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Why Does Paper Stock Matter?

All About Paper Stock, Sizing and More

Why does paper stock matter?

Selecting the proper stock of paper is critical for getting a finished product looking the way you envisioned it or performing to the specifications you would like. The paper you choose is the equivalent of the first impression of your print item.

Though it is generally subconscious, the first thing anyone notices about any printed material is paper stock. Before a word is read or a page is turned, one will hold the material between their fingertips and acknowledge the texture and quality of the paper stock. In this post, we will walk you through the steps you should take to choose what type of paper is best for your specific project.

What is coated paper?

Coated paper stock doesn’t absorb inks as much as an uncoated stock. When the inks aren’t absorbed, they stay on the top of the paper, thus looking more glossy. This makes the images, type and photographs look sharper.

There are different types of top coating such as matt or gloss coating that each have specific applications. These would include Matt or Gloss Lamination and UV Varnishing.

What is uncoated paper?

Uncoated paper is what is commonly bought and used in a home printer. The surface of uncoated stock is very porous and rough. This porous texture is what makes it able to hold ink, paint, or other writing reliably. The only slight downfall here is the ability for colour replication or saturation. Since uncoated paper is so efficient at holding on to ink, colours tend to appear a little duller, and the spectrum of colour becomes more limited. Alternatively, a coated stock does less absorbing of colour, so it sits nicely on the surface and makes the colours more vibrant and bright. A side by side comparison of coated and uncoated paper is very apparent for this reason.

Step 1: Interact with Paper Samples

The first step is to explore all your options. We recommend interacting with samples to better understand all the different variations that are available.

If you need to make a decision urgently, there are three choices you need to make to determine which type of paper is best for your project. These choices pertain to finish, thickness, and lamination. Read on to learn more about the different options:

Step 2: Choose the finish

There are two primary stock finishes in the printing industry: coated and uncoated. Most, if not all, paper stock begins as uncoated, and from there coating can be added. The simplest way to describe the difference is that uncoated is ideal for being able to be written on, whereas coated paper is usually not suitable to take ink or writing of any kind. They are noticeably different and thus have different applications.

Step 3: Choose the thickness

Thickness is important because it will affect the possibility of show-through. This is when you hold a piece of paper up and can see the design on the opposing side through it.

For colour rich or photo-heavy documents, a thicker paper stock would be recommended. For things like letterheads, newspapers, or simple marketing flyers it’s okay to choose the lighter paperweight.

Paper thickness, or paper weight, is sometimes difficult to understand because different printers use different forms of measurements and different paper houses produce different densities.

If you see “g” this stand for grams and is based on the metric form of paper weight, GSM.

Step 4: Choose Lamination or UV Varnish

Lamination or UV Varnish is an additional coating.

Lamination is an added layer of plastic film which allows for the protection and stability of the paper over time. If you are looking to have your item stand out regarding texture, you can achieve it by adding a Spot Varnish or Textured Varnish.

UV Varnishing or Coating is a tough clear-coat applied over printed matter. It is applied in liquid form, then exposed to Ultra-Violet (UV) light which bonds and dries it instantly.

Paper Sizing

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