I was thinking about what I would write this week while looking at dessert recipes for our Thanksgiving holiday dinner. As I converted measurements in some recipes from metric or British Imperial to the U.S. system, I realized how important converting measurements is to international mailing.
If you are direct depositing mail from the U.S. in another country, the standard sizes and weights will be different. Many countries have penalties for non-standard or heavier items, so check before designing for a large mailing to prevent surprises. Here are a few quick measurements used in mailing in both metric and U.S. systems to help give an idea of the differences. They are rounded since most do not convert exactly.
Weight: 16 ounces (oz.) = 1 pound (lb.) 1 ounce = 28.35 grams (g. or gr.)
1 pound = 453.6 grams or 0.46 kilograms (kg.) 1,000 grams = 1 kilogram
10 grams = 0.32 ounces 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds
Length: 12 inches (in.) = 1 foot (ft.) 1 inch = 2.54 centimetres (cm.)
1 foot = 30.48 centimetres 1 centimetre = 0.394 inches
10 millimetres (ml.) = 1 centimetre
Standard stationery sizes vary, too. The options are too great to list here but these are the most common in business. ISO is the International Standards Organization and its sizes are used in most countries. JIS, Japan Industrial Standard, is used in Japan.
Paper sheets:U.S. Letter: 8 ½ x 11 in. or approximately 216 x 279 mm.
U.S. Statement or Halfletter: 5 ½ x 8 ½ in. or approximately 140 x 216 mm.
ISO A4: 210 x 297 mm. or approximately 8 ¼ x 11 11/16 in.
JIS B5: 182 x 257 mm. or approximately 7 3/16 x 10 ⅛ in.
ISO B5: 176 x 250 mm. or approximately 6 13/16 x 9 13/16 in.
U.S.A.: #10 - 4⅛ X 9½ inches (105 X 241 mm.) with the opening on the long side used with 8½ X 11 paper
Europe: DL – 110 X 220 mm. (4 5/16 X 8 11/16 in.) with the opening on the long side, not part of ISO C series but the most common envelope, used with ISO A4 paper (210 X 297 mm.)
Japan: Chou 3 - 120 X 235 mm. (4⅜ X 9¼ inches) with opening on the short side used with A4 or Kokusai-ban (8½ X 11 in.) paper
There is more on measurements in international mailing in Best Practices in International Mailings: A Business Mailer's Guide.