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Help With Paper Types


Published time: 2014-07-15 09:30

Choosing the “right” paper type is one of the more difficult aspects of preparing a print. Paper comes in different textures (finishings), different types, different weights, and even different colors. In this section, we hope to help answer some of the basic paper questions that most people have.

It is tempting to choose the paper by weight, but we find that it makes the decision-making more difficult for our clients, if they start with weight. This is due to the fact that paper weights do not mean the same thing across different paper types.

The different paper types (text papers and cover papers) are named and weighed differently because they reflect different methods of manufacturing the paper, and different usages.

Useful Paper Definitions

Paper Types (ex. Cover, Text, Bond, Index): Paper types classify the purpose of the paper. For example, cover paper (i.e. cardstock) is generally used for book covers, postcards, etc. Text weight paper is generally used for copies, and for the inside of books

Paper Finishings (ex. Gloss, Matte, Uncoated): Paper finishings refers to the coating that is applied to your paper, which impacts how much your paper will reflect light.

Paper Weights (ex. 20lb, 24lb, 80lb, 100lb): Paper weights indicate how dense your paper is. Generally speaking: the thicker your paper the more professional it feels.

Our Step-by-Step Paper Guide

We’ve written a step-by-step paper guide to help you choose your paper. We recommend taking the following steps:

  • Choose the best paper type by the kind of print job
  • Think about whether you want a cardstock paper weight, or a non-cardstock paper weight
  • Choose a paper coating—glossy (coated), matte (coated), or uncoated
  • You choose your numbered paper weight (i.e. the “basis weight”) LAST