Types of Paper for printing article

Types of paper for printing

Posted in: Guides

Each type of paper has a weight, ranging from the lightest of flyers to the heaviest of coffee table books.

Paper weight, or grammage, is the weight of a sheet of paper with a surface area of one square metre. In simple terms, it is measured in grams per square metre, abbreviated as GSM. Generally, the higher the GSM rating, the more wood pulp is required to produce the paper, and the heavier the paper will be.

Paper weight is not the same as paper thickness. Paper thickness, (also referred to as bulk, or calliper) is measured in microns, short for micrometre. One micron is one-millionth of a metre thick.

Paper thickness is determined due to the type of wood pulp the paper is made from and methods used in its production. Bulking involves adding compounds to the cellulose fibres for making them bulkier. Calendaring compresses paper fibres between high pressure rollers to make them thinner. It is therefore possible to have two paper stocks with the same weight that look, feel and behave very differently from each other.

Then, there’s the choice between uncoated paper – also known as bond, offset or laser paper – and coated with gloss, silk or matt.

Uncoated paper is ideal for writing on and non-commercial printing. Glossy paper has a high shine and feels smooth to the touch. Its slight reflectivity makes it a popular choice for magazine covers, leaflets and flyers. It’s perfect for photography, colours are vibrant but its glossy surface can show fingertips.

Silk has a soft, smooth surface, without shine. Matte paper is soft and slightly textured, making it ideal for books and large copy-based print. Matte performs excellently in strong natural light, as well as dim, difficult lighting conditions.

With so much choice, it’s unsurprising if you’re unsure of which paper to choose for your next print job. Follow our guide to find the perfect type of paper for your needs.

Paperweight Champions of The World

Business cards are small but contain important information. Saved, or passed around, they need to be thicker, stiffer and more durable than the average piece of paper.

Flyers, however, tend to have a temporary use and are usually thrown away. Therefore, they are often on flimsier or lighter-weight paper.

As a very rough guide, copier paper is found at the lower end of the paper weight chart, at around 60gsm.

Envelopes and company-headed paper will weigh in at 90-120gsm.

Business cards fall within the “board” end of the spectrum at around 400-450gsm. Posters are somewhere in the middle at about 170-200gsm.

Lightweight paper

  • 35-55gsm: the lightest type of paper, ranging from translucent tracing paper to newsprint.
  • 70gsm: thin document paper, often found in sketchpads, notebooks (or [coated] magazines). Thick enough to draw on with pencil, heavy ink may bleed through
  • 80-100gsm: standard household office printer/copier paper, catalogues and brochures

Medium weight paper

  • 110-120gsm: commonly used for stationery paper, like letterheads and compliment slips.
  • 130-170gsm: Thicker and more resilient paper is typically utilised for promotional posters, leaflets, flyers and book pages.
  • 170-200gsm: midway point between paper and card: thin board, premium paper. Can be used for brochure covers and luxurious posters or quality double sided flyers. Greeting cards that won’t fall over.
  • 250-270gsm: considered as card or board weights that can enhance the quality of a book if used as a cover. This type of paper is rigid yet flexible, making it an ideal choice for magazine covers, high-quality flyers, and painting with watercolours.
  • 300gsm: standard board

Heavy Weight paper

  • 350-400gsm: This paper is ideal for producing high-quality business cards, invitations, postcards, greeting cards, and book covers. It is known for its exceptional stiffness and sturdines
  • 400gsm and above: Some high-end business cards are printed on paper weights as heavy as 1190gsm, while cards that exceed 400gsm are generally considered to be of exceptional quality

Seconds Out, Round 2

Whatever weight of paper you choose for your print job, you can care for the planet while printing, by choosing carbon-balanced paper.

Our carbon-balanced paper allows you to offset carbon emissions caused by the production and distribution of your office paper. Choose carbon-balanced paper and you’re choosing to make a positive impact on climate change.

We’re proud to partner with The World Land Trust organisation. To date, the Carbon Balanced Print and Paper programme has enabled WLT to offset more than 250,000 tonnes of CO2. Our World Land Trust Carbon Balanced Certification is just one part of our strategy to reduce our environmental impact.

We also use paper from forests that bear the FSC’s Chain of Custody Certification.  This is assessed according to The 10 FSC Principles, including maintaining or enhancing the social and economic wellbeing of workers, and helping maintain or enhance the social and economic wellbeing of local communities.

If you’re ready for your print job to pack a punch on the perfect paper, contact us today. Call us on 01625 870000, for quality print services that are absolutely knock-out!

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