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Paper Weights, What does GSM mean?

GSM?! So here is our insiders guide to paper weights.

Lets start with something simple: GSM – what exactly does it mean?

GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter, and is the standard unit of measurement for all paper and card stocks. The higher the GSM the heavier and (normally) thicker your substrate will be. To give you a reference point, the average piece of printer paper is normally around 100gsm.

Strange as it sounds different paper weights can convey different messages and affect the way your product and, by extension, your business is seen. Generally speaking the heavier the paper weight, the more high quality your product feels. However printing a magazine or booklet on a high-gsm stock would be impractical- the extra weight would force the pages to spring open and its unlikely the magazine would lie flat.

Before you panic below are some general guidelines you can follow to make choosing your paper weight easier.

What paper weight is best for your product?

Business Cards:

For business cards we recommend a stock between 350gsm and 400gsm. Choose anything less and you risk being stuck with flimsy business cards that wear easily and thus reflect negatively on your business. We do a choice of finishes, our offers can be seen here


If you want to showcase photography or promote an event, flyers are a great way to do it. You need to be careful when choosing your thickness, as too thin will make them look cheap and more like a leaflet. We recommend around the 25ogm as this is a standard flyer thickness. We can offer a thicker or thinner option, contact us. Our flyer options can be seen here.


We recommend between 150gsm and 200gsm. For posters you need to get the right balance. A high-gsm stock isn’t practical as the greater the weight the more likely the poster is to fall down, but if the stock is too low the poster will tear easily.

PVC Banners:

With PVC Banners, we offer 2 types of GSM, as we feel any thinner material would not be good and your banners would last no longer than a month or so in windy conditions. We offer our standard 440gsm and on request we can print 520gsm.

Need more advice on what’s right for your product? At Better Printing we’re always here to help. Just contact our friendly staff today on 01708 200166 or Contact us and they’ll be happy to help!