Why We Measure Our Bespoke Swing Tags in GSM or Microns

There are many ways to measure everything; size, weight and density as well as a myriad of physical and chemical values that can be used. In these cases, we're interested in thickness and density but they're closely related.

Grams Per Square Metre or GSM

You may be familiar with GSM from your office paper. To give you a sense of scale newspapers are about 40 to 50 GSM, standard copier paper is about 80 GSM and a business card would start at about 300 GSM. This refers to the weight in grams per square metre of material.

Technically, GSM is a measure of density but since it’s measured against the standard of a single square metre, and paper/cardboard has a fairly standard density the effect is to measure thickness which leads us on to microns.


Microns are a measure of distance - a very small distance, in fact, 1 micron is equal to a thousandth of a millimeter or a millionth of a meter, so pretty small, it takes 20 of them to make the finest human hair.

GSM vs Microns

Photo: A Micrometer to Measure Micrometres or Microns

The correct term is actually micrometre or μm but the use of the word micron lingers in certain industries like stationery and printing.

Compare the Two

For paper and card, it turns out that these two measurements can be pretty similar, for example 80 GSM paper is 100 microns and our standard coloured board is 300 GSM and 380 microns.

It will vary from material to material though, for example our brown kraft swing tags appear lightweight at 259 GSM but are a whopping 457 microns. These measurements tell you, this material is lightweight but offers good thickness.

Please note, old habits die hard in the printing industry, resulting in materials being displayed in GSM, microns or both.

Which material best suits your swing tags purpose?

To get a proper feel for the full range of tags we offer, take advantage of our free sample pack delivered and see for yourself.

So if you want to get designing, first choose a material below, select your options and then Design it Yourself!