Which Paper to Use for Printing

Once you’ve created the perfect design for your business card, postcard, or brochure, the next thing to think about is choosing the perfect paper that will work well for your design. 

Selecting the right paper requires having the proper sense of touch and sight. These days, papers have been optimized and engineered for several kinds of use. For instance, the paper you use for the copier in your office differs from the sheet you use for printing photographs or wedding invites. However, because of how overlapping most paper types are, you must know the different types of papers for printing to save money and get the best results. 

This article will help you identify what paper to use for printing free business cards online and other print materials, as you will find essential factors that can help you consider the right look, feel, paper thickness, brightness, finish, and cost of the print.

The first thing to know before you select a paper for your project is to know the two major categories of paper, which are gloss coated and uncoated. The gloss-coated papers are your best choice if you want a paper that will make the color pop. The gloss-uncoated paper has mute colors. You should also know that the default and the cheapest paper weight is 14pt, especially for card products and non-brochure orders. 

Weight of Paper 

When it comes to paper weight, the heavy ones always work best. Why? It makes the paper stock feel sturdier, conveys better quality, and is less susceptible to wrinkling. 

For clarity, weight is used to describe how thin the paper is, which is useful in referring to text paper, and thickness is used to describe how thick the paper is, which is useful for card stocks. Plastic papers are measured in “mil,” which can also be referred to as “points.” 

Before you choose your paperweight, you must ask questions like:

  • Do you need to fold the paper? 
  • Are you using it for internal communication or printing materials for marketing? 
  • Are you using many graphics and colors? 
  • Does your project have many pages or a few pages? 

Text weights 

Bond weightOffset/Book weightPoints
24lb Bond60# text5pt
28lb Bond70# text6pt
40lb Bond100# text7pt

Cardstock Paper Charts

Thickness (inches)Cover WeightPoints

Opacity of paper

The paper opacity is the transparency quality of the paper sheet. This quality is crucial because it will help you understand the degree to which graphics will show on the overside of the paper. For instance, papers like translucent vellum are transparent and often layered on top of other papers to create an artistic effect. 

 Brightness of paper

Another essential thing to note about your paper is its brightness. The paper shade, whiteness, and brightness impact the appearance of your print materials. The paper brightness measures the reflectance of blue light wavelengths on a scale of 0 to 100. The 100 is the brightest to the eyes. 

The white paper shade also determines the color of the paper; some papers look like cream while others look like a hint of blue; the blue shade appears to be the brightest color of white. 

Coated or uncoated

The coated vs uncoated paper finish determines the paper’s texture, durability, and feel. The coated paper has a light layer of clay that makes the images and details appear to sharpen, with finishing that ranges from high gloss to matte. Some projects require that you use crisp colors and pictures, while others need the project to be moisture-resistant and durable.

Coated Paper 

The coated paper, in simple terms, will make the colors pop and stand out better. When you want to make this selection, you can often select between the standard and hi-gloss. The standard finish has a light sheen, while the hi-gloss offers a better enhancement. 

Another advantage of gloss-coated paper is that it is protected by a coating, making it able to withstand wear and tear. However, it can be difficult to write on them versus on uncoated paper. 

Uncoated Paper 

Uncoated paper is smooth and uncoated paper stock. Uncoated papers have their colors in mute and dull format because they absorb more ink.

The advantage of using uncoated papers is that they are easy to write on. However, they are susceptible to wear and tear and scuffing if there is heavy ink coverage. 

Coated vs Uncoated Paper

Coated paper is used for: 

  • Postcards 
  • Brochures 
  • Product catalogs, or magazines.

On the other hand, uncoated paper is used for: 

  • Flyers 
  • Newsletters 
  • Envelopes, and stationery. 

Select paper stock

Now that you know more about papers, you can use what you know to pick the perfect paper stock for your project. 

Paper TypeAdvantage Disadvantage
Gloss paperis protected by a coating, which can withstand wear and tear.It is difficult to write on.
Uncoated paperIt is easy to write onIt is prone to wear and tear. 
Gloss 1-sided paperIt is good if you want paper with a coating on one side.
Silk/Matte-coated paper It has a protective coatingFine-tipped pens may smudge on it.
White Linen paperIt is a fine paper for the professional environmentThe linen can not take full ink coverage.
Metallic Pearlescent PaperIt is perfect for artwork because of its pearly sheen.It is not suitable for direct mailing or postage.
Plastic paperIt is waterproof and tear proof. It is perfect for event badges and restaurant menus.Inks dry on it because of its synthetic materials. 
Uncoated with soft-touch paperIt has a tactile and friction feel and it is perfect for artwork.It has a heavy ink coverage that can mute the soft touch effect.
Brown Kraft paperIt has a nice earthy look and feel.It is not great for heavy and dark ink coverage. 

In conclusion

Printing is tricky, especially when the onus to decide the paper type is upon you. However, it is not impossible because if you have the correct information, you can make the best print materials for marketing your business or other communication forms. 

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