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How to Select the Best Paper for Your Business Stationery

It can be confusing when it comes to choosing the paper best suited for your company projects which mirrors your attention to detail and reinforces your company message of service and product excellence, especially because many people tend to confuse paper weights with paper thickness.  

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how you can choose the right paper weights to create that crucial first impression, even before your customer reads your message.

First things first. The thickness of paper is specified by its weight in grams per square meter (GSM). The higher the GSM, the heavier and often thicker the paper is, but, annoyingly, this isn’t always the case.  Some papers will, in fact, feel thicker or bulkier than others, despite being the same weight. ie. Uncoated paper is bulkier than coated paper, with matt and silk coated papers being bulkier than gloss paper.

Common GSM Paper Weights and Uses

80gsm to 120gsm – Copier and printer paper is generally around 80 to 100gsm.  Letterheads and other office stationery are usually printed on 100 to 120 gsm.  This range of commonly used papers is known as ‘offset paper’. Due to its high brightness and uncoated rough surface, it takes colour well.  It can also be printed on and written on repeatedly.

130gsm to 170gsm – Paper weights in this range are best for posters and outdoor use as they have a harder wearing quality. A thicker 130gsm to 170gsm art paper with a smooth water-based coating is perfect for visual marketing products such as flyers, leaflets and brochure pages.  The coating seals in the colour of any high-quality text or images and gives the paper extra stability.

Any paper weights that exceed 170gsm are more commonly referred to as ‘board’ which, to make you even more bonkers, has a second measure that indicates the thickness of the sheet.  This second measurement is given in microns where 1 micron = 1/1000 of a millimetre. For example, 200gsm is the paper weight but the paper thickness can be between 150 to 220 microns.

200gsm to 300gsm – Thick and sturdy with a weighty look and feel, this is ideal for creating banners, premium flyers and brochure covers. It’s a good idea however, to use lighter weight printed products if your direct marketing involves delivery costs based on parcel weight.

300gsm to 400gsm – These are impressively thick and heavy boards that will stand up under their own weight. Best for providing a superb finish to premium quality business cards, postcards, leaflets, presentation folders and specialised stationery. These are the paper weights to use if you’re looking for a superior finish.


Once you have selected your chosen paper weights for the task, consider using the same stock throughout your business stationery for a more professional appeal. For example, if you choose uncoated paper for your letterheads then maintain the uncoated and unified look in your business cards and compliment slips too.

Let Mailmech help you to find the best paper weight solution to making your business stand out from the competition. Call them for advice and products on 011-789 1608 or visit


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