0
tgp logo
PRINT DESIGN EDUCATION

The Ultimate Guide to Standard Poster Sizes & Dimensions

A Guide to Common Poster Sizes

In a time where much of what we see is presented in digital formats, posters continue to be an effective and high-impact way to widely share information. Whether for decorative purposes or advertising and marketing campaigns, knowing how to scale your poster for peak impact adds a professional element to any project, but it can be hard to conceptualize the correct poster size for your project without seeing a few compared side by side.

As a full-service commercial print shop offering poster printing, we’ve seen it all, so we created this guide to help print designers and buyers easily reference the most common poster sizes and see how they compare to one another at a glance. We believe that having a basic understanding of our poster sizes can help you zero in on the right poster size sooner, avoiding the costly process of printing posters at several different sizes to decide.

What you’ll find in this blog post

Below, we’ll display the most common or standard poster sizes that are available for print, provide you with an idea of how large the standard poster sizes are in relation to one another, and help you understand how sizing can affect your print budget.

To make the guide more helpful for both US-based designers and for designers using international paper sizes, we’ve included information about the closest international size equivalents for our standard poster sizes. Our aim is to provide better context for designers and teams producing assets for final printed designs.

A model standing next to a wall displaying all common poster sizes side by side for scale. From smallest to largest, the displayed posters include: Letter Size Poster at 8.5 x 11 inches or A4, Bulletin Poster at 11 x 17 inches or A3, Photo Poster at 16 x 20 inches or A2, Medium Poster at 18 x 24 inches or B2, Large Poster at 24 x 36 inches or A1, Movie Poster at 27 x 40 inches or B1, and Bus Stop Poster at 40 x 60 inches or B0. This provides a visual comparison of all poster sizes in their respective dimensions.

At a Glance: Comparing Standard Poster Sizes

To help display the relative sizing between the most common poster sizes, we’ve taken photos of each of the common sizes next to one another. Below, we’ve also taken photos of a model holding a poster of each standard size. We’ve taken each of these photos from the same distance away to help show the scale of each standard print size. 

You can use the table of contents to jump directly to any of the individual poster sizes in the article, which will include: 

  • an image of a model next to a print of the poster size for scale
  • the poster’s dimensions in millimeters, pixels and the closest equivalent international paper size. 

 

We hope you find the resource helpful! 

Jump to a section in this post

Download a free starter file for each poster size.

Getting started on a poster design or other printed project? Download one of our free starter files to eliminate some of the technical guess-work of setting up your file. Our starter files are available for many different document types in InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Canva. They're also pre-sized and include proper bleed and color space settings to help you avoid common design pitfalls.

Table of Common Poster Sizes and Their International & Pixel Size Equivalents

Common Name

Size in Inches

Size in Pixels (300ppi)

Size in Millimeters

Closest International Size

Closest International Size in Millimeters

Letter Size Posters

8.5 x 11

2550 x 3300

215.9 x 279.4

A4

210 x 297

Bulletin Posters

11 x 17

3300 x 5100

279.4 x 431.8

A3

297 x 420

Photo Posters

16 x 20

4800 x 6000

406.4 x 508

A2

420 x 594

concert Posters

18 x 24

5400 x 7200

457.2 x 609.6

B2

500 x 707

Large Posters

24 x 36

7200 x 10800

609.6 x 914.4

A1

594 x 841

Movie Posters

27 x 40

8100 x 12000

685.8 x 1016

B1

707 x 1000

Bus Stop Posters

40 x 60

12000 x 18000

1016 x 1524

B0

1000 x 1414

The Most Common Poster Sizes, Visualized:

Model standing next to an 8.5 x 11 inches or A4 size poster, also known as Letter Size Poster, for scale. The poster is approximately the size of a standard piece of printer paper.

Letter Poster Size: 8.5 x 11 inches or A4

Size in mm: 215.9mm x 279.4mm
Size in pixels: 2550px x 3300px at 300ppi
Closest International Size: A4 (210 x 297 mm / 8.3 x 11.7 in)

Letter-sized posters, 8.5”x11”, are the smallest standard poster size and a great option for announcements and advertisements. Posters of this size can often be found on bulletin boards and street posts advertising events, schedules, and conveying basic information. Design-wise, these posters tend to work best when they have a balance of design and text elements to ensure legibility.

