Printing Paper

Printing paper questions and answers ranging from what is coated one side stock to what is a laid.

Printing Paper Questions and Answers

…refers to paper which is coated with clay in the paper making process. Examples of coated paper would be gloss, dull, silk (or matte), and high gloss paper stocks (also called cast coated). Ink dries on coated paper while resting on the surface, rather than absorption. Ink will usually appear brighter on coated stocks than on uncoated stocks for this reason. If you want vibrant color, your best bet is to stick with a coated stock.
…refers to paper which is not coated with clay in the paper making process. Examples of uncoated paper would be common copy paper, linen, laid, or offset paper stocks. Ink dries on uncoated paper by absorption. Because of this, ink will usually appear darker (or more muted) than on coated stocks. A common misconception is that uncoated papers are cheaper than gloss coated papers. This is not typically true. Since there are no coatings to hide imperfections in the paper, an uncoated stock must be formed from a higher quality pulp.
…also known as C1S, refers to a paper stock which has a gloss coating on one side and is left uncoated—like a copy paper surface—on the other. This is a great option when you want the look of gloss on one side, but need to write on the back of a post card, business card or the inside of a fold-over note card. It is also a great option for Pocket Folders, since glue bonds more strongly with uncoated paper surfaces.
…refers to a paper stock which is coated with clay in the paper making process like glossy stock, but is not as “polished,” giving it a flatter look. Inks which are offset printed on coated stocks, whether glossy, dull or silk, are typically more vibrant, as they appear to sit on top of the sheet of paper. The reason for choosing a dull stock would be to minimize glare while maintaining bright colors.
…is paper with cotton content. Some people refer to this as rag paper. Cotton paper has a softer feel and is always an uncoated stock. You may see papers listed with a certain “cotton content.” Typically the higher the cotton content, the more expensive the paper will be. Depending on the artwork, a quality printed piece on cotton paper leaves the recipient with an instant impression of professionalism, elegance, or tradition (i.e. wedding invitations).
…is the texture of the surface of a sheet of paper. Examples for uncoated papers are: smooth, vellum, bond, offset, laid, linen, etc. Examples for coated papers are: gloss, dull, silk, velvet, etc.
…refer to a variety of higher quality papers as opposed to more commodity oriented stocks like offset and coated sheets. Fine Papers are usually appropriate for high quality letterhead and certain invitations, among other applications, and are typically much more expensive due to the level of quality and availability.
…is a paper finish in which the surface of the sheet has embossed rough lines running primarily in one direction to mimic the texture of handmade papers. The depth of the embossing and patterns can vary from brand to brand.
…is a paper finish in which the surface of the sheet has embossed, crosshatched lines running in both directions to mimic the texture of linen cloth. The depth and tooth of the embossing varies from brand to brand.
…is a paper finish in which the surface of the sheet is physically smooth. This is usually used to describe an uncoated paper which has been hot pressed in the manufacturing process. There is little texture, if any, in a smooth-finished sheet. There are also certain sheets which are called supersmooth and have an even slicker finish (but are not coated).
…in the United States, this refers to the weight of 500 parent sheets of a particular type and size of paper. In other words, 500 parent sheets of 20# bond paper will weigh 20 pounds. This can be confusing, however, since parent sheet sizes vary for different types of paper. It is always best to discuss paper weights with your Customer Service Representative.
… is lighter weight paper which is suitable for letterhead, pamphlets and books. Text weight papers typically fold well without scoring. An example would be copy paper.
…is heavier weight paper which typically does not fold well without scoring. An example would be a typical business card stock.
…refers to the whiteness of a sheet of paper; paper brightness refers to the amount of reflected light when measured by a light meter. Brightness is usually referenced as a number between 1 and 100, with 100 being the brightest or having the most light reflected. Sometimes a blue hue is added to the pulp or coating to enhance the brightness of the paper. Images are most vibrant when printed on papers with a brightness in the high 90’s.
…is the degree to which a sheet of paper blocks light from passing through. In other words, the more opaque a sheet is, the less light that passes through.
…refers to the percentage of the raw materials making up a paper sheet which come from paper which has gone out into the consumer marketplace and been recycled. This can vary from 0-100%.
…is a modern concept. There are now papers being made from alternative organic materials like agricultural residues, fiber crops, textiles, crushed stone, and petroleum sources such as plastics.
…is the underlying color of the paper stock being used. Since white ink is not frequently used except for special processes, the paper color affects the overall tone of your printed piece. Consider using an off-white paper to achieve an old-fashioned, aged look, or a bright white for a crisp, clean look.
…refers to stocks which are not warehoused locally by a paper distributor. Traditionally, these stocks need to be acquired from the paper mill in even cartons. Some of these papers are now available online by the sheet, but sometimes the cost is much higher when ordered in this fashion.

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