Understanding Different Types of Paper Grades: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Different Types of Paper Grades A Comprehensive Guide
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Paper grading is a standard system within the packaging and printing industry that categorizes types of paper based on their quality, material, weight, and coating.

For industry professionals, understanding the various paper grades is crucial. It informs decisions about the right type of paper for specific printing jobs and packaging needs, impacting cost, sustainability, and the final product’s appearance. Knowing the difference between a high-grade, glossy paper and a lower-grade, uncoated option can make or break the success of printed materials.

This guide will help you understand different paper grades to ensure your projects meet the desired standards and your clients’ expectations.

Understanding Paper Grading and GSM

Paper Grading

When selecting paper for various projects, understanding the grading and GSM is crucial to making an informed decision. Let’s break down these concepts to help you choose the right paper for your needs.

Explanation of Paper Grading Terminologies

Paper grading refers to the classification of paper based on its quality and specific use. Terms such as ‘bond’, ‘text’, ‘cover’, and ‘index’ signify different types of paper suitable for various applications.

‘Bond’ paper, typically used for letterheads and stationery, is a lower grade, while ‘Text’ paper is higher quality, frequently used for brochures and flyers. ‘Cover’ paper is robust, used for publication covers, and ‘Index’ paper is thick and stiff, suitable for index cards and dividers.

Deep-Dive into the Concept of GSM

GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter and is a metric measurement of paper weight. This number indicates the weight of one square meter of paper, providing a standard measure to compare the thickness or heft of various paper types.

The GSM is a practical guide in assessing paper quality; a higher GSM often signifies a sturdier, more durable paper. For instance, business cards are typically printed on paper with a higher GSM, reflecting a sense of quality and professionalism. In contrast, newspapers are made with lower GSM paper to save cost and facilitate bulk printing.

Breakdown of the Categories in Paper Grading

Paper categories can be broken down by their GSM value. Here’s a quick guide:

  • 35-55 GSM: Extremely lightweight paper, often used for newspapers.
  • 90-100 GSM: Common office paper, suitable for printing and photocopying.
  • 120-140 GSM: Good quality poster paper or brochure paper that stands up to wear.
  • 210-300 GSM: Ideal for premium brochures, heavy flyers, or the covers of a booklet.
  • Over 300 GSM: This category includes thick papers like card stock, perfect for business cards or invitations.

In conclusion, familiarizing yourself with paper grading and GSM helps you select the right paper, taking into account both quality and practical considerations.

Types of Paper Grades Used in Packaging

Kraft Paper

In the realm of packaging, the selection of paper grades plays a pivotal role in determining the product’s protection, presentation, and environmental impact. Various grades of paper are tailored to different packaging needs, each with its characteristics and suitability for certain types of products.

Different Paper Grades Commonly Used in Packaging

Paper used in packaging can range from thin and lightweight tissue papers to thick and robust corrugated fibers. Here’s an introductory look at some of the common types:

  • Kraft Paper: Known for its strength and durability, it’s often used for bags and wrapping. Its high tear resistance makes kraft paper ideal for products that need a bit of extra protection.
  • SBS (Solid Bleached Sulfate): This premium-grade paperboard is coated for smoothness and printability, commonly used in cosmetic packaging and other high-end products.
  • CCNB (Clay Coated News Back): Made from recycled newsprint, it’s an economical choice for less-intensive packaging, like cereal boxes.
  • FBB (Folding Box Board): This is a lower density material with high bending strength, suitable for lighter items that still require a sturdy package.
  • Corrugated Fiberboard: This material is made up of fluted corrugated sheets and one or two flat linerboards. It’s used for shipping boxes and for products requiring cushioning and structural support.

Characteristics of Different Paper Grades

Kraft PaperSolid Bleached Sulfate (SBS)Clay Coated News Back (CCNB)Folding Box Board (FBB) Corrugated Fiberboard
Characteristicshigh elasticity and tear resistancesmooth finish and high-quality printingsmooth printing surfaceLightweightcan be adjusted in terms of thickness and durability
ApplicationsPackaging heavy items, making shopping bags, envelops, and as void fill for shipping boxesPremium packaging (jewellery boxes, food packaging, and pharmaceuticals)Economical packaging for a variety of products m (toys and dry foods)folding cartons, pharmaceutical packaging, and as backing for blister packsShipping containers, protective packaging
BenefitsStrong and durable; can be recycled and is biodegradableHigh-end appearance, good strength and rigidityCost-effective, reasonable strength, and printabilityEasy to cut and form, with good printing propertiesExtremely durable, offers good protection, and is customizable
Potential DrawbacksNot the smoothest for printing, less aesthetic appeal than bleached papers.More expensive, has a larger environmental footprint than recycled optionsNot as durable as virgin paperboard, have a lower-quality feellimited use for heavy itemsless suitable for premium product presentation

These different types of paper grades each have their niche in packaging. Choices are made based on the product needs, the target market, and environmental considerations. 

The Role of Paper Grade in Packaging

custom paper bags

When it comes to packaging, selecting the right paper grade is not just a matter of cost or preference; it significantly influences the aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability of your final product. Understanding the role of paper grade in packaging is essential for businesses looking to present their products effectively and responsibly.

Attractive aesthetics

The paper grade determines the visual and tactile appeal of your packaging. High-grade papers offer a smoother finish and more vibrant print quality, which can make your product stand out on the shelf. In contrast, lower-grade papers may appear dull and can negatively impact consumer perception of the quality of the contents.

Appropriate Function

Functionality is another critical factor impacted by paper grade. Packaging needs to protect its contents, withstand transportation, and be easy to handle. Higher paper grades are generally more durable and resistant to tears or punctures, ensuring that products reach customers intact. Conversely, lower grades might be suitable for lighter items or products that don’t require robust protection.

Sustainable sales

Finally, the sustainability of your packaging hinges on the paper grade you choose. Recycled paper grades can offer an eco-friendly packaging solution, reducing the need for virgin materials and appealing to environmentally conscious consumers. Additionally, higher-grade papers can often be recycled more times than lower-grade options.


paper bags 1

In conclusion, understanding paper grades is crucial for making informed choices about the right retail packaging for your needs. Remember that each grade has its unique properties, from durability to print quality and recyclability. By considering these factors, you can select the most appropriate, cost-effective, and sustainable packaging option. Don’t overlook the importance of paper grades—it’s not just about aesthetics, but also about functionality and environmental impact.

If you still have questions about this, you can contact us, Lipack packaging has a professional team can give you a comprehensive answer and help empower your packaging decisions. Let’s take a step towards smarter, more responsible packaging choices!

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