guidelines for print
Choosing Paper Stock & Weight.
Your guide to choosing the right paper stock & weight.
Selecting a Paper Stock.
Generally paper falls into one of three categories – uncoated, coated silk or coated gloss.
Each type has different properties that affect its suitability and overall presentation. Depending on your job you will most likely have a choice, however each type will produce different results.
- Uncoated (including bond which is used for the standard home or office copier) is paper in its most natural form. As the name suggests, it has no coating so is noticeably rougher than a silk or gloss option.
Premium quality, specialty uncoated papers including eco-friendly options, are often selected for invitations, stationery and high-quality brochures because of their contemporary appearance and texture and are frequently favoured by graphic designers.
Note: In general images tend not to be as colourful or sharp when printed on an uncoated stock so if image quality is important, consider an alternative option.
- Coated silk paper (also commonly referred to as satin) has a light coating of china clay that gives it a smooth finish and improves its opacity and colour absorption properties.
It is not as highly compressed as gloss paper and does not have the same highly reflective appearance however it is still an excellent choice for artwork containing images to ensure they look vibrant.
Note: Not all paper manufacturers apply the same amount of clay, so dfifferent silk papers can have differing properties. You should take this into consideration if you are trying to colour match an existing job.
- Coated gloss paper has a heavier coating of china clay giving it a very smooth and reflective effect. Gloss is ideal for flyers, posters and retail brochures and produces the best colour image results.
Note: Different levels of coating are applied to individual brands, resulting in papers that have differing densities and folding properties.
Selecting the correct paper stock is important. If in doubt, please ask to see a sample before you print or request a hard copy proof.
Choosing a Paper Weight.
Paper weight is measured by the number of grams per square metre (gsm) which refers to the area of paper that remains constant, irrespective of sheet size.
Choosing the right paper weight is important however weight of paper shouldn’t be confused with the thickness of paper.
Although two papers may be classified as having the same gsm, if one is a vellum, textured or parchment style which has more air and bulk, it will look and feel completely different to a plainer paper stock of the same weight.
Each paper supplier has a large range of both standard and specialty stocks, allowing you to choose the right weight and thickness for your printing purpose.
There are many paper weight options that deliver a great result however there are a few standards recommendations which are generally used throughout the printing industry:
- Flyers – 128 or 150gsm gloss
- Business cards – 310 or 400gsm artboard
- Letterhead – 80, 90 or 100gsm bond
- Posters – 200gsm gloss or silk.
- If you are printing brochures that require folding, your brochure may have to be scored as well as folded if you select to print on a heavier weight stock.
- If you are inserting various items into envelopes for a direct mail campaign, your mailout may require insertion by hand or cost more in postage if you choose a heavier stock.
- It is also possible for paper of the same advertised weight to have a different feel and appearance depending on the supplier. Formulas can vary slightly, resulting in unique paper handling properties.
You should take this into consideration if you are trying to match an existing print job.
To determine which paper weight is correct for your print job, we recommend you contact one of our qualified print specialists, to discuss your options before placing your order.
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