Understanding paper weights can be quite simple. GSM (grams per square meter) is the metric equivalent of the pound measurement, which is more commonly used here in the States. When thinking about paper weight measurements, you must begin with how the paper is measured. Basis weight, or basic size, will be our starting point and it refers to the weight of a ream (500 sheets) of a type of paper. Each type of paper has a different basic size. What becomes tricky is knowing the basic size for each paper type.
Lets say we have 500 sheets of paper (a ream) that has a basis weight of 80 pounds. Since each type of paper (bond, cover, text, etc.) has a different basic size, a stack of cover stock that weighs 80 pounds may be twice as thick as the text stock that weighs the same. This is because the basic size for a cover stock is 20″ x 26″, whereas the basic size for a text stock is 25″ x 38″. The text stock basic size is larger than the cover so the cover has to be thicker to match in weight, which it is. 80# text stock actually equals about 45# cover weight, because of the basic size and thickness difference.
To clarify, in the image below both stacks of paper have 10 sheets each. You should be able to differentiate between the cover and the text stocks, where the cover will be the thicker of the two. The Voom Group knows all about this stuff so if you would like to learn more, please come in and visit the shop for some more lessons.
80# Cover on the bottom and 80# Text on the top.
Other than the thickness, paper has other ways of adding a feel to it. In our July 2017 Job of the Month blog we explored how one of our customers uses a specialty paper to give a feeling to the reader that they are touching a canvas bag. They chose a paper with more grit and texture to it which, when paired with great graphic design, gave the sensation to the user.
Finding a sensation match like this does happen but not as often as it should. Design plays a crucial role because your image needs to convey the feeling the paper is trying to send. If our customer put the same image on a glossy, coated paper, it would have not sent the same warm feeling to the reader. When picking out your stock for your next project, check out the chart below to get a better idea of which stock of paper to use. Again, we here at the Voom Group will be more than happy to assist you with all of your print decisions.