We all use paper every day but how often do we really pay attention to the different paper sizes and weights that are available? The answer is probably not often – but, if you’re buying paper for your business, you need to understand the options, and choose carefully.
A guide to paper sizes
While A4 is the most commonly used size of paper, followed by A3 and A5, there are plenty of other standard sizes in use too.
A0 – 118.9 x 84.1cm
Uses: technical drawing, banners, displays
A1 – 84.1 x 59.4cm
Uses: large posters, displays, flipcharts
A2 – 59.4 x 42cm
Uses: calendars, posters, folded leaflets
A3 – 42 x 29.7cm
Uses: posters, drawings, charts, artwork, certificates
A4 – 29.7 x 21cm
Uses: letters, magazines, forms, brochures, menus
A5 – 21 x 14.8cm
Uses: booklets, flyers, notebooks, greeting cards
A6 – 14.8 x 10.5cm
Uses: postcards, pocketbooks, invitations
A7 – 10.5 x 7.4cm
Uses: post-it notes, tickets
A8 – 7.4 x 5.2 cm
Uses: business cards, labels, bank cards
A guide to paper weight
Paper weight is measured in grams per square metre (GSM), and is sometimes referred to as grammage. While it is not a measure of paper thickness, the higher the GSM the heavier and thicker the paper will be. Paper weights vary hugely, so it’s important that you select the right GSM for the intended use.
30-60gsm – the lightest papers in use, this is translucent to semi-translucent and used for tracing paper, invoice and carbon copy pads and some newsprint.
70-90gsm – standard office and printer paper falls into this category, with 75gsm and 80gsm the most common weight.
100gsm – a commonly used weight of paper, ideal for business stationery such as letterheads and compliment slips, as well as some printed flyers and brochures.
120-150gsm – noticeably heavier and higher in quality, this paper weight is commonly used for leaflets, brochures and promotional posters.
150-200gsm – this is the point where paper starts to become card, and has a more luxurious feel to it. It’s usually used for high quality promotional materials.
200-300gsm – light cardstock which is stiffer than paper but still bendable. Often used for art, or book covers.
300-400gsm – a thick, high-quality card used for business cards, luxury postcards and invitations.