Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Paper and Envelope Sizes in Brazil

Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Even though Brazil adopts the international standardization of paper sizes, a few countries are still appropriating other standards. This article informs paper, envelope and business cards sizes in Brazil, and also it's common uses.

Historical Paper Sizes

Before the introduction of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 216, many paper sizes were used around the world. The British Imperial paper size were common in countries which had been part of the British Empire, Japan had traditional paper sizes and a variety of sizes were used across European countries. Many paper sizes existed, but there was no international standardization to classify then.

ISO Paper Sizes Standard Overview

The International Organization for Standardization is a standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. The organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial, and commercial standards.

DIN 476

In 1922 the German standard DIN 476 was published and this is the original specification of the A and B sizes of paper. It provides an extension to formats larger than A0, denoted by a prefix factor. In particular, it lists the two formats 2A0, which is twice the area of A0, and 4A0, which is four times A0. The DIN 476 was adopted by Brazil in 1943 and in 1975 there was such a big number of countries were using the German system that it was established as an ISO standard named ISO 216. It defines paper sizes in three series: A, B and C, which includes A4 format.

ISO 216 Standardization in Brazil

By 1977 the A4 was the standard letter format in 88 of 148 countries. The A series paper sizes are now in common use throughout the world apart from in the US, Canada and parts of Mexico, where they use the US Letter size.

The A4 size has become the standard business letter size in English speaking countries that used the British Imperial sizes. In Europe the A paper sizes were adopted as the formal standard in the mid 20th century and from there they spread across the globe.

A Series Paper Sizes

The ISO paper size A standard is based on each size being half of the size of the previous one, when folded parallel to the shorter lengths. Types of A series paper size can vary to A0 to A10. The most common uses of these series in Brazil is :

  • A0 and A1 to posters or technical design
  • A1 and A2 to flip charts
  • A2 and A3 to letters and schemes
  • A4 to letters, catalogues, printers and photocopiers
  • A6 to postals

A4, A3 and A2 sizes can be found in regular paper stores, such as Papel Ofício (Legal) and Papel Carta (Letter Size), the one used in the United States, Canada and in parts of Mexico. The others A Series sizes aren't that usual, and they might be found in specialized print shops.

Envelopes: C Series Paper Sizes

This series is defined by ISO 269 and used for envelopes only. The most common types of envelope found in Brazil are “Carteira” and “Saco”. The carteira envelope can be found in regular stores in the following sizes:

  • C6: comercial 114mm x 162mm
  • C5: ofício 114mm x 229mm

These two sizes, such as C4, are usually used to A4 letters.

Saco envelope:

  • C4: kraft paper 229mm x 324mm
  • Off Set paper 260mm x 360mm

The C4 and off set envelopes are used normally to send documents and contracts.

Business Cards: ISO 7810

In Brazil this type of card is known as cartão de visita. The cards can be made of different materials and have different dimensions, but are usually done on coated paper in ISO 7810 format 90mm x 50mm.

In Brazil a few companies are inovating in their own business cards sizes and colors; the formats are getting more creative and even smaller. This new tendency still not generalized, but a lot of print shops are offering customized business cards. The most sought after cards sizes varies between the traditional one and the mini business cards (70mm x 30mm).