So, you need some new business cards/DL flyers/Poster printed and the first thing the printer says to you is- What stock? Huh? You think, “I’m not sure, how about chicken?’
Unless you’ve worked at a printer or have a real thing for paper, the average person doesn’t really know a lot about different paper stock or GSM
WHAT IS “GSM” AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
100gsm or 200gsm? “GSM” isn’t a manufacturer’s paper code. It is the basic unit of measurement to give you an idea of how thick or thin a certain paper stock is. Grams per Square Meter is the weight of one square meter of a particular paper stock, referring to the physical weight of a 100cm x 100cm sheet of paper. This means that the higher the GSM, the heavier (and generally, the thicker) the paper.
Let’s start with business cards. We usually run with 420gsm. It’s a pretty standard stock. There are occasions when we go a little lighter – 320gsm. But if you want quality, we recommend 420gsm. If you are wanting sometime really special, you can go heavier stock/gsm like we did for Burgundy Bespoke Jewellers. (check out the products shots on the business card page) These are super fancy little numbers, much like Michael’s jewellery, so we wanted the cards to be a reflection of his craftmanship, so we chose 580gsm with gold foiling uncoated (foiling- a whole other world of confusion!! Check out the next blog where I explain all the speciality finished)
Uncoated refers to the paper finish. You can have it matte, gloss, coated, uncoated, cello glazed. The paper finish is a big factor that determines the final look and feel.
Uncoated paper has a rough and more fibrous surface that soaks up ink and does not deliver sharp full colour prints as well. However, uncoated paper is easy to write on- great for loyalty cards etc, more inexpensive, and can give a natural feel suitable for some businesses and product lines.
Coated paper is paper treated with a clay compound. Coatings make the paper surface smoother for better print-ability, help ink stay on top of the paper without seeping into the paper fibres for sharper detail, and make paper hardier against scuffing.
Coatings change the way colours are reproduced in photos and text. Gloss coating reflects a lot of light and gives vibrant photo and art prints with sharp detail. Matte coating is great for text as it eradicates the glare that comes with choosing Gloss coating but does not reproduce colours as well. Silk coating is semi-gloss and is velvety to the touch. It reaches a compromise between Gloss and Matte as it displays a colour range close to that of Gloss, while reducing glare and ink scuffing.
Flyers- 150gsm gloss is standard big run DL flyer. They are just like the junk mail you get in the post. They are inexpensive and look good with when designed well. For smaller runs and more upmarket businesses, a heavier stock feels more expensive and gives the impression a luxury. Something like 250gsm works well. But if you are needing a table topper for a restaurant or more card like flyer, 300gsm is the one to go for. Like always, you have the option of matte or gloss. And again, this is dependent on the artwork and the look you are going for.
We have heaps of samples in the office, so if you’re a touchy feely kinda person, come in see us and we can help direct you in the right direction for your marketing material!