Does Paper Choice Really Matter?

CCL DesignsWhen your designer creates the perfect marketing piece, you want to make sure when the final piece looks just as good (or better) than what you saw onscreen. Enter paper! For purposes of this post, presume we are talking about offset printing (for those who are unaware, offset printing is printing on a press).

Paper. There are so many difference facets to it. Today, let’s talk about weight, grain, and finish. Let’s try to break these down a little.

Weight of a paper is the thickness of the paper. Is your marketing piece going through the mail? If so, will it be in an envelope or is it a self-mailer? If it’s a self mailer, you’ll want some rigidity to the paper. If the piece is a booklet, you’ll want your outside cover to be thicker than the inside. There are ‘common’ weights: 20#, 24#, and 28#. Remember, you have to meet specific US postal regulations, also!

Grain of a paper is defined by the direction the fibers of the paper lie. Paper is either grain short (grain is parallel to paper’s short side) or grain long (grain is parallel to the paper’s long side). Take into consideration if the piece will fold. If it folds, you’ll want to consider the grain as you don’t want the piece to crack when it’s being scored for folding.

Finish is defined by the paper’s coating: coated or uncoated. If paper is coated, the surface has a sealant. This sealant changes how the ink absorbs into the paper. The ink ‘sits’ on the paper to dry, instead of sinking in. Coated paper can give a more clearly define and glossy end result. If you need to write on the piece, however, don’t use coated paper. It is difficult to write on. There are different types of coated paper: gloss, silk, and dull (to name a few).

With uncoated paper, the ink sinks into the paper. When selecting an uncoated paper stock, remember when the ink sinks into the paper, the papers’ color can alter the ink color. Be careful! There are different types of uncoated paper: smooth, linen, and laid.

There are many, many more factors to consider when selecting the perfect paper to represent your marketing piece. We barely dipped in our toes! When in doubt, talk to a paper expert to help you decide.