The Lowdown on Paper Weights

If you’ve ever bought paper, ordered printed business forms, posters or flyers then you’ve probably been given a choice of lbs.  This can all seem a little bit alien and rather than comparing the weight we might instead be swayed on the best price. But knowing what the different weights mean and the benefit of them can be useful; it can mean more effective promotional materials and office stationery, better engagement and more.

What does higher paper weight mean?

A higher weight is associated with premium quality.  When you give people documents on 20# paper, it’s easier to neglect or throw away; a 120# folder demands more respect and attention.

Choosing the right weight:

Business cards – 100# – 120# and 14 PT – 16 PT best.  If you order business cards in 80# or less they can be flimsy and give off the impression of a low quality product or service.  It is often worth the investment to go for higher lb business cards.

Business cards can be printed glossy or un-coated or coated on one side and not the other.

Brochures & booklets – 80# – 100# is recommended for the outside in glossy finish – you can choose 100# for the inside pages or 70# – 80# to keep a premium outside feel and keep printing costs lower.  Too many thick pages make it harder to lay brochures flat and increase the chance of pages springing open.

Company document folders – minimum 80# – 100#, ideally 10 PT – 12 PT.  Higher weight is recommended to sustain the weight of various proposals, datasheets, invoices etc.

Business stationery – minimum 60# works best for letterheads, forms and documents you’re going to be printing and using regularly.  This range of weights helps to keep costs practical and your stationery functional.  If you would like to project a high-end feel then consider 70 #, 80 # or 100 #.

You can also consider a minimum 30% recycled or up to 100% Recycled weight stock.

Posters – 20# – 100#.  Consider a mid-higher weight to avoid the poster being too flimsy that it can be teared easily, or too heavy that it falls off the wall.

It can be a good idea to ask to drop by a local printer and look at paper samples to get complete idea of what you might expect to receive.  If you would like help creating business stationery, brochures or business cards we are happy to help.