Choosing the right paper stock
1. Coated vs uncoated
As the name suggests, coated paper is coated with a surface sealant. These come in many different styles, the main types of which are gloss and silk.
Uncoated has nothing covering the natural fibres and easily soaks up print. It can be textured or it can be smooth, like printer or copy paper. Uncoated paper is the easiest to write on.
Gloss is the high shine finish you’d expect from photo prints.
Silk has a non-glossy finish with a slight sheen. It’s the sort of thing you’ll see in brochures.
UV coating uses ultraviolet light to quickly dry the coating, hardening it to a brilliant shine. UV coating is not a good idea for a piece that will be folded, scored, foil stamped or embossed as it can crack. Spot UV is applied in small areas, termed spot UV, creating high shine highlights on your piece, such as the paint swatches within a premium car brochure.
Soft-touch makes your print feel velvety smooth. It is great on business cards or other pieces that will be held. It also gives a warm look to photography.
2. Environmentally friendly
There are many ways to make your print more sustainable, from natural fibres to recycled stock to the use of vegetable-based inks.
3. Indoor or outdoor?
If your print will be exposed to the elements, it’s important to use a weatherproof stock.
Paper weights are given in GSM, meaning grams per square metre. The higher the GSM, the heavier the paper stock. Below are some typical uses of different paper weights.
80 to 100gsm is sometimes called laser, this is the standard weight for basic stationery. Do you struggle with whether you should spell it stationery or stationary? Remember the e in stationery is for envelope!
100 to 120gsm is used for brochure inner pages – is your print going to be posted? If so, remember to consider the weight will affect the postage price too.
150 to 170gsm is used for promotional posters or leaflets. Does your job need folding? Anything above 170gsm will need creasing before it can be folded which adds to the price.
250 to 280gsm is for premium leaflets and posters.
300 to 400gsm is postcard or greetings card weight. Is your item going to be die-cut? If you’re going with an intricate cut, usually a thicker paper will show finer details better.
600gsm is a very heavy card, this could work for premium business cards. You can achieve weights of over 1000gsm by gluing more than one piece of card together. Using this process, you can create unique business cards with layered looks.
For more advice on paper stock, contact an expert printer like Inspired Print Solutions.