The Printing industry has a language all its own for paper – that is why paper weight can be puzzling.
Let’s break it down… there are two “weight classes” of paper: Text Weight (also called Book) and Cover Weight. Paper weight refers to the thickness and stiffness of the paper. The term “Weight” comes into play as commercial printers measure the weight of 500 parent sheets. The size of the parent sheet from the mill can vary for each type of paper. As an example, 20# bond has a 17’’ x 22’’ parent sheet size, and if you weigh 500 sheets it will weigh 20 pounds. 65# offset has a 26’’ x 40’’ parent sheet size, and 500 sheets weighs 65 pounds.
Determining the best paper for your project can be confusing because a number of various types of paper have equal weights, yet their designations make them sound very different. For instance, 20# bond is an equivalent weight to 50# offset. The 50# sounds as if it should be heavier and thicker, but offset paper has a much larger parent size than its bond counterpart, which is why its weight designation only sounds heavier. In reality, the thickness of these two sheets is nearly identical.
Text is lightweight paper that is used for materials such as: flyers, letterhead, envelopes, brochures, and magazines.