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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!