Which paper’s right for my print project?

Which paper’s right for my print project?


Putting together a print promotion involves many decisions. Amazing artwork and tantalising text are a great beginning – you want your literature to look good and read well. But what about how it feels? Make sure your material choices are a tactile hit with our handy guide to paper stocks.

What do you mean by paper stock?

The paper stock refers to the weight, or thickness, of the material you select for your print promotion.  It’s measured in grams per square metre, which is normally abbreviated to gsm.

Why is the right paper weight important?

There are many reasons.  Consider the impact that you want your printed materials to make and their end purpose.  If you’re printing restaurant menus, for example, you’ll want them to be durable. Sending out newsletters via post? Remember that the weight of your item will affect the cost of postage. Need to run letterheads through your own printer? Keep it slim.

The material you choose also sends an important message about the quality and positioning of your product or service.

Any rules?

These general guidelines should keep you right:

Up to 120gsm – Standard stationery items such as letterheads and compliments slips.

130 – 170gsm – Leaflets, flyers and posters with a short shelf life, as well as brochure inserts.

170 – 200gsm – Double-sided flyers, brochure covers and more durable posters.

200 – 250gsm – Approaching card territory. Ideal for brochure covers.

300 – 400gsm – The norm for business cards, although some may go above 400gsm for maximum impact.

Finishing touches

There are a variety of paper finishes on offer. The most common choice is between matt or gloss.

As a rule of thumb, matt tends to be slightly more subtle and fosters an air of understated professionalism.

Looking to make more of a high-profile splash? A gloss finish can help powerful graphics ‘pop’ off the page.


If paper stocks leave you stumped, remember that your printer can help. The choices are many and varied, however the right decision can give your print promotion that extra edge.



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