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Measuring thickness of the paper sheet with micrometer
Posted at 

January 28, 2021

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What is GSM?

You may have heard this term when placing a print order but do you understand what it really means? 

GSM stands for “Grams per Square Metre”, it is used as a unit of weight for any given paper stocks. It refers to the weight of a 1m square sheet of paper in grams, not to the thickness, as most people think. 

Although, a lot of time the heavier the paper the thicker the paper usually is. You could source two different papers labelled as 300gsm, and one could be thicker and stiffer than the other. This is mainly down to the fibers that are used to create the paper and how dense they are. Some papers may appear spongier because they contain little pockets of air, these don’t weigh anything but cause the paper to appear thicker.

How do you decide what GSM to use?

Although most paper weights are available, you’ll most commonly find: 80gsm, 100gsm, 120gsm, 130gsm, 170gsm, 250gsm, 300gsm, 350gsm, 400gsm. 

Different printed items generally have a GSM range that is most suitable in terms of cost, practicality and quality requirements. Here are some examples:

80gsm – 120gsm – Letterheads, compliment slips or notebook pages.

130gsm – 170gsm – Cheap flyers, takeaway menus and booklet or brochure inserts.

250gsm – 300gsm – Premium flyers, invitations, covers for booklets and brochures.

350gsm – 400gsm – Business cards, greeting cards, postcards and luxury wedding stationery..

If you would like some advice about what paper weight to choose for your project, get in touch with us via email info@b2bprints.co.uk or call us on 0208 323 2854. 

Paper samples can always be provided to help!

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