We all want to do more for the environment, and reducing paper is one way of doing that. But we all still use paper at work for certain tasks, and it’s perhaps not realistic to think that that will change any time soon.

After all, printed materials are typically easier to read, allowing you to read for longer, while paper gives your eyes a screen break. For proofreading, for example, or if you want to get your head around a particular document, or you need to read something on the move and won’t have access to email, you’ll prefer a printed version.

Here’s a quick guide to the various types of office paper:

  • Recycled paper

This does what it says on the tin, recycled paper, with content comprising between 60% and 100% of recycled paper pulp.

  • Matte or gloss-coated?

These are the two main paper finishes. With its high shine, gloss paper works well for flyers and leaflets, since it enhances colours. Meanwhile matte paper is more muted surface refracts light evenly and subtly so there’s less glare. There’s also a textured, soft, feel to this stuff.

It’s easier to write on and read from, and you can use it to create books and other documents which are heavy on words.

  • Silk-coated paper

Silk paper is great to print on, and offers a sort of compromise between matt and gloss-coated paper. You get the glossy stuff’s smooth feel but without the shine, and it’s made by binding silk fibres together. In a nutshell, there’s a quality feel with no glare.

You could also consider a satiny or velvety finish to your paper.

  • Bond paper

This is uncoated paper and it’s versatile in terms of which printers you can use it with. However, it can be vulnerable to some types of damage, including scuffs, stains and tears.

Indeed, uncoated paper is the sort usually found in printers in offices, plus it’s ideal in terms of absorbency and ink use. (It’s also sustainable and recyclable.)

  • Carbon-balanced paper

Carbon-balanced paper is assessed for the amount of carbon which has been created in its production and transportation, allowing organisations to have a better handle on the environmental impact of their printed media.

Paper weights

The typical measure of paper weight is grams per square metre (gsm), i.e. how much a single square metre of it weighs. (So thicker, heavier products will have a higher gsm.)

Here’s a quick guide to some of the different weights:

  • 90gsm – This is usually uncoated, and good for large amounts of text, including books, headed paper and documents.
  • 130gsm – Works well with a matt or gloss finish and ideal for posters, brochures, flyers and magazines.
  • 170gsm – A thin paperboard generally used in catalogues, presentations, posters and certificates.
  • 350gsm – Good for business and invitations cards and covers as it’s a semi-rigid paperboard.
  • 350gsm – One of the heaviest paper varieties, for covers, product tags, folders and packaging.

Paper sizes

The ISO216 international standard sets out the dimensions of paper ‘A’ sizes, and we’ve used this system in the UK for more than two centuries. Sizes A3-6 are the most common sizes for completed printed documents.

Here are some of the popular paper sizes:

AO: 841x1189mm

A1: 594x841mm

A2: 420x594mm

A3: 297x420mm

A4: 210x297mm

A5: 148x210mm

A6: 105×148mm

A7: 74x105mm

A8: 52x74mm

Paper supplies from Octopus

At Octopus Office, we supply stationery across the north-west – and we’re very aware of the importance of quality paper to whatever you’re printing out.

Order paper from our website; we deliver across our region with our own vehicles or use third-party services for reliable next-day delivery UK-wide. Alternatively, pick up your paper order from our trade counter in Stockport.

We have paper for many uses in sizes A0 – A5 for everything from desktop printers to large-format machines printing huge rolls. Browse the range, and give us a call if you need any more information.

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