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How Is Paperweight Measured?

If you have previously ordered leaflets, business cards, or any other marketing collateral, you may have come across the term ‘GSM’. Perhaps you requested print in a bulk quantity to iron out the intricate details of your purchase.

You may be more rehearsed in the terms ‘silk’ and ‘uncoated’ paper, specifically in regards to business cards. If you are not familiar with ‘GSM’ let us enlighten you and inspire intrigue!

What Does GSM Stand For?

In a nutshell, the acronym ‘GSM’ pertains to Grams per Square Metre; a measurement given to a type of paper and its mass. The abbreviated term allows print buyers and suppliers to have finite knowledge about the exact quality of paper they wish to order.

The varying weights of GSM paper allow one to precisely match with a preferred paper type to specifically fulfill several different applications. Essentially, the higher the GSM, the heavier and thicker the paper.

Why is the Weight of Paper Important?

To fully conceptualise the term GSM, let us provide you with a compelling example: Business cards are small but certainly pack a punch. They must have a lightweight but robust form to successfully pass from hand to hand.

In comparison, printed leaflets have a temporary shelf life. From announcing a sale to advertising an extensive catalogue of products, they communicate a direct message to a particular recipient. Thus, leaflets or flyers are typically printed on flimsier paper with a light GSM.

GSM is an important term to fully understand in the print industry - one that can lead to informed decisions regarding design and cement widespread benefits for particular organisations.

The quality of the paper you choose, in effect, will be a reflection of your company’s aesthetic. A superb standard must be mirrored with acute attention to detail, so as to reinforce your business’s ethos and core values.

Videos of different GSM paper

400 GSM

350 GSM

300 GSM

250 GSM

170 GSM

135 GSM

Choosing the Right GSM Paper Thickness

Selecting the perfect paper type depends solely on what you wish to print. However, it is also beneficial to understand the different types of paper - based on their individual weight - to begin to carve out which suits your business best.

90 - 120gsm

This particular paperweight is typically found in desktop printers or notepads. Most notably referred to as uncoated ‘offset paper’, you can seamlessly print and write on a 90 - 120gsm paper type. We would recommend using this paperweight for letterhead printing and other marketing stationery including compliment slips.

120 – 170gsm

A little thicker than common printer paper, 130 - 170gsm paperweight is ideal for businesses on a stringent budget. The best weight for flyers, leaflets, brochures, and even takeaway menus, this paperweight has a water-based coating that seals the colour firmly in place and adds a silky smooth surface.

170 – 300gsm

The premium end of the paperweight range; most suitable for flyer printing, invitations, or brochure covers - add a classy textured look and feel with a 170 - 300gsm paper type. It’s not quite a card, but rather a heavier finish typifying a thick sturdy paper, much like the covers on glossy magazines.

300 – 400gsm

A heavier paperweight that allows for superb quality business cards, presentation folders, and even greeting card printing. Resilient enough to withstand its own weight or even stand the test of time in a wallet; 300 - 400gsm is an impactful and impressively thick paperweight.

400 – 700gsm

If you are looking to go the extra mile and nail that first impression with Multi Layer Business Cards or luxury wedding stationery, then this paperweight is best for you. This specific paper option has double thickness and is manufactured in-house - essentially fusing two lighter papers to produce an ultra-thick paper.

Often getting the paperweight right can be a strenuous task, however, it will make all the difference to the final print outcome. Understanding GSM paperweight is critical for success, thus to help you make the best-informed choice, request a sample pack or let our bespoke graphic design service enhance your corporate visibility!

Why is paper coated?

The coating is the process of providing a surface on top of the paper to ensure protection for the ink so that it sits on top of the paper, rather than absorbing into the paper. This gives improved clarity and a more vibrant look to the text or image being printed, helping maintain the quality of your product and its visibility for your readers.

What type of coated paper is the best for you?

This depends largely on what message you are trying to convey, as each paper has its own strengths.

Gloss Coated Paper

Also known as Enamel paper, Gloss paper has a smooth surface and the coating gives your product a shinier finish than regular uncoated paper. The glossier surface easily reflects light, giving plenty of vibrance to your image or text allowing your message to really ‘pop’ out of the paper.

Because of the clear image and eye-catching texture, Gloss paper is often used for products such as folded leaflets and coated paper labels.

Matt Coated Paper

On the opposite end of the spectrum comes Matt paper, where Gloss provides a more shiny smooth look, A Matt coating gives the paper a denser, more robust finish.

The benefit of this is that the coating is more durable to the tear and wear of daily usage. The ‘dull’ coating on Matt material gives the paperless light reflection or glare meaning that in certain lighting such as outdoors on a sunny day, the text on the paper can be a lot more clear and visible.

Matt paper is best used when you may need to pass the paper around from person to person and you are trying to reduce blemishes and fingerprints. Thanks to its durability, Matt paper is excellent for 3D Spot UV business cards and Business card printing.

Silk Coated Paper

Silk paper is made through a process of binding individual silk fabrics together to create a high-quality surface ready for your brand’s image. A silk coating has both the positive qualities of gloss as it still holds that vibrancy and smoothness but also benefited by less glare allowing your text to stay literate and have the added clarity that we see in Matt products.

A Silk coating is available for many of our products ranging from A4 Flyers and A3 Poster printing.

Ensure you choose the Silk material option when ordering to try this extraordinary coating!

Coated Paper Comparison table

Gloss PaperSilk PaperMatt paper
Shinier LookLess GlareLess Glare
Smooth SurfaceSmooth SurfaceRobust Surface
Vibrant FinishVibrant FinishHigh Durability
Eye Catching TextureResistance to fingerprints or blemishesResistance to fingerprints or blemishes