When you start designing posters for an event or promotion, you might be wondering what the standard poster size might be. Surprisingly, there is no true standard size for posters. Paper producers do indeed maintain the international standards of paper sizes, but the size of posters has never been regulated. Because standardization lacks, many people who want to print their posters often get confused and wind up with incorrect dimensions for their design.

Today we’re going to introduce the best options for poster sizes that are also common for printing and marketing. These recommended sizes are going to make your life much easier whenever you request a printing job and will take the guesswork out of formatting. After that, all you need to do is choose the material you want your poster printed on and the weight.

Four Common Poster Sizes

As we had mentioned earlier, most printing companies use the same paper sizes—and you can use these standard paper sizes for your posters. However, each of the four sizes we’re about to introduce have advantages and disadvantages based on their size. Let’s have a look.

8.5”x11” Letter-Sized Posters

You might found that some printers and designers will completely overlook the standard US letter size (A4), especially since this size is primarily used in North America. Everywhere else will use A3 paper, which is still considered a bit small for a poster. Letter-sized posters are often used in school settings or for flyers, since they can be tacked up to a bulletin board or stapled to a street post. This size is also good for handouts, so if you plan on standing around and passing out the announcement, 8.5×11 inches can be cost-effective.

One of the downsides of 8.5×11 inch paper is that any intricate design details, such as serif curves of fonts or smaller objects might be too small to see right away. If you plan on using this size, keep the information succinct and legible.

11”x17” Small Posters

You might hear this size referred to as A3, Ledger, Tabloid, Small, or ANSI B. A person must be within 5 feet to see everything clearly with this size, so if you have a lot of information to announce, you will need a size up. That said, 11×17 inch posters are perfect for indoor signage and advertisements, since they are big enough to garner attention without being too minuscule. You can place these posters anywhere people are bound to congregate, such as lobbies, waiting rooms, lounges, and bulletin boards. Simply place them at eye level so that they can be read easily.

The best practices for this size are bold typography, minimalist illustrations, creative usage of negative space, and a simple color scheme. It works well with smaller versions of movie posters since the aspect ration is similar and news tabloids. ANSI B size paper also is a great choice for mailing your design, since ANSI B envelopes exist.

18”x24” Medium Posters

18×24 inches is a favorite for posters that will be on display indoors and outdoors and will be seen by people from both near and far. The maximum viewing distance is 15 feet. Because 18×24 inch posters can fit into regular poster framing, you have plenty of display options. Many people will use this size for decoration, such as placing a poster behind desks, lining halls, or in their bedrooms. You can also use these for construction walkways, campuses, bulletin boards, promotional signage, and menus with a small selection.

The aspect ratio of the medium poster size is 3:4, but you can use it for independent movie posters or for anything requiring US Arch C dimensions, the standard for architectural paper.

24”x36” Large Posters

The second largest size you can find is 24×36 inches, also known as Architectural D size. Most posters are printed on 24×36 inch paper, and since the aspect ratio is 2:3, movie posters use this size as well. Since the maximum viewing distance is 30 feet, you can use a large poster for crowded spaces or locations with plenty of pedestrian traffic, like festivals, malls, shopping centers, theaters, community facilities, trade shows, fairs, carnivals, and more.

Large posters are ideal for a broad range of designs, including ones that have photographs, detailed illustrations, bold text, lots of negative space, and a lot of information to display.

Other Poster Sizes

While many theaters and small businesses will rarely go beyond the large poster size, there are some additional sizes that are gaining in popularity.

27”x39” Movie Posters

You may have noted that movie posters will be a range of sizes depending on where they are placed. A bus stop, for instance, will utilize the popular 27×39 inch poster. Movie theaters also will use this size and have dubbed it “One Sheet.” If you plan on promoting festivals, musicals, concerts, dance performances, or an art show, this is the size for you. Keep in mind that if you plan on hanging your poster outside, you will want a more durable paper to ensure it gets maximum exposure to the masses.

Custom Sizes

Designing your own poster means that you are indeed free to say that you don’t want to use a standard paper size. Using standardized sizes does have advantages, but you are not limited to what is tried and tested. With a professional designer or sign manufacturer, you can play around will customized dimensions that fit your design perfectly. Posters can be cut anyway you’d like—just make sure that the printing company has the equipment to handle your request!


One thing that is worth repeating is that there is no standard poster size that is internationally known. There are standardized paper sizes that work for posters of multiple purposes, but “poster size” is not regulated. Therefore, you have many options that could work for your design, such as the large 24”x 36”, medium 18”x 24”, small 11”x 17”, and the U.S. letter size 8.5”x 11”. Depending on your needs, one of these sizes will work well—but you are by no means limited to these common sizes.

Have questions? Want to request a printing job or a new sign design? Then fill out that contact form and get more information from us in your inbox! Let’s make your signage vision a reality.