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Many printing projects, especially short runs (less than 10,000 pieces), are often trimmed from ream-wrapped "cut sheet" standard paper sizes:
Letter Size: 8½" x 11"
Legal Size: 8½" x 14"
Ledger Size: 11" x 17"
To save paper and money, printed form sizes are often chosen that trim one of these paper sizes into equal portions by cutting them in half, thirds, fourths, etc. Nearly all papers come pre-packaged in letter size sheets, and many are also available in legal and ledger sizes as well.
No Paper Waste
8½″ x 11″
8½″ x 14″
11″ x 17″
|2 per sheet||8½″ x 5½″||8½″ x 7″||11″ x 8½″|
|3 per sheet||8½″ x 3⅔″||8½″ x 4⅔″||11″ x 5⅔″|
|4 per sheet||4¼″ x 5½″||4¼″ x 7″||5½″ x 8½″|
|6 per sheet||4¼″ x 3⅔″||4¼″ x 4⅔″||5½″ x 5⅔″|
As long as your form doesn't bleed and the printer has sufficient room for gripper, there is less trimming required and absolutely no paper waste. Most papers are also available in larger "parent sheets" (such as 23" x 35") which allow nearly any size of printed form to be cut out efficiently without much paper waste or significantly more money.
Although paper waste is minimized by using large "parent sheets" for short-run non-standard form sizes, there are drawbacks. The cost per square inch of large sheets is higher than that of pre-packaged cut sheets. Also, cutting charges are proportionally higher when using parent sheets as more cuts are required.
These two factors combined often cause the pricing for short-run printing projects to be more economical to use the smaller pre-packaged paper size even if you are wasting a little more paper.
At some point, when your print run is large enough (maybe 25,0000 or more), and assuming your printer has a printing press large enough to print on parent sheets, the larger sheets will become economical. It is a balance between press time, paper cost and cutting charges.