Types of Paper for Printing: which to choose?

With so many different types of paper for printing, you can find the perfect paper for any job. But how do you know which one that is? The key to understanding your paper choices for different jobs is learning about the three most important characteristics of paper: weight, coating and colour. These aren’t the only qualities paper has, but once you understand these, you can choose the right paper for any job.

  • Weight – Paper weight is measured in grams per square metre, which you will see abbreviated to gsm. Regular copier paper is usually 80 gsm, and letterhead is 100 to 120 gsm. Business cards vary but are usually 350 gsm. The types of paper for printing brochures and leaflets range anywhere between those weights. The weight of the paper communicates a lot to the people who pick it up and read it. A heavier paper impresses people. It says you take your brand seriously and so should they. The higher the gsm, the more durable the paper is too. So if you are printing something you want people to keep and refer back to, such as a business card or brochure, use a heavier paper.

  • Coating – We rarely notice it, but lots of the paper we handle every day is coated. Paper coating can be matte or gloss, and both types prevent the paper from absorbing as much of the ink. Matte coated paper looks glossier than uncoated paper, and it is easier to read than glossy coated paper. Coated paper is harder to write on, so if you want people to make notes on your printed material, uncoated is likely a better option.

  • Colour – Paper is available in a complete rainbow of colours, but if you are reproducing coloured graphics you will want white paper. Any other colour will affect the hues of the inks used. But if you are printing using black ink, a vibrant colour paper can be very striking. If you are printing a booklet, for example, you will use different types of paper for printing the cover and the inside pages.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing The Types of Paper for Printing 

When you are deciding on the best types of paper for printing your job, you do have to consider more than those three things. For more and more people, it matters if the paper is recycled or from a sustainable source. Price is also a factor, and here at Printwise, we are always happy to help you find the best paper within your budget for your project.

While most jobs use regular paper or card stock, those are not the only types of paper for printing. Invitations and other special jobs often use artistically created papers for dramatic and beautiful results. Lux paper, for example, is made with three layers of cardstock, usually with a different colour in the middle.

The staff at Printwise is always happy to work with you to find the optimum types of paper for printing your job to get the results you want within the budget you set. Give us a call to discuss your project today.