GSM & Paper. What Does it all Mean?

You see and hear it all the time when purchasing paper products or getting print work done such as flyers and business cards, but what does “gsm” mean and how does it make a difference?

GSM stands for grams per square metre and simply identifies the weight of the paper at the size of 1m x 1m. In short, the higher the gsm number the thicker the paper is going to be and, in most cases, the better the quality will be also.

Paper weight starts off around the 80 gsm range for everyday photocopier and printing paper, going through the 170 gsm range which is classified as card through to the higher 300 gsm ranges which are usually classified as board.

The table below identifies the various ranges of gsm and the more common uses for paper of that type of weight.

GSM Description & Use
35 – 55 Very thin paper. Usually used for newspapers.
80 – 100 Used for everyday office printing and photocopying.
110 – 120 Stationery paper for business documents such as letterheads, compliment slips or booklets.
130 – 170 Often used for leaflets, flyers, posters and pages inside brochures.
170 – 200 Great for brochure or magazine covers, high-end posters and impressive double-sided flyers.
200 – 250 Makes for a top-quality brochure cover. Also used for postcards.
300 – 400 This is the perfect business card weight and can also be used as brochure covers
400 + Gold with your business cards, this thickness provides a luxury finish and definitely gives a feeling of quality.