I need to design a magazine from scratch, and what is the ideal size for a magazine page? In fact, I know that this is a very common question that depends on the budget, needs, printing, etc. I made some research on the net, and came across mostly A4, but A4 is rather large, and I want my magazine to be little smaller and handy. And for financial reasons, I think that picking a custom size will cost more in printing, so I guess it's better to go with presets. So what is the ideal size that I should pick, would 8,5x11 be OK ?
Talk to the printer who will be running the job. The people there can look at your needs and print quantities, and recommend the most cost-effective way on their presses. The best-priced options will vary according the the various printers’ equipment.
Different printers will have different printing machines. There is no optimal size - the most cost effective way to produce the job should dictate the size of the magazine.
Of course you should get options and price levels you're happy with.
For example, I moved from a 260 wide magazine size to 250mm wide magazine (a mere 10mm) and it saved €10k a year in print costs.
This was due to more pages being allowed to be imposed on the same press sheet, which equals less press sheets per run, which equals less time on the print machine, which equals less time at the guillotine, which equals less time at the packaging, which equals less weight for postage/shipping.
Therefore - your printer will guide on your press size, the allowed margins (as they have to allow for grip on the plate and sheet etc, and have enough trimming on the edge of the sheet that text and images don't stretch).
Rule no1 of starting a new print project - talk to your printers and get their guidance.