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Our Guide to the Different Types of Paper Weight & How to Measure Them

Paper has a vast array of weights, sizes, and textures. Different types of paper can be utilized for various purposes, such as for corporate events, marketing pursuits, or creative print projects. 

With this variety, it can be quite tricky to choose the right paper type for your specific purpose. In fact, you’ll have to select the right paperweight for your product when in the process of designing your print materials. That said, the quality of your chosen paper will become a reflection of the quality of your brand. As a rule of thumb, thicker or heavier paper types often exhibit quality and provide durability.

When choosing the right paper for your product, consider the two vital factors: paperweight and paper type. Below are the different types of paperweights that you can choose from and how paperweight is measured.

Paperweight Measurement

Several methods can be used to measure the weight and thickness of a paper. Below are some of these:

  • Metric weight: This method is widely used in Europe but isn’t as common in the US. Also known as grammage, this is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). This entails cutting the weight of a sheet of paper to a 1 x 1 meter square. With a standardized paper size, this measurement offers a clear-cut and straightforward comparison between different paperweights and types.
  • Points or mils: This method is said to be the most straightforward measurement of all. This type involves a calliper to measure the exact thickness of each piece of paper. As a rule of thumb, the thicker the paper, the greater the weight of the paper. 

Different Paper Types and Weight

It’s best to choose the right paper weight by matching the weight of the paper to its function as a product. Below are the different paper types and their typical applications:

  • Bond paper: This paper is also known as the writing paper because it is the most common type used daily. It can be sorted into three categories. First, the lighter-weight bond paper is suitable for faxes, printing emails, and use in high-speed copiers. Second, the mid-weight bond paper can be used for reports, proposals, presentations, and double-sided printing due to its versatility. Third, the heavier-weight bond paper works well for double-sided printing typically utilized for contracts, resumes, and flyers.
  • Cover paper: This paper is also known as card stock, which is perfect for printing cards. This type is typically thick and stiff and has a wide array of colours, textures, and surface finishes. The thickness of cover paper can be used for varied purposes, such as for business cards, postcards, flyers, report covers, menus, invitations, and direct mail-outs.
  • Index paper: This type is a very thick paper, almost similar to index cards. This offers high bulk and low weight with a smooth finish. This is a perfect option for heavier business cards, sketchbooks, tabs and dividers, and manila folders.

The paperweight and type can impact your printing and its usage purpose. First, get acquainted with the different types of paper you can use. Second, know how they are measured in terms of weight to understand how they function as a product. 

With this guide, you now know the process of selecting the right paper type and weight for any specific project you pursue.

If you are looking for a professional printing service in London, get in touch with us to see how we can help.