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How to choose the Paper Stock that is best suited to your printing project?Paper Stock Intro

When it comes to printing, one of the first things you need to decide is which paper stock to choose.

The primary features that you need to know about when ordering standard printing papers are, 

  • Paper Weight or Thickness

  • Paper Types 

Paper Weight or Thickness

As a starting point, standard printer paper is generally around 80gsm.

GSM is used to measure the thickness/weight of paper stocks

What is GSM?  GSM is an acronym which stands for “Grams per Square Metre”. The higher the GSM number, the heavier the paper.

90 -100 GSM

This is the typical range of the type of paper that you would find in your office printer.  It's ideal for letterheads, with compliment slips, pads and envelopes.

This is also suitable for text pages in Booklets & Magazines.

This paper can be used for flyers or brochures to make pricing more economical.

115 - 170 GSM

This is the typical range for handouts and leaflets, like Flyers, Brochures, Posters, etc. It’s thicker and economical priced yet. It can also be used for text pages in Booklets & Magazines, for that more upmarket feel.

200-250 GSM

A Great choice for Booklet & Magazine covers where a weighty look and feel are very important. Also ideal for Flyers, for when you want to use that stock that is a little thicker and premium than standard.

300-420 GSM

350GSM and 420GSM is very common for high quality Business Cards, Flyers, Promo Cards and Invitations. A paper stock thicker than 300 GSM is the premium paper for flyers, pamphlet and digital printing.

Paper Types

Uncoated Paper

During manufacturing, all paper starts out uncoated.

Uncoated paper stock has a non-glare surface but quite absorbent due to its porous surface and will therefore soak up more ink. 

This type of paper is ideal for printed materials that need to be written on – VIP Card, letterhead, envelopes and so on. It also offers a more ‘natural’, ‘earthy’, or ‘organic’ look for your printed piece. 

It can be textured, for example, a linen finish, but it can also be very smooth, like printer or copy paper.

It is commonly used for things like:

  • stationery and standard envelopes

  • economical flyers

  • newsletters

  • a final product will be written on

Business cards, letterheads and invitations are typically printed on uncoated paper. 

Coated Paper

Coated papers have dull/matte or gloss finishes. Dull/matte stocks are smoother and more refined than uncoated, but not shiny like gloss papers. Not like the uncoated paper which providing a flat, dull appearance, the coated paper produces sharper and more vibrant printing.

Coated paper is more difficult to write on, especially with pencils or ballpoint pens. It is great for:

  • brochures

  • catalogues

  • postcards

  • packaging

  • a product that won't be written on 

The most common coated options as below:

  • Gloss: Gloss is the kind of paper you’d find in magazines. It is also cost-efficient with less bulk and opacity as regular matte paper.

  • Satin/Silk: Low in gloss, satin or silk paper has a smooth surface.

  • Matt: With little sheen, matte paper is non glossy and is more opaque with a greater bulk. 

Quite often referred to as art paper, this type of paper is often used for brochures or any print project that offers images and design elements as it offers sharper detail.

There are additional coatings that can be added to your print project after it has been printed to offer further effects. Quite often for booklet covers, brochures, presentation folders and so on, we add a gloss or matt cello glaze finish.


For more information with your graphic design printing, we can assist you at PinPrint contact us.