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What is paper "GSM"?

posted on 27/01/2021

How many gsm for your material? - This is one of the popular questions we have been asked when customers placed their name card or flyer order. But do you clearly know what is “GSM”? Is it really representative of the thickness of the paper? Today, we are going to share with you the details of “GSM”.

“GSM” is a weight unit for paper stocks and it stands for Grams per Square Meter (g/m2). The weight of the paper is measured from a paper sheet that is cut to one square meter in size. GSM is very important to the printing industry because usually printers use GSM to identify the paper, for less than 200gsm we usually call it as ‘paper’, where the material over 200gsm is referred to as ‘card’ / ‘board’.

Does “GSM” represent the thickness of the card?
Not really. As discussed, GSM is the weight of paper in a 1m square sheet. It does not represent how thick the paper is. Give you an example, a 350gsm Art Card and 350gsm Boxboard are both the same gsm when they cut into 1m X 1m but the art card actually feels thicker than the boxboard. The reason is both papers are made from different materials and processes. You may refer to the picture attached for more understanding.

So, what GSM should I choose for my printing?
There are no rules when choosing the paper type for your printing products. It’s all come to your preferences, you may choose art paper for your name card printing and no one will judge you. However, for those who have no idea what is the best material for the product you print, we will share with you the most recommended material according to the different products printing.

10 - 35gsm
This is a lightweight paper and generally used for tissue or toilet paper. It is a thin and translucent paper.

35 -50gsm
This range of paper mostly used in newspapers printing.

50gsm - 70gsm
It is an uncoated paper and usually used for NCR book printing such as invoice book, delivery order or computer form printing.

70gsm - 100gsm
This paperweight is commonly found in notebooks or office printer A4 paper. It is also an uncoated paper, usually used for copy paper, company letterhead printing or form printing.

100gsm - 120gsm
If you seek a quality letterhead, the paper gsm over 100gsm will be a great choice. It can be used for letterhead printing or certificate printing.

120gsm - 157gsm
Commonly used for flyer printing or brochure printing. They have coated and uncoated paper. The coated paper with a semi glossy feeling is recommended for flyer distribution or promotion purposes.

220gsm and above
For the paper material over 220gsm is considered a card material. They have coated cards (art card) and uncoated cards (ivory card). Frequently used in name card printing, greeting card printing and book cover. Recommend apply with matt or gloss lamination to make the art card protected.