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Article: Standard Poster Sizes: The Complete Guide

Standard Poster Sizes: The Complete Guide

There are various standard sizes of posters that you can consider for your design.
Let's find out which dimension that works better for your projects!
Created by Samuel Restorick |

When you walk into a theater, you will see some large pictures attached on the wall showing what movies you are going to watch tonight or which ones will be coming up soon. Some detailed information about the movies is also available in the pictures.

At another time, when you have a window shopping, often you see many pictures along with some texts are displayed on certain corners, and the hallway or even in front of stores or counters. Most of them offer you the products, and many times they also tell you that there’s a special price that you can get when you purchase some items. 

Or, some people will give a piece of paper which contain information about an upcoming event such as music concert, sports event, or even traditional events to be held. In the paper, you will find out who will perform, what kind of performance, when and where that event is held, and some detailed information. Have you ever noticed all of them? 

Well, those are what we call a poster. What is a poster, and what is it for? And how to make a good one? Well, you should not skip this article. Keep reading and see what you get at the end. 


What is A Poster, and What is It for?

Well, in general, we can say a poster is a publication media that is delivered in written form, which contains a combination of pictures and texts in order to transform certain information for the public. Since it is addressed to the public, you will be able to see posters are deliberately displayed in public spaces so that everyone can see them. Some other firms may even spread from person to person. These kinds are commonly called flyers.  

Posters are commonly used as advertisement media as well, but often it contains specific information or announcement for the public.

However, specifically, the main purpose of the works depends on the creator itself. They can have either commercial purpose, public information, or humanity purpose as well.

Created by Tim Arnold |


How to Make a Good Poster?

Today, as technology has become part of people’s lives, posters are not only available in printed form, but you can also find many online ones now. Then a question may arise: How to make a good one and how effective it is since the main purpose is to inform the public about something. Well, you should know the characteristics of a good poster, then. 

Well, here are the main characteristics:

  • Eye-catching, either from the picture or the words propose

  • Use short, clear, and effective words

  • Persuade and Invite, but not provocative

  • Use precise combination, whether the color, pictures, words, or even numbers

  • Use only good quality materials and design to make it as effective as possible

When you think that all the characters on the posters are there, you cannot say that yours is a good one already. You should reconsider the purpose you want to achieve by making the poster. Remember that there are some purposes in making a poster; make sure that you have decided what your purpose is, then when yours has achieved its purpose effectively, it can be said that yours is a good one. 

Before that, you need to learn further about the purposes of making posters. Here are some common purposes of making a poster:

  • To acknowledge people that there will be a certain activity or agenda to be done

  • To acknowledge that there is a new product or service that they can get

  • To remind people of what they should do due to certain situation

  • To remind people that there are some dangerous things to avoid for their own safety.

Those are the common purposes, and as the creator, you may have your own specific purpose that you want to share with people by placing your posters in public spaces. By considering your purpose, then you are going to be able to make an efficient poster. This purpose will also lead you to the making process of a good design. So, recognizing the purpose is an important part of the process itself. 

The next thing to be considered is the dimension of the poster. Well, there are many dimensions that you can apply, and it depends on some considerations, like where you want to post or display it, who your audiences are, and how you would like to display it. Then, another question is coming up: Is there any standard poster size? Should it be big enough to be seen from afar, let’s say ten yards perhaps? or we can only make it in a small dimension so that we can give it to people easily? Well, to answer this question is not an easy matter. This is going to be another subject to discuss. Even many experts have been involved in this kind of discussion. 

Created by Paprika Design |


Poster and Standard Poster Size

Basically, there’s no fundamental measurement for a certain poster; how big or large it is for a certain public space. And this unregulated leads to many creators to even “enlarge” their vision and imagination during the making of the poster itself. One way to help you determine the poster size is by looking at the standardized paper sizes usually used in this kind of industry. This option will help you better in picking the right material you like most. And also, it will help you to cut out the imaginary work of the size of the poster you are going to make. 

However, there is still some common dimension of the work that you can adhere to. These sizes, again, are not the principal ones. You must remember that there is no standard poster size that is acknowledged worldwide but rather based on the paper size commonly used. The word poster size doesn’t determine the standard meaning at all. Therefore, when you make a poster, to check the dimension, always consult with the paper producers which one is available and fits your design. And ensure that you know the spot where posters will be displayed in public so that you can effectively make the design. 

As it is stated earlier, poster sizes can be in any number; there’s no single standard poster size universally, and therefore you may see posters in various measurements.

Created by Pedro Correa |


Now, let’s take a look at them closer.

1. Small Poster

The smallest poster size is in the dimension of 8,5 x 11 inches. This is commonly called A4 sized poster. This form is good to deliver messages like the announcement, institution policies, schedules of certain activities or agenda, and so on. These posters will be effective to be tacked on the wall inside the building of the company or institution as the notice or announcement for the users of the building. Place it on the eye level of the people so that they will notice these posters better. 

If you use this dimension, it will be effective to put bold typography, limited color, and simple illustration so that the main information will be delivered effectively.

2. Bulletin Poster

This one comes in the size of 11 x 17 inches. This dimension is perfect for flyers, or you can stick it on the door as the notice or an advertisement for coming up events. Minimalist designs with big and bold letters are recommended for these poster sizes to make them more eye-catching. Use a simple message to deliver the information. 

3. Mini Poster

The size is 12 x 18 inches. This poster size is fit for movie posters, advertisements, and wall art. If you want to use it for window ads, this one is also the perfect size. A simple design should be applied so that your message would be seen easily. 

