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What Is GSM And How Do You Choose Which One You Need?

What Is GSM And How Do You Choose Which One You Need?

Read Time: 2 Minutes


12 Mar 2018

You’ll have seen on our shop that we always say that paper stock options are in certain ‘gsm’ weights. What does that mean? How does 120gsm differ from 350gsm?

What Is GSM?

The first, and most obvious question to answer is: what is GSM?

It stands for ‘grams per metre’ and is literally how heavy a sheet of paper is. For example, 120gsm is 120 grams per metre, while a 450gsm weighs 450 grams per metre.

Not so scary when you know what it stands for, right?!

Why Do Different GSMs Exist?

Some products are better in heavier weights, or lighter ones, which is why a range of gsm options exist.

It also depends on the budget you have for your print project. It’s likely that a 120gsm product is cheaper than the same product on 350gsm paper. That’s purely because of the weight of paper involved! 

So, Should I Go For The Lowest GSM To Save Money?

If you’re on a budget, then choosing a lower gsm may save you money – but make sure you consider all of the options first.

That’s because a heavier gsm is also longer-lasting. For example, if you only need to hand out flyers to promote an event that’s on tonight, a 120gsm A5 flyer would be ideal for keeping costs down. However, if you want to put flyers in an exhibition goodie bag, you’ll want your flyer to last as it is passed around the office when people go back to work. In this case, 350gsm might be better.


It Also Depends On The Image You Want To Project

Remember, touch can really affect how people perceive marketing. If your paper is thin, potential customers may feel that you won’t invest in them. On the other hand, a heavy 450gsm business card will make a lasting impression of quality.


Your Product Can Dictate The GSM You Need

Choosing the right gsm also depends on the product that you need. A business card, for example, is always best in the heaviest paper stock that you can afford as it sets the scene for potential clients.

A booklet can have varied gsm options for the inner pages and the cover pages. This is a good example of how gsm can be dictated by the way you want to use the product.

A one-time jotter notebook to give delegates at an event with a low entry cost may only need a 120gsm cover. However, a memento booklet such as an order of service for a wedding or funeral needs to have more durability to it so a 350gsm weight would be better.

Have More Questions About GSM?

If you’re still not sure about the best gsm for your product, don’t fret!

First, you can always order our free sample pack to get an idea of the different paper weights, stocks, and finishes that are available.

If you’re still confused or need advice on a specific product, remember that our friendly customer service team are always on hand to help! Give them a call on 0191 2727 327 and they’ll provide you with free advice about your next print project.

Ryan Mold

About the Author

Hi! I’m Ryan, the Graphic Designer at instantprint. I like helping customers by creating helpful print and designs tips and guides to make sure their artwork looks the best that it can.