26 April 2024 By Nicolas

Unlocking the A1 Format: Delving into its Dimensions, Tracing its History, and Exploring its Use

Introduction to A1 format

The A1 format is part of the series of paper formats standardized according to the ISO 216 standard. It is mainly used in a professional context for printing posters or posters, due to its large size. In this article, we will discover the precise dimensions of the A1 format, its history, its different uses and its place in the ISO 216 standard.

History of the A1 format

The origin of paper sizes dates back to the 18th century with Professor Georg Christoph Lichtenberg who was the first to describe the ideal proportions between the length and width of a sheet of paper. These proportions were then formalized by Walter Portsmann in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Portsmann contributed to standardizing these formats in Germany and then internationally thanks to the gradual adoption by different countries and international organizations such as the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). The ISO 216 standard was established in 1975 to define standardized formats for sheets of paper in order to facilitate their use and production.

The influence of Professor Lichtenberg

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was a German scientist specializing in physics and mathematics. It was he who discovered that the ideal ratio between the length and width of a sheet of paper should be equal to the square root of 2 (or approximately 1.414). This ratio makes it possible to obtain a constant proportion when dividing or multiplying the dimensions of a format by two. This discovery laid the foundation for today’s paper formats.

Standardization by Walter Portsmann

Walter Portsmann, a German engineer, took up the work of Professor Lichtenberg to define and standardize the different paper formats in Germany. He is thus at the origin of the A0, A1, A2, etc. formats, which were gradually adopted throughout the world. The ISO 216 standard is based on this work to establish the precise dimensions of the different formats.

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Dimensions of A1 format

The A1 format has specific dimensions in millimeters and centimeters:

  • Width : 594 mm or 59.4 cm
  • Height : 841 mm or 84.1 cm

Its printing surface is also precisely defined:

  • Area: 50,000 cm² or 0.5 m² (approximately)

Using A1 format

Although A1 can be used for a variety of professional or artistic applications such as poster, poster or blueprint printing, it is less common for personal use due to its large size. Indeed, the A1 format is not suitable for most home printers and generally requires professional equipment.

Here are some examples of using the A1 format:

  • Advertising posters
  • Event posters
  • Architectural plans
  • Geographic maps
  • Large format artistic works (paintings, photographs)

The place of the A1 format in the ISO 216 standard

The A1 format occupies an important place in the series of standardized formats according to the ISO 216 standard. It is in fact the second largest format after A0 and thus represents a reference for other smaller formats (A2, A3, etc. .). The surface area of ​​A0 format paper is exactly double that of A1 format. Likewise, the surface area of ​​A2 size paper is exactly half that of A1 size paper.

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This organization allows harmonization and compatibility between the different formats used in various fields such as publishing, printing or even graphic arts.


To summarize, the A1 format is an international standard defined by the ISO 216 standard which finds its origins in the work of Professor Lichtenberg and Walter Portsmann. Its precise dimensions are 594 mm x 841 mm, giving a printing area of ​​50,000 cm² (0.5 m²). Mainly used in a professional context for printing posters or posters, the A1 format is less suitable for personal use due to its large size.