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What does GSM stand for?

Paper weight or thickness isn’t the most exciting topic to talk about, but its almost certain to come up when talking to your printer. Grab a cup of coffee and stick with me for a few minutes, hopefully you’ll take something away that helps in your next project!

GSM (grams per square inch) is a measure of weight, but we can group stocks of differing GSM into categories based on their “thickness” and their most common uses for print.

Lets start from the lightest and work up.

At the very lightest end of the scale is bank paper. This ranges from 40gsm to 70gsm. Think of the pages of a phone book or Bible for example. This paper is very thin, which enables large publications to be bound into books that don’t end up looking like house bricks! Also at this end of the scale is NCR paper, which stands for “No Carbon Required”. This paper is used in books and pads (i.e. tax invoice, quotations and receipts) when duplication of forms is required without having to write the same information on multiple pieces of paper. Web presses are also able to run lightweight art papers, as low as 30gsm. Some very high production runs like the IKEA Catalogue are printed on this kind of lightweight stock.

In the next thickness level we have stocks ranging from 70gsm to 130gsm. Uncoated stocks are most commonly used for everyday office stationery like letter heads, writing pads and with compliments slips. The paper that’s used in your photocopier is most commonly an 80gsm uncoated stock. Art papers in this weight would be used for flyers, brochures and mailbox drops. Flyers for local businesses would normally be printed on a lightweight artpaper when utilising colourful content as this paper weight is economical as well as being an effective base for ink.

Mid range paper weights are from 130-200gsm. These stocks in uncoated and coated art papers are usually specialty stocks, used for specific purposes like high end brochures and stationery. In our experience consumers tend to pay more attention to the message the printed piece conveys as stock get thicker or heavier. Brochures you pick up in travel agents would be printed on 150-170gsm art papers, once folded they become a booklet of kinds, giving the impression of a piece of valuable information that you tend to hold on to for a period of time greater than the time it takes you to get to the nearest recycle bin.

Our heavy weight stocks range from 200-400gsm. These stocks are best used for flyers, brochure covers and more commonly business cards.PaperPage_paper_doublethick

This wide range of stock thicknesses gives us as printers the ability to find the right fit for your job based on your required levels of quality, quantity and budget. For your next print job consider not only the design but the way the weight and feel of the paper its printed on effects the overall content. If you need some advice we’re always willing to help, even arrange for sample sheets for you to consider.

 

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