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Printing Terms: What does GSM mean? Which GSM or paperweight is right for me?

27th August 2012

The term GSM is far from explanatory but you can guarantee that it will come up when talking to any printer worth his or her salt. This neat little article aims to explain the exact meaning of GSM. What does GSM mean and what does it mean for your printing?


GSM is an acronym standing for ‘Grams per Square Meter’. Quite simply, it allows print buyers and print suppliers to know exactly about the quality of paper that is being ordered. The higher the GSM number, the heavier the paper. If you’re buying print then make sure you know what you’re talking about. Being specific about the GSM you’re after can make all the difference and you’re likely to be taken more seriously by a printer if you ask for a specific GSM rather than just asking for thick or thin paper.


It’s worth noting that there are industry trends when it comes to GSM. If you are looking round a large number of print suppliers, such as, you will notice that certain paper thicknesses will keep on popping up. Although any GSM is available, you’ll most commonly find: 55gsm, 90gsm, 100gsm, 120gsm, 140gsm, 210gsm, 250gsm, 300gsm, 350gsm and 400gsm. This trend holds true across printed flyers, posters, leaflets, booklets, magazines, business cards, invitations, stickers, menus and pretty much any printed product you can think of.



GSM in practice: what paper thickness can you expect?


What paper thickness do different GSMs represent in real life? As an online company we are aware that selecting a paper weight without touching and feeling the paper can be a bit daunting. If you’re not in a rush for your print then please do not hesitate to ask for a free sample pack that will cover the whole range of paper stocks available. If you’re in a bit of a rush then let us translate these seemingly arbitrary numbers into commonly occurring paper you will have bumped into before now:


35gsm to 55gsm: This is very thin paper indeed. Most newspapers will commonly be printed on this paper thickness.


90gsm to 100gsm: This is the weight of most household printer paper. The stuff you might pick up in packs of 500 sheets at the office depot.


120gsm to 140gsm: This GSM range covers the paper thickness of most posters you’re likely to find on pub walls etc. Paper with this GSM is sturdy enough to withstand a bit of wear and tear. Its also the thickness of low-cost flyers you might have had posted through your front door by minicab companies and the like.


210gsm to 300gsm: Moving onto premium flyers now. This GSM range will cover most of the sturdy printed flyers you get given in the high street. This paper stock range is approaching card but will still have a bit of a bend when held with two fingers. Think of the magazine covers you see on the racks at newsagents. This is’s preferred paper weight when it comes to orders of traditional wedding thank you cards.


350gsm to 400gsm: This GSM is essentially card. It will stand up under its own weight and is most commonly associated with premium flyers and business cards. As well, it is likely to be the stock that high-quality wedding invitations are printed on.


We hope this had helped! If you are looking for any of the above then browse our most popular products or get in touch directly.





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