08 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Choosing The Right Paper GSM For Your Printing

One question you need to answer before ordering any flyers or leaflets is, what thickness of paper do i need? Printers get all technical and use funny terms such as GSM. It is a common method to specify the ‘thickness’ (and as a result, quality) of a sheet of paper by measuring it’s weight in terms grams per square metre (GM or GSM)

Paper Thickness
A business card is around 400gsm, a postcard at 300gsm; a restaurant menu 130gsm; a good quality letterhead or compliment slip is around 120gsm. To put these figures into perspective, a low-quality sheet of photocopier paper is often around 80

As papers are usually graded by weight, one manufacturer’s 150gsm paper may seem slightly bulkier or thicker than a competitor’s product. This can be down to factors such as the coating, or the type of gloss finish, if any. Despite this, a paper’s GSM rating is probably the best possible viewpoint as to how ‘thick’ or ‘stiff’ the paper will feel but you will have the option of asking for samples from the manufacturer if you are unsure. Another measuring method is known as microns (a micron = 1/1000 of a millimetre), and is often used when measuring the thicker ‘card’ material.

Selecting the paper for your project

Choose the right paper for your printing

So, now that you are clear on the different types of paper qualities – which ones should you choose for the paper in your project?

Whether it is a gloss, silk or matt finish is mostly down to personal preference, but gloss paper is seen as producing the most vibrant of colour reproduction when printing. Different opinions on gloss range from classy to tacky. If you are creating a full-colour document featuring photographs or colourful illustrations, you’ll get the more vibrant and effective colours if you opt for a coated paper.

Something to consider with conventional printing is that silk and matt papers need to be machine sealed to avoid smudging, and will most likely add to the cost of printing depending on the contractor. On the other hand, uncoated paper, despite being usable for full colour projects, tend to show less vibrant colours, so a decision will again be based on how much quality you want the paper to have, compared with the cost of it.

Do not use a glossly finish papers if your document is designed to be written on, as your ink may rub off
Items such as letterheads and compliment slips are almost always printed onto uncoated paper – with 100gsm seen as the norm, and 120gsm adds s feeling of importance. There is huge range of different brands of paper to choose from, and contractors will tend to mainly stock and promote a selection of their favourites.

If you plan to print on your stationery using a desktop printer, ensure that the paper is inkjet and/or laser compatible, as some printing and finishing processes, like some types of paper, are not compatible. Confirm the suitability with your contracted supplier. You should also check to see if the paper is available at a cheap rate, as suppliers will often bring down the average price when ordered in bulk!

Finally, be cautious to the fact that colour reproduction will differ regarding type of paper the ink is printed on, as different types of prints may have different needs, so it important to consider exactly what you want before you go ahead with it.

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