Image shows a model standing by an 11 x 17 inches or A3 size poster, also referred to as Bulletin Poster. The poster's size is comparable to a large drawing pad.

Bulletin Poster Size: 11 x 17 inches or A3

Size in mm: 279.4mm x 431.8mm
Size in pixels: 3300px x 5100px at 300ppi
Closest International Size: A3 (297 mm x 420 mm / 11.7 in x 16.5 in)

The bulletin poster size, 11”x17”, is commonly selected when a letter-sized poster isn’t enough. Due to its larger size, a bulletin poster can be more eye-catching and professional with room to include key dates and calls to action. Bulletin posters are most frequently used indoors to advertise community events and concerts, most often on a bulletin board 

A model is displaying a 16 x 20 inches or A2 size poster known as the Photo Poster. The poster size is roughly the size of a medium artwork or large photo frame.

Photo Poster Size: 16 x 20 inches or A2

Size in mm: 406.4mm x 508mm
Size in pixels: 4800px x 6000px at 300ppi
Closest International Size: A2 (420 x 594 mm / 16.5 x 23.4 in)

Perfect for art prints and large-scale photography, a 16”x20” poster size provides ample space to include high-quality images. This size is often used for retail or in-store advertising and to display fine art or photos.

In this image, a model is displaying an 18 x 24 inches or B2 size poster, referred to as Medium Poster. This poster size is akin to a small poster commonly seen in home decor.

Concert Poster Size: 18 x 24 inches or B2

Size in mm: 457.2mm x 609.6mm
Size in pixels: 5400px x 7200px at 300ppi
Closest International Size: B2 (500 × 707 mm / 19.7 × 27.8 in)

An 18”x24” or medium poster size is best for displaying information such as public health notices, where written information and accompanying graphics coexist. This poster size is also a go-to for concerts, school clubs, and athletic teams, as it provides space for larger images and text without overcrowding.

Model standing beside a 24 x 36 inches or A1 size poster, also known as Large Poster. The size of the poster is similar to a large painting.

Standard Poster Size: 24 x 36 inches or A1

Size in mm: 609.6mm x 914.4mm
Size in pixels: 5400px x 10800px at 300ppi
Closest International Size: A1 (594 x 841 mm / 23.4 x 33.1 in)

The 24”x36” poster size is a standard for large posters. Posters of this size are commonly used for advertising purposes, as well as for trade shows and exhibits, as they are large enough to command attention in high-traffic areas where people might be passing by and taking in information quickly.

Image shows a model displaying a 27 x 40 inches or B1 size poster, referred to as Movie Poster. This poster size is typical of standard movie posters seen at theaters.

Movie Poster Size: 27 x 40 inches or B1

Size in mm: 685.8mm x 1016mm
Size in pixels: 8100px x 12000px at 300ppi
Closest International Size: B1 (707 × 1000 mm / 27.8 × 39.4 in)

We are all familiar with classic movie posters, which, technically speaking, are 27”x40” poster size. These posters, while traditionally used to advertise movies by showcasing minimal graphics and large text, are also a great option for outdoor advertising. For our large posters, we recommend sizing text to a large enough scale that it can be easily read by passersby.

Model standing beside a large 40 x 60 inches or B0 size poster, known as Bus Stop Poster. The size of this poster is roughly the size of a small person, comparable to advertisements seen at bus stops or billboards.

Bus Stop Poster Size: 40 x 60 inches or B0

Size in mm: 1016mm x 1524mm
Size in pixels: 12000px x 18000px at 300ppi
Closest International Size: B0 (1000 × 1414 mm / 39.4 × 55.7in)

The standard size for posters displayed at bus stop shelters and in subways is 40”x60”. Design decisions make a large impact on posters of this size, as they are meant to command attention both from afar and up close. If the standard bus stop or subway poster size isn’t sufficient, a billboard poster, 46”x67”, offers slightly more real estate to convey your messaging whether for an advertising campaign or otherwise.

Consider Your Use Case to Determine the Best Poster Size for Your Project

When determining which poster sizes work best for your project, it’s helpful to consider the amount of information that needs to be conveyed in text, as well as any accompanying artwork and images. A well-designed poster will balance text and visual elements while remaining easily legible. Audience and messaging can also impact decisions regarding poster size. Bulletin sized posters, for instance, will most likely be viewed up close with and with a greater level of attention than a bus stop poster, which will be viewed both up close and from a distance or passing glance. Details like this can impact the type of design and how much messaging you choose to display.