4. Photograph size

Another poster size that fits with the photograph is this. With 16 x 20 inches, you can decorate your room perfectly with a photograph that will attract the audience’s attention. 

5. Medium Poster

The standard poster size for this kind is in the dimension of 18 x 24 inches. With this size, you can display this poster either indoor or outdoor. This dimension is perfect for both close-up and from a distance view. This option is also perfect for framing or even to show maps. Therefore, you can use this for decorative purposes as well. You can hang it on the wall, especially behind the receptionist's desk, so that people easily notice it right away. Just remember to place the picture half inches higher to be seen clearly. Besides, it is also perfect for bulletin boards, promotion, or even on construction walkways.  

This standard poster size is also known as the Arch C dimension. And this size is the one requested most by people. A combination of large images and minimal texts will be great for this poster. Often, people use this for events like music performances or celebrities’ events. 

Created by Jack Forrest |


6. 19 x 27 Poster 

This is another medium dimension for regular poster sizes. This kind of poster size gives you more space for large images and minimal text. This work is commonly displayed sales promotions in storefront windows. But if you want to promote a concert, festival, or even sports event, you can use this artwork as well. In addition, when you want to introduce your menu to the customers, this standard poster size is commonly used for this purpose too. 

7. 20 x 30 inches Poster 

This product is popular among businessmen who use this poster size for sales promotion, office decoration, advertisement, coming up events, notices, and many others. These posters are often put outdoor in offices and stores. Sharp pictures and bold texts would be fit for this work to deliver the messages vividly.

8. 22 x 28 inches poster 

This large dimension is perfect for pictures with texts to show advertisements, menus, or even for decoration either for store or office. To give clear messages for the audiences, provide large fonts, and place them right in the center of the media as the main attention. Provide the audience with additional details of your information to give more description needed.

9. Retail Poster

This standard poster size is 22 x 34 inches. The use of this poster is quite common for pop culture, such as a concerts, celebrity events, sports games, book launching, etc. The paper used is usually thinner. With eight mil premium photo paper, you can print full-color information that you’ve designed on the poster you make and wait if it has a huge impact or not on your promotion. 

10. Large Poster

This dimension of the poster is quite popular among poster producers since many pictures are fit at this size. With the dimension of 24 x 36 inches, this poster will stand out in the crowds. For festivals, high foot traffic, trade shows, busy malls, these posters will fit both the place and the situation. When you design it precisely, people from ten yards would still catch the information you put in the poster.  

Put the main picture and information in large and vivid texts, then add the details that will make people come closer. 

Created by Paprika Design |


11. Movie Poster

The standard poster size for this kind is 27 x 40 inches. As for its name, you can surely guess that this product is mainly used to inform people about the upcoming movie announcement. 

Not only used as the announcement of the newest movie released, but this size is also possible to be used as the means of advertising which is displayed outdoor. This large poster is obviously can be seen from afar, let’s say ten yards or so. The space available is enough for you to put high-resolution pictures and colorful graphics along with supporting texts.

12. 40 x 60 Inches Bus Stop or Subway Poster 

Another standard poster size for the movie is 40 x 60 inches. And this size is also widely known as the bus stop size. It is because this large poster is commonly placed at outdoor spaces like a bus stop, subway terminal, or building exterior. With its size, this poster is surely hard to ignore. Just make sure that your message is bold enough to obtain public attention. 

13. 46 x 67 Inches Bus Stop or Subway Poster

With the size of a 46 x 67 inches poster, your message should be the most noticed one in the public space. When any other size doesn’t work on your promotion or campaign, you’d better try this one, then see if this standard poster size will do the magic for you. For its large size, you will get enough space to explore your creativity to include every information you want to share with every people in the world. 

14. Academic Poster

When you need to make a good poster for your academic research, then the poster with a dimension of 48 x 36 inches will be fit your needs. This poster size will give you a high-quality academic poster where you need to put all the information that you have learned before. Make sure you balance between the pictures and the texts on the poster you make. Since the size is really large, surely it won’t be a problem for you. 

Created by Gabriel Castilho |


How to Choose a Good Poster?

When you order a poster at a store or online, the possible size the merchants offer you is in the dimension of 27 x 40 inches. This one commonly uses Architectural D paper. This kind is the most popular and the most demanded one. Is it the perfect dimension of all?

Well, once again, there isn’t any fundamental or single standard of a poster. Every size, every type, and every material is really self-preference. They’re all dependent much on the main point or the main purpose of the maker. Therefore, before making a poster, check again what is the main purpose of making it. Then, you can decide what size is perfect and efficient for the purpose set at the beginning. 

While the dimensions mentioned earlier may provide good guidance for anyone designing a poster since the measurement is based on the paper sizes that are standard worldwide, it doesn’t mean that you must design a poster according to these regulations.

Many times, large-format printers use rolls of paper instead of the single sheet only. It means that your design can be set on any measurement you want. All you have to do, check your needs first, then check if your printer can make your demand. 

Created by Can Elmas |


Final Words

As it is stated in the beginning that there is no universal standard for the measurement of posters, it even drives you to explore your creativity and imagination even to the wildest. Just adjust your idea with the resources you have, then you’ll probably get the wildest result ever in printing. 

Meanwhile, choosing one of the poster shapes and dimensions from the above list may ensure you have the most options for printing, framing, displaying, or mailing your poster, no one is going to be pulling out a tape measure on the street to ensure that your poster is “standard.”

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