Choosing the Perfect Paper for Your Next Print Project


Tue, Jan 2, 2018 @ 10:02 AM Emily Hendrickson 0

Choosing the Perfect Paper for Your Next Online Print Project

An important factor in printing is the types of print paper. We offer a variety of papers, some thick and others thin. Some glossy and some matte. How do you decide which paper to use? First, let's get technical. There are some terms that will help you to understand the different paper options for online printing available.

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Cover Paper vs. Text Paper

A cover weight paper is going to be thick, similar in feel to cardstock. Text weight papers are thinner, more similar to catalog and magazine paper. A paper for printing labeled "cover" is always going to be thicker than a "text" paper. For example, 100# Gloss Cover is going to be much thicker than 100# Gloss Text. You can also tell the difference in thickness by checking the "point" or "pt" thickness. For example, a 100# Gloss Cover is 9pt while a 100# Gloss Text is 5pt. If you had an instrument called a micrometer you could measure the paper thickness yourself.

You can use a cover weight or a text weight as the cover paper for your booklet project. You are not required to use a cover weight as the cover paper. For example, the 100# gloss text can be a nice cover option for projects like catalogs, programs and magazines.

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Gloss, Matte, Uncoated, & UV Coated Paper

Gloss vs. Matte
Gloss paper is shiny and is very popular for most print projects. Matte paper has a "flat" look to it. It doesn't shine and reflect light the same way that gloss paper does.

Gloss Paper Versus Matte Paper

UV Coating
UV is short for Ultra Violet coating. This is a shiny gloss coating applied over printed cover weight paper to make photos and colors pop to catch your customer’s attention and to protect against scratching and frequent handling. UV coating is recommended for extra protection on the cover of your project. UV coating is not recommended when you need to write on the coated area.

Uncoated Paper
This paper is similar to the paper you would put in a home printer because it is uncoated. It is easy to write on and would be used in a project such as a journal or coloring book. 

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Recommended Paper Types

Below I am going to recommend different papers for different types of projects. These are simply suggestions; your project may or may not fit into these recommendations. I would also highly recommend requesting a free sample packet from us. When you request a sample packet, we send you our Paper Sample Guide. It's a small booklet that has an example of all of our different papers in it so you can see and feel the weights of each. 

Online Brochure Printing example

File Checklist

Paper Recommendations by Product:

  • Brochures - 100# Gloss Text
  • Business Cards - 14pt Gloss Cover
  • Calendars - 80# Gloss Cover for the cover paper (with a UV high gloss cover finish for extra "Pop!") and 100# Gloss Text for the inside pages
  • Door Hangers - 12pt Gloss Cover
  • EDDM - 100# Gloss Cover
  • Flyers - 100# Gloss Text
  • Greeting Cards - 12pt C1S (C1S means Coated One Side. The outside of the card is coated so that it has a nice finish but the inside is uncoated so that you can easily write in it)
  • Newsletters - 100# Gloss Text
  • Posters - 100# Gloss Text
  • Presentation Folders - 100# Gloss Cover with UV Coating added to it
  • Rack Cards - 14pt Gloss Cover

Of course, if you have any questions about the type of paper to use feel free to call us at 800-995-1555 or request your free sample packet so you can see and feel these different papers.

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Cover Paper Options

80# Gloss Cover Cardstock 
Coated gloss paper about twice as thick as 80# text giving it a more substantial and sturdy feel (thickness of a printed postcard or baseball card). It has a smooth gloss finish similar to that of a glossy photograph making photographs stand out and look rich and beautiful. This stiff, shiny and lustrous coated sheet is the preferred substrate for printed booklet covers. Special characteristics include dimensional stability, good folding qualities, and durability. Well-suited for scoring and die-cutting.

80# Matte Cover Cardstock (similar characteristics as 80# Gloss Cover)
Dull coated sheet that exhibits low gloss finish. Excellent for jobs that require high quality color reproduction with minimal paper gloss. Great when there is a lot of typed copy making it easier to read. It is superior to that of uncoated papers yet paper is glare free.

Square Online Booklet Printing example

100# Gloss Text
Our most popular option and best value. It is about 25% more bulk being thicker and heavier with a sturdy and higher end feel than 80# text. This shiny and lustrous coated sheet is excellent for full color printing. Photographs stand out and look rich and beautiful.

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100# Matte Text (has the same characteristics as 100# gloss text)
Dull coated sheet that exhibits low gloss finish. Excellent for jobs that require high quality color reproduction with minimal paper gloss. Great when there is a lot of typed copy making it easier to read. It is superior to that of uncoated papers yet paper is glare free.

100# Gloss Cover Cardstock
It has the same characteristics and uses as 80# gloss cover but is about 25% more bulk being thicker and heavier, similar to a medium weight card stock.

100# Matte Cover Cardstock
It has the same characteristics and uses as 80# matte cover but is about 25% more bulk being thicker and heavier, similar to a medium weight card stock.

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80# Opaque Cover
Also known as un-coated, this paper is commonly used anytime you are expecting to write in the piece itself.

Binding Options

Inside Paper

100# Gloss Text
Our most popular option and best value. It is about 25% more bulk being thicker and heavier with a sturdy and higher end feel than 80# text. This shiny and lustrous coated sheet is excellent for full color printing. Photographs stand out and look rich and beautiful.

100# Matte Text (has similar characteristics as 100# Gloss Text)
Dull coated sheet that exhibits low gloss finish. Excellent for jobs that require high quality color reproduction with minimal paper gloss. Great when there is a lot of typed copy making it easier to read. It is superior to that of uncoated papers yet paper is glare free.

Online Magazine Printing example

70# Opaque Text
Also known as un-coated, this paper is commonly used anytime you are expecting to write in the piece itself. Match this up with an uncoated cover to give the entire project an un-coated look and feel.

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ABOUT POST AUTHOR

Emily Hendrickson

Emily Hendrickson

Emily Hendrickson has worked at PrintingCenterUSA in a variety of positions and most currently in account services. She has an extensive knowledge of the printing industry and enjoys helping customers with their projects and questions. She writes many case studies on client experiences and advice columns that explore a variety of subject material, such as choosing the right product and paper for a print project. Outside of work, Emily likes to relax by reading fiction and playing video games.

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