At Eazy Print, when you mention gsm, we know you’re not talking about the Global System for Mobile Communications. You could be, of course, but our best guess is that you are referring to the thickness of paper. Paper thickness is measured in grams per square metre (gsm). So how thick is your paper? We’re here to explain…
How Thick Is Your Paper?
You will have noticed paper being described as 80gsm, 130gsm or 300gsm.
The higher the GSM, the heavier and thicker the paper is going to be. Lighter paper uses less pulp and coating material to make it, so the paper is thinner and has a lower weight.
Different types of paper can have very different thicknesses and feel of rigidity, even if they are the same weight. Uncoated paper, for example, is a much thicker and more rigid paper than an equivalent weight of gloss coated art paper.
GSM is an abbreviation for Grams per Square Meter or in other words the weight, measured in grams of a one square meter sheet of paper. For example a one square meter sheet of 130gsm paper would weigh… 130 grams.
In practical terms, the higher the GSM, the heavier and therefore thicker the paper is going to be. Imagine a 12″ pizza, now ignore the toppings and melted cheese and just picture the base, a thin base pizza uses less dough than a deep pan and so is thinner and lighter. The same applies to paper, lighter paper uses less pulp and coating material to make it, so the paper is thinner and has a lower weight.
It’s important to know about paper weight because – armed with this knowledge – you can select the correct product for the job. You will see that a flyer, on 300gsm silk art, is going to be printed on a thick board. However, a leaflet at 130gsm is going to be on a thinner, lighter paper. When buying print knowing the meaning of the paper weight can help ensure that you order the right weight paper for the type of print you are producing. For example knowing that the flyer printed on 300gsm silk art, tells you the flyer is going to be printed on a thick board, or a leaflet on 130gsm is going to be on a thinner lighter paper.
Not all paper is made equal
An important point to note is that different types of paper can have very different thicknesses and feel of rigidity, even if they are the same weight. Uncoated paper for example is a much thicker and more rigid paper than an equivalent weight gloss coated art paper.
This difference is due to the way the paper is made. Uncoated paper is made purely from paper pulp with no coating. Paper pulp is much lighter than the material used to create a gloss finish, therefore much more pulp is used to create a square meter sheet of uncoated paper making it thicker and more rigid.
Coated paper however has a covering of a clay like substance applied to the surface of the paper. This coating is very heavy so paper manufactures use much less pulp and a thin layer of coating to make a sheet therefore it is thinner and flimsier than an equivalent uncoated sheet.
Which weighs more? A tonne of feathers or a tonne of lead?
It would be easy to think that a 300gsm stock looks and feels exactly the same whether it’s gloss, silk, satin, or uncoated. But as we all know Lead and Feathers do not look or feel the same at all, however a tonne of both weigh exactly that.
A 300gsm Gloss coated flyer will feel quite different to a 300gsm uncoated board. This is down to the density of the pulp in the artboard. So although the weight of the paper is the same between coated, uncoated and gloss, the bulk (or body) of the paper is different. Uncoated has more paper fibre in it, matt coated has more than gloss, and gloss has more coating and less fibre to make up the weight. Therefore the rigidity of the stocks will be different.
This is worth bearing mind, especially when considering the size of some print too. For example a 300gsm silk DL Flyer, will feel much stronger and more rigid than a 300gsm silk A4.
That’s food for thought…
To conclude on GSM…
So now you know – GSM relates directly to the thickness of the sheet of paper – the higher the GSM, the thicker and more substantial the paper will be. No one likes handing out flimsy business cards and the quality of a sales brochure is going to suffer if very light weight paper is used, so make sure you know the paper weight being used when you order your print – if you are not 100% sure always ask before ordering. Remember also the price of paper is relative to its weight, heavier paper costs more per sheet than light weight paper.
Eazy Print offers a range of flyers and leaflets on a choice of paper weights.
You can rest assured that Eazy Print is a heavyweight in the industry, offering you a dazzling choice of leaflets and flyers. Should you need any assistance, our friendly team is on hand to help. Simply get in touch today.