Paper Terms


Paper weights can be very confusing.  We would like to offer a  general understanding of paper weights below.  This is not technical, but we will associate common weights with everyday items you may come in contact with.

At the Service Bureau we deal with two common weights, “TEXT WEIGHT” and “COVER/CARDSTOCK WEIGHT“.

These two identifiers are probably the most important factors when you are purchasing a sheet of paper for your project.

Text weight comes in varying weights, but will have a touch like a ‘letterhead’ paper and will be lighter in feel.

Cover weight (Card Weight / Cardstock) comes in varying weights, but will have a touch like your ‘business card’ or ‘post card’.  Keeping these things in mind, we will list some common weights below.

Text Weight:
20lb Text – typically used as all-purpose paper, for copying machines, paper, screenplays, zines.
24/60lb Text – typically used for laser/ink printing and letterheads, flyers, small posters.
28/70lb Text- typically used for letterhead and other important documents, flyers, book interiors.
80lb Text – a bit heavier than letterhead paper and the weights continue to go up….but this is still ‘text weight’ paper….don’t let the similar weights confuse you with cardstock. Great for Perfect Bound books, posters, zines.

100lb Text-

Cover Weight:
65lb Cover – typically used as light weight business cards, greeting cards, post cards, etc.
90lb Index – typically used as light weight business cards, door hangers, post cards, etc.
80lb Cover – typically used for business cards, etc.
100lb Cover – etc.

(and the weights continue to go up, please see table above with additional comparison by using grammage)
Hopefully by now this is starting to make sense.

**Very important example, 80LB is listed in our text category and our cover category, but they are completely different paper. **


Paper types can be separated into two main categories: uncoated and coated stocks.

Uncoated stocks:

Uncoated stock is paper that has no coated pigment applied to reduce the absorbency or increase the smoothness. The uncoated finishes can be described as vellum, antique, wove or smooth.

Coated stocks:

A coated stock has a surface coating that has been applied to make the surface more receptive for the reproduction of text and images in order to achieve sharper detail and improved color density.  Coated paper finishes can be categorized as matte, dull, cast, gloss, and high gloss. The coating can be on both sides of the stock (coated two sides, “C2S”) or on one side only (coated one side, “C1S”).