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Welcome to another Printing 101 blog entry - Weighing in on Paper
If we are going to talk print, let’s start with a vital basic – PAPER.
You’ll find the widest variety of papers available when you are running an offset print project, as the presses have flexibility to handle different thicknesses and coatings. The presses currently used in digital printing have a more limited tolerance for paper options.
There are four criteria used to grade paper - weight (thickness), texture, brightness, opacity and the combinations can become overwhelming. If making a paper selection seems like a daunting task, the easiest solution is to request a suitable “house stock” be used for your project.
The most essential paper specs to note are the paper weight and whether or not the paper has a coating.
Text Weight – used in applications like the interior pages of a book. Typically measured in pounds (lb. or #)
Cover Weight –used in applications like booklet covers, greeting cards. Typically measured in points (pt.)
A list of paper stock recommendations for some commonly run print projects:
80lb text to 100lb text
100 lb text
12pt or 14pt cover
14pt or 16pt cover
80lb text for booklet cover & interior pages
12pt cover weight for booklet cover & 80lb text for interior pages
Any paper weight can have a coating applied during the manufacturing process and it will affect the way that inks are absorbed in printing and therefore how colour comes out. These are coatings that are right on the stock, (not to be confused with the coatings that can be applied on press during the printing process – but that’s another blog topic!)
So which coating to choose is largely a creative decision ;) The three most popular coatings are gloss, matte or uncoated.
Gloss – adds a reflective shine and makes colours pop.
Matte – adds a subtle silky sheen.
Uncoated – no coating is applied. Inks soak in to the paper and give images a softer look.
For the more adventurous print buyer - have a consultation with your Direction Printing Account Rep to discuss the array of paper options and to get samples (always happy to review & share samples!)