Paper Information about common Weights and Finishes
If you have ever bought print, or copier paper for your printing you would have noticed paper being described as 80gsm, 130gsm or 300gsm, but what does this really mean? Throughout this page we will try and explain the common weights and finishes so that you are able to make an informed decision with your next print order.
GSM is an abbreviation for Grams per Square Meter or in other words the weight, measured in grams of a one square meter sheet of paper. For example a one square meter sheet of 130gsm paper would weigh… 130 grams.
In practical terms, the higher the GSM, the heavier and therefore thicker the paper is going to be. The lighter paper uses less pulp and coating material to make it, so the paper is thinner and has a lower weight.
When buying print knowing the meaning of the paper weight can help ensure that you order the right weight paper for the type of print you are producing. For example knowing that a flyer is printed on 350gsm silk art, tells you the flyer is going to be printed on a thick board, or a leaflet on 130gsm is going to be on a thinner lighter paper.
Not all paper is the same.
Different types of paper can have very different thicknesses and feel of rigidity, even if they are the same weight. Uncoated paper for example is a much thicker and more rigid paper than a gloss coated art paper. This is because of the way the paper is made.
Uncoated paper is made purely from paper pulp with no coating. Paper pulp is much lighter than the material used to create a gloss finish, therefore much more pulp is used to create a square meter sheet of uncoated paper making it thicker and more rigid. Coated paper has a covering of a clay like substance applied to the surface of the paper. This coating is very heavy so paper manufactures use much less pulp and a thin layer of coating to make a sheet therefore it is thinner and flimsier than an equivalent uncoated sheet.
No one likes handing out flimsy business cards and the quality of a sales brochure is going to suffer if very light weight paper is used, so make sure you know the paper weight being used when you order your print – if you are not 100% sure always ask before ordering. Remember the thicker it is the more it will cost but it is a better quality product.
We hope we have explained this, so that you know have more understanding regarding paper weights and finishes.