Printing provides a sensory experience. Print media allow for more personal interaction between businesses and their consumers. The particulars, the physical properties of the paper, are crucial to the occasion. The appearance and feel of the paper may tell your audience a lot about your brand even before they see the words on it, which is why it’s just as important as the colors you choose.
You may improve your brand’s image with suitable paper material. And yet, it is also capable of the inverse. Several aspects affect how a piece of paper is experienced, and one of them is its foundation weight or basis. Therefore, publishers must have a firm grasp of the concept of the paper base. In the States, we use the pound as our standard for measuring paper base weight. The foundation weight of a sheet of paper is its weight in a complete, uncut ream of the actual specified size. If you order 500 sheets of letter-size paper (25″ x 38″) from a printer, the total weight of your order will be 60 pounds (#60) since each page weighs a certain amount. However, it’s important to note that different types of paper have different standard sizes; thus, a text weight of 60# is not the same as a cover weight of 60#. Cover stock often comes in at 20″ by 26″, whereas bond stock is more commonly 17″ by 22″.
Paper designations in other countries sometimes utilize the metric system, which determines basis weights in terms of the mass of one square meter, measured in grams (GSM). Look at the table below to get a basic idea of how the conversion between metric and US base weights works.
Paper conversion chart
You must be familiar with paper thickness in addition to paper weight to get the complete picture of a paper weight conversion chart. Many elements, including the paper’s finish and base, affect its viscosity or caliper. To put it another way, the uncoated paper will be thicker than coated paper of the same weight at a certain essential weight. Therefore, a 60# uncoated offset will generally be thicker than a 60# gloss-coated sheet. In addition, using the standard unit of measure (recall the 25″ x 38″ 500-sheet ream we discussed before), the stack of offset sheets would look taller but weigh the same (60 pounds) when placed next to the other pile.
Pages per inch (PPI) is a standard measurement of paper thickness. Point or pt can also be used to indicate thickness. One point is equal to 1/1000 of an inch, which cannot be confused with font size. A 7-point or 8-point stock, for instance, will be.07 or.08 inches thick. When discussing mail, thickness or point measurement is usually the most significant. For example, the United States Postal Service has a required point size for postcards.
Various Paper Forms
Given that different paper types have different basis weights, it’s helpful to be familiar with the most common ones.
- Paper, whether coated or uncoated, is referred to as “text” or “book” paper. It may be used for various books, periodicals, catalogs, and workbooks. Paperweights for texts range from 20# to 100# and even higher.
- Cover stock, a thicker, plain, weight paper, is used for book covers and business cards. It is generally wider than text stock and comes in different finishes. Covers often use their 65#, 80#, or 100# basis weights.
- Bond: An uncoated stock less prevalent in the printing industry. Stationery, forms, and other specialized applications (such as writing) frequently use this product. It is the standard foundation weight for reams of paper used in offices, copiers, and homes. Cotton is sometimes added to the stock. The most frequent price range for the bond stock is between 20 and 32.
- The index is an uncoated paper similar to a Bond. A stiff form like this is used for things like tags, which require sturdier, more durable paper but still need to look nice. The price range for index stock is between $110 and $140.
Paper Weight: The Three Most Important Factors
When choosing a substance for the paper, the basis weight is not the most important consideration. The weight of the paper’s foundation, on the other hand, can and should factor into your decision. While looking through the various varieties of paper, keep these three considerations in mind.
- Sometimes lighter stocks are preferable. Consider using heavier stocks to add gravitas and prestige to your printed materials. Many projects opt to include a cover with their shipped item since the thicker paper is more durable. More stagnant stocks are the way to go when it comes to elaborate embellishments like embossing, debossing, die cutting, and foil stamping. It’s only sometimes the case that heavier paper is preferable; heavier paper might limit your manufacturing possibilities, increasing your expenses relative to lighter documents of the same base weight.
- Sometimes lighter stocks are the most economical option. For the same size sheet, a lower basis weight stock will often cost less than a heavier one. Using more lightweight sheets may achieve a better page yield with less material. Take into account the purpose of your article and the impression you want to leave on your readers. What overall effect does the whole sum of the product’s finish, opacity, caliper, weight, and color have on the buyer?
- Strive for harmony as your priority. You will only require heavy or light paper depending on the specific aspects of the project you are working on. When selecting the appropriate paper for your needs, you must balance the following factors: pricing, binding, finish, ultimate purpose, and production capabilities.
In conclusion, the base weight of the paper is just one of several considerations. Your printer’s method of operation can also have an effect; for example, web presses can’t handle heavier paper, while some thinner sheets can’t be printed on more severe machinery. Working with a printer who can explain the advantages and disadvantages of different stocks in relation to their printing machinery is crucial.