What Does GSM Mean?

When you start investigating wedding (or any) stationery, the term GSM is going to come up a lot when you start talking paper or card stock.

So, what is GSM? I’m glad you asked.

GSM stands for Grams Per Square Metre and refers to the substance weight of paper.

As a rule, the higher the GSM, the thicker the paper – however with so many different kinds of paper and card stock available these days, this isn’t always the case, as explained in this extract from an article on paperweight and GSM from www.theprintgroup.com.au –

“One of our paper supplier KW Doggetts explains, “Many people often confuse the weight of paper with the thickness. Two papers may both weigh 120gsm, but one may be a thick vellum style of paper containing air and bulk, whilst another may be highly calendered and tightly packed. Both are classified as 120gsm but feel and look completely different”

Confused yet?

As a starting point and comparison, though, standard printer paper is normally around 80 GSM, and your standard business cards are around 400 GSM.

So if you keep that comparison in mind when the stationery website tells you something is printed on ‘250 GSM gloss paper’, you’ll have a fair idea of what you’ll be getting.

Descriptions can only take us so far, though, and I think the best way to really understand the differences in paper types and weights and pin down what you want is to look at and touch real, live paper.

I would recommend wandering into Officeworks, or an art supply shop and checking out the paper stock they have on offer, and simply have a look and a feel. The packet or label (or sales assistant) will tell you the GSM and type of paper (vellum, linen etc) it is. The staff at art supply shops are particularly helpful here (I like @eckersleys, myself).

It is also helpful to note that many online stationery sites will happily send you a sample pack for little, if any, cost. That is an option I would definitely recommend.

Happy paper hunting,

Tracey XX

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