Terminology

The Paper Language

To the average business person, card stock paper varies from firm to flimsy. This translates to a host of paper weights and measures, of which you may need to know a little, or a lot. Here are some basics:

Terminology
The world of paper has its own set of language, but we only need to identify a few common terms surrounding our goal to create the perfect professional business card.

Bond Paper — Paper with rag content that was originally used for bonds and bank notes, often used for documents, letters, and general printing. This is the stuff we usually by in 500-sheet reams, measured in pounds. Bond paper is also called text weight paper.
Cover Paper — Heavier card stock paper generally used for business cards, greeting cards, covers, menus, and postcards, etc. Cover paper is also called card weight paper, or card stock.
Finishing — A texture that is applied to the business card, usually matte or glossy, in a range of varying textures (metallic, antique, etc.) and colors.
Point — A point (pt) is used to indicate the thickness of cover (card stock) papers. Common point sizes are written as 8 pt, 10 pt, 12 pt, and 14 pt paper. The higher the pt value, the thicker the paper. A point—or pt—equals .001 inch.
Thickness — The thickness of paper is measured in points (pts), the thickness of a sheet in thousandths of an inch. Card stock thicknesses generally range from 8-14 pts (8-11 pts flimsy, 12-14 pts firm).
Weight — Weight is the term used to measure the heaviness of paper in pounds, and based on grams per square meter. Weights range from 20 to 80 pounds for bond paper and 50 to 140 pounds for card stock. In terms of grams per square meter (gsm), the range is usually from 60 gsm to 150gsm.

Paper Weights and Measures

The difference between firm and flimsy is all in the paper and the printing. When ordering, ensure the card stock paper the company uses is firm and of a specific weight and thickness. Beware of discounted business card offers, since often these offers result in flimsy and lower quality business cards. Since paper weight and thickness are not always options selected during the ordering process, you may be in for a surprise when your business cards arrive.

Explaining Paper Thickness vs. Weight

Cover/Card Stock varies in thickness and weight. For example, a 10 pt card is 0.010 inches (0.254 mm) thick (roughly corresponding to a weight of 250 grams per square meter);

10 pt. Cardstock

  • The lightest and most flexible option
  • Recommended for handing out in store or at specialized events 
10pt thickness

14 pt. Cardstock

  • The standard material used for other thick promotional products such as business cards
  • Sturdy enough to handle high-quality double-sided printing & multiple handling 
14pt thickness

16 pt. Cardstock

  • Additional durability gives an upscale feel
16pt thickness
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