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paper weight, GSM and what it all really means: - The Print Group


The team here at The Print Group Australia can provide advice on the best paper stock to use for your print job. We can provide samples of different stocks and weights to see what would work best – but in the meantime thought we would share some insiders information about Paper Weight, GSM, and what it all really means.

The term GSM refers to the substance weight of paper, relating to an area of paper that remains constant, irrespective of sheet size, expressed as grams per square metre.

As a starting point, standard printer paper is generally around 80gsm. Typically the higher the GSM the heavier (and generally, the thicker) the paper but this isn't always the case.

One of our paper supplier KW Doggetts explains, "Many people often confuse the weight of paper with the thickness. Two papers may both weigh 120gsm, but one may be a thick vellum style of paper containing air and bulk, whilst another may be highly calendered and tightly packed. Both are classified as 120gsm but feel and look completely different"

So how do you know what paper would work best? We have provided some general tips below as a point of reference, but the best option is to have a chat with us about your job, we can show you some samples and recommend what would work best for you!

Business Cards – our standard business card stock would be 400gsm. Business cards are an extension of your business so you wouldn't want a lightweight card that can be easily damaged as it may be a reflection on your company.

Flyers & Brochures – we typically recommend a 150gsm stock as it is generally a good paper stock for this type of print job.

Posters – we typically recommend a 170gsm stock as it carries a nice quality for the posters without making it too heavy or thick.

Training Documents – we would recommend an 80gsm or 90gsm stock. The stock typically needs to be uncoated to allow writing on the pages for students. This also assists with the thickness of the document as most of our training documents are saddle-stitched and need to fold easily.

Presentation Folders – we typically use a high bulk art board around 310gsm. The high bulk art board is stiffer than your standard 310gsm and makes for a durable and sturdy folder for carrying documents.

Letterhead & With Comp Slips – we would recommend around a 100gsm. It is slightly heavier stock than standard and carries a more professional look and feel for your business stationery.

NCR Books – these require specialty 60gsm carbonless paper.