How to choose the right paper for your flyer

By The LDN Team | 15 November 2016
How to choose the right paper for your flyer
When creating any piece of print marketing, especially letterbox advertising, choosing the right paper is critical. Here, we explain how to get it right. 

Advertising is all about the right message, right time, right place. But for a letterbox campaign, you have an additional factor to consider: right paper. 

The paper you choose will impact on your brand image – poor quality might cheapen your brand, while thicker stock can feel more premium. 

Paper also creates the tactile element of your campaign – how will the flyer feel when the recipient holds it? Should it feel luxurious? Solid? Traditional?

Finally, your paper also needs to be practical for the purpose of your campaign. Some types of paper can be folded easier than others and can achieve different printing effects. 

There are two main things to consider when choosing your paper:

Paper density (GSM)

Paper density refers to the weight (or “stock”) of the paper and is measured in GSM (grams per square metre). The higher the GSM, the thicker and heavier the paper. This can give a more premium, professional feel to the campaign, but the trade-off is that it won’t be practical for every type of letterbox flyer. 

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Here’s a quick guide to GSM:

  • 35-55gsm is very thin and typically used for newspapers and low-cost catalogues that you wouldn’t expect to last long.   
  • 115-150gsm is a lightweight stock and the most popular choice for flyers. It’s a good option for cost-effective, short life flyers. At the top end of the scale, 150gsm is ideal for double-sided flyers, brochures, pamphlets and booklets. 
  • 200-250gsm is more premium stock that feels more like a card. It’s robust enough to give some stiffness when used for printing flyers and brochures, but not quite heavy enough to create the feeling of strong card. 
  • 300gsm is the weight used for greeting cards and postcards. 
  • 350gsm is much thicker stock, as used for most business cards. It’s extremely strong and rigid, so while it isn’t good for folded flyers, you can expect it to last longer. 

Paper finish

Once you’ve decided on the paper weight, consider the finish. These days there are lots of fancy finishes around, but the most common are gloss, matte and silk. 

The paper finish says a lot about your brand. While gloss can appear more premium and luxurious than unfinished paper, it may be unecessary for a charity, for example. Consider the brand image you want to portray.  

If you choose to leave the uncoated paper, it will have a more natural, rough feel to it – perfect for brands wishing to promote a ‘green’ ethos. 

Paper sizes

Everyone knows A4, but try and visualise an A5 sheet folded in a gatefold and you may come up against difficulties (Confused? Check out this article on paper folding). 

In case you have a ruler handy, here’s a quick guide to the most common paper dimensions:
  • A4 297 x 210mm
  • A5 210 x 148mm
  • DL 210 x 99mm
  • A6 148 x 105mm
When deciding on your paper size, think about the finished look you are after. You might want an A5 to be folded to A6, or A4 to DL. 

And finally

Always start by visualising what you want your final letterbox flyer to look like. Then, work back to how the paper will help you achieve this. What functions and qualities does the paper need to have? If you’re unsure or need advice, speak to LDN. We have been creating letterbox campaigns for years, so we know which paper works best for different scenarios and budgets. 

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