Custom Poster Sizes and Post-Production Options

Aside from the standard or most commonly printed poster sizes, a good large format printer should be able to produce posters in most any size you can dream up. Custom poster sizing offers some flexibility between standard sizes and can be scaled to dimensions as large as 52 inches wide and any length of your choice.

If you plan to print a large poster or if it will be used outdoors or in heavily frequented public spaces it may be worth considering having your printer mount the poster to foam board after the poster is printed. Mounting and lamination are key components to consider when determining where and how to display your poster. For instance, an outdoor poster display might require more reinforcement than a poster intended for indoor use, as it will be exposed to the elements, accelerating any basic wear and tear.

Follow Print Design Best Practices When Producing Your Poster

Aside from poster size, there are other design elements to consider when printing your poster. Following best practices for print design will help ensure your poster printing job rolls off the press perfectly the first time.

  • Design your poster in CMYK: Thomas Group offers black-and-white and full color printing services, as well as a wide array of paper types and weights. However, your colors won’t print correctly if you’re not using the correct color space for your document. Make sure to design and export your file using CMYK colors, which are optimized for print, rather than RGB colors, which are optimized for on-screen viewing.
  • Use bleed properly: To ensure the best quality of your poster, we recommend adding a bleed, or an extra .125” of background image, to ensure that your poster’s design fully extends across the poster, rather than leaving a seam of white background after the printing and trimming process.
  • Use 300 dpi images: It’s important to use the right image resolution for all print work but it’s especially important for posters, as their large sizer will more easily show blurry photos. If you’re using photos on your posters, make sure they are 300dpi.
  • Outline fonts: Before sending your poster printing job to your printer, make sure all fonts are outlined. Your printer may not have the same fonts installed as you especially if you’re using custom fonts in your designs. Outlining your fonts helps to ensure your font will print correctly by vectorizing the text, turning it into non-editable curves and points on the design rather than editable text, which will appear in a default font if the printer doesn’t have it installed.
  • Eliminate some guess work and download a free starter file: Use the form below to get a free starter file for your poster design project. The file is a blank canvas for your creativity with the technical details taken care of that designers often overlook. 

Download a free starter file for each poster size.

Getting started on a poster design or other printed project? Download one of our free starter files to eliminate some of the technical guess-work of setting up your file. Our starter files are available for many different document types in InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Canva. They're also pre-sized and include proper bleed and color space settings to help you avoid common design pitfalls.

Work With An Experienced Commercial Printer on Your Poster Printing Project

When you’re working on a printed piece for your company, the quality of the work should reflect the quality of your brand. Thomas Group Printing has a deep understanding of the demands of commercial printing and exists to ensure your entire printing experience is fast, seamless and error-free. We’re trusted by some of the world’s largest brands and by independent print designers alike.

Thomas Group Printing is located in New York City and offers fast and convenient shipping nationwide. If you’re seeking an experienced and high quality printer for your next poster printing job, consider reaching out to us for a custom quote. Our seasoned print production team is here to help.

Follow Thomas Group Printing for More Print Design Education & Inspiration

We believe in taking the time to serve as a resource to our clients and help them navigate the often confusing process of print production for high volume, high-visibility print jobs, or to just help them brush up on their print design skills. If you’ve found this resource helpful, here are a few other ways to keep learning and stay inspired:

  • Thomas Group Print Education Blog: Access free print design and production resources to help you level-up your print design skills. View the blog here or subscribe for email updates to get our best educational resources delivered monthly.
  • Thomas Group Print Inspiration Blog: Check out the coolest designs rolling off of our press. As an NYC-based printer, we’re privileged to produce print work for some of the most creative minds in the industry. We photograph and share unique print work we’ve helped to produce and spill the details on the specs of the jobs to help you take inspiration from other clients. View the blog here or subscribe for email updates to get our best educational resources delivered monthly.

Free Custom Designed Poster Templates

Available in both Canva and InDesign so you can use your favorite software to create your custom poster.

Our poster templates are fully editable, free, and ready to print! 

Icons of Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Canva

Get started on something amazing.

Thomas Group Printing is a family-owned print shop that ships nationwide. In addition to a variety of standard-sized printed resources, our experienced team can help you quote and print any custom job you can imagine. Get started on a print job with us today and experience the difference in print quality and service.