Print Sizes

Hi all. I am creating a design standard for a new small business that will include quick tip booklets, signage that deals with quick reference charts and infographics on how to start up certain machines. I was wondering if there are any resources that give typical dimensions for such media? Dimensions that printers will expect and can handle, and which are a good size for the intended purpose of the material? Thanks all. :grin:

I think the first thing is to explain more what these items would do? And what country are you in?

Sure. This company is a large work shop environment. It is a maker space and has many different areas specific to different disciplines, such as a wood shop, a metal shop, welding, auto shop, plastics, electronics, and so on.
Some of the signs need to be large and able to be seen from a distance. These signs will inform members of common shop rules and safety. Other signs will be area specific and will not need to be as big, but still noticeable. These ones will deal with safety and rules for that particular area. Yet, other signs will be specific to a machine it is near or on. These ones will remind members of specific safety precautions that are specific to this particular machine. I will also be making “Quick Reference” books for each machine that will include instructions on what to do before you start the machine and begin using it and how to start the machine and begin using it. I want these “Quick Reference” books to have heavy stock paper and be laminated to protect them and help them last. I don’t want these to be too big but big enough to allow for tabs and infographics. They need to be easy to read at a glance while being small enough to be easily manipulated with one hand. I was thinking flip pages held together by wrings. But I’m still not sure what size to make the pages.
Anyways, hope that is helpful. Thanks for responding.

I think the sign’s function, the distance from which they will be read, the information on them, the available space where they will be positioned, the required durability and, perhaps, your budget is what should determine materials and sizes.

If you’ll be having these printed at a corner copy shop, you also need to take into consideration the sizes that the copy shop works with, which can differ from shop to shop. If you’re planning to go with a traditional print shop and print hundreds of the same thing, a traditional print shop might be in order. If these are a bunch of one-off signs that need to be larger, a large-format sign shop might be needed.

This really all boils down to determining, first, what the signs, booklets, flip charts, whatever, need to accomplish and within what limitations. It’s only then that you should decide on sizes and find a printer (or printers) who can print what you need. I don’t think you’re going to find a set of already-existing standards for this sort of thing.

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I work in what you would call a very large “maker space.” Part of which is a sign shop.

Safety signs need to be large and limited in wording. They also need to be prominent. Long lists of “don’t do this” won’t get read.

A clutter of too much signage means none of them will have any meaning and just become background noise. The most ubiquitous sign in our shop is “DO NOT USE THIS EQUIPMENT IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED.” But the first things you’d notice are the day-glo yellow first aid stations or maybe the day-glo orange fire extinguisher covers. Not much else in the way of sign clutter. All the machines come with their own safety stickers. It’s just a matter of keeping them clean and visible.

For a one handed quick reference guide at each machine consider a post mounted flip deck of heavily laminated cards. Either make sure the edges are encapsulated completely with a hefty clear border or make sure you print on something other than paper. Laminated paper splits really quickly if not entirely heat encapsulated. Look at a product like Rippedsheets sells rather than something you’d get at Kinkcopy… Do NOT use foamcore like some of these suggest. Something that will take abuse is needed.This is only a visual reference:

I’m not a fan of telling someone how to start a machine. More important is how to shut it off and how to apply a lockout or tagout device should it be needed. If they don’t know that, they shouldn’t be using it. A quick reference guide should be more for a safety overview first, then a categorized listing of any known settings or tool mounts that will make the machine do what it is meant to do in the most efficient AND SAFE way. It should not be a “quick training” reference.

Any sign shop can do what you need. Where these sound like one-offs, that would be your cheapest solution. If printing direct to boards, your max size is pretty much going to be 48" x 96" and come in a variety of rigid stock. If the signs are free-hanging you would go with a thicker, self-supporting substrate or consider a framing structure. I’m fond of Komatex (PVC sheeting) because it has a smooth matte surface, and if you need to, you can take it out out back and hose the dust off it. Gatorplast is another option that is somewhat wipeable. Gatorfoam and foamcore have paper faces and should be avoided. Choroplast is probably cheapest - and looks it - but is serviceable and can also be washed. It’s just flimsy and prone to folding along the corrugations.

Whatever you use, try to keep economy of sheet in mind. You can get get 4 signs out of one sheet if you make them 23" x 47", but only one sign if you make it 24"x48" (plus a bunch of smaller ones if you have them in your order.) Boards are never square and today’s signshops use CNC tables that require you allow for cutting tool diameter and camera registration dots.

There are letter size charts out there that’ll give you some idea of letter sizing for viewing distance. My suggestion is maybe start with one of those then print something out and tape it to the wall, step back and have a look.

Ask more questions.

Another thing too, is you may want to ask the owner to contact their insurance company to see, or if they will recommend, what signage should be in place. There are also fire codes and wayfinding as well, but that should all be in place before the building is occupied. You may want to consider marking clear walkways so people don’t clutter up the right of way through the building with their projects.

But I stray from the signage you asked about…

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Wow! Thank you so much PrintDriver. That was super helpful, and it helps that it’s coming from someone working in the same industry. Where is your maker space? Our’s is in Costa Mesa in Southern California. It’s called Urban Workshop.

I will take all your suggestions to heart. They are good. Especially your recommendations on materials and Quick Reference flip books.

It’s actually a company, not a public maker space. We have different divisions, all in the same building, and probably every piece of machine tool under the sun. Many of our machines auto-tool (the machine automatically selects the tool based on the cutting program specification) but some are more old-school so we do sometimes have a quick tool reference and cutting speed for material to be cut as a piece of paper under a sheet of acrylic screwed to the wall (it can change often.) A lot of machines will also have a more permanent decimal equivalent chart nearby as well (converts fractions of inches to decimals and mm.)

The idea is to keep all the signage pertinent, bold, and to a minimum so it doesn’t lose its effectiveness.

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