We touch paper products every single day. Without realizing it, we all come to expect certain products to have a specific feel in our hands. Consider the thickness of an invitation or greeting card compared to the pages of a phone book. Although we know on some level what we want a paper product to feel like, it is surprising to many of our customers when they find out how complicated it can be to select a paper that’s right for their project. There are many factors that contribute to the look and feel of a printed piece, but the following details will provide a basic understanding of the most popular paper weights.

Paper Weight Terms

Weight: This is the heaviness of bond or text paper, measured in pounds based on 500 sheets of a particular stock. Each category of stock has it’s own standard sheet size, so a conversion chart is often referenced to compare weights across categories.

Thickness: The thickness or caliper of a single sheet of stock is measured with a micro meter. We typically see this measurement multiplied by ten thousand in the form of points in reference to cover or card stock. A 20pt card stock has a thickness of .020in.

Point (pt): Unit used to measure the thickness of cover stock (card stock) papers.

Pound (lb or #): Unit used to measure the weight of bond or text paper stocks.

Paper Weight Categories & Uses

Text & Bond/Offset

Text and Bond (also known as Offset) are both lighter weight stocks, most common in everyday use. Bond is usually uncoated and Text can be uncoated or have a matte, gloss or other standard coating applied.

Typically used for: letters, documents, flyers, folded brochures, inside pages of booklets and magazines

  • 20lb offset or 50lb text is the standard weight for copy machines.
  • 24lb offset or 60lb text is the standard weight for home and office printers.
  • 28lb offset or 70lb text is the lightest weight recommended for 2-sided printing with minimal see-through.

Cover/Card Stock

Cover weight paper is also known as Card Stock. This is a thicker, stronger, more rigid stock for projects that require more heft and durability.

Typically used for: menus, greeting cards, postcards, business cards

  • 80lb Cover is the standard for business cards.

C1S & C2S

C1S and C2S indicate how many sides are coated. C1S is a stock coated on one side and uncoated on the other side. C2S is coated on both sides.

Typically used for: business cards, pocket folders, greeting cards, postcards, hang tags

  • C1S is perfect for an appointment card, business card or greeting card. The coated side allows you to display a crisp vibrant image and the uncoated side is easy to write on with a pen or pencil.
  • C2S is ideal for postcards; the coating helps prevent scuffing throughout the mailing process.

Factors to Consider for Your Project

Lightweight Stocks:

  • Generally cheaper
  • Easy to fold with clean, sharp edges
  • Less opaque – consider see through factor for a sheet with text printed on both sides

Heavier Stock:

  • Conveys professionalism when used for business cards, invitations and pocket folders
  • Holds up well to heavy printing, die cutting, embossing, debossing and other special effects
  • More costly to ship/mail
  • Requires scoring to achieve clean folds without cracking


No matter how detailed of a paper description you are provided, it is really best to hold a sample of the stock in your hands before selecting a stock for your print project. We have many paper samples on hand and can order specialty paper samples from the mill for clients to review prior to printing. Don’t take chances, contact Adroit Creative Solutions for your next print project and know that you will be well informed of your options.