Often, our clients spend a lot of time and energy getting the design of their mail out, publication, or promotional print material just right. Often overlooked, however, is the choice of paper that they are going to print on. As a result, they often make last-minute decisions that they later wish they could take back.
There are a number of considerations when choosing paper, and not all of them are aesthetic. You need to consider the type of printing you’re doing, the purpose of your printed material, its longevity, and whether or not you plan to use it for mailing.
Bond (Text) Paper – General-purpose paper that was originally used for bank notes and bonds, hence the name. This is the most commonly used paper, not only for commercial printing but also in photocopiers and laser printers everywhere.
Cover Paper – Heavier paper generally used for business cards, post cards, etc.
The weight of paper is quite literally measured on a scale. The weight of one ream (500 sheets) of paper measuring 25 x 38 inches, or 20 x 26 inches for cover stock is given in pounds. The average weight of stock used for general printing is 50-80 lbs., and cover stock is 100-150. While you might think that heavier stock is always preferred, consider that it’s hard to fold or otherwise work with heavier paper, and that for publications being mailed, increased weight translates to a higher cost of postage.
Paper brightness refers to the amount of light that it reflects. Brighter paper can really punch up the image printed on it. The scale goes from 0-100, with 100 being the brightest. General office-use paper has a brightness somewhere around 80, while quality photo paper gets a lot closer to the high 90s.
A paper’s finish refers to its sheen. Papers range from matte (low sheen) to high gloss (very high sheen). Different finishes will accept ink differently, and will feel different in the hands of your reader.
Of course, you can print on a lot of things that aren’t paper, too. Business cards can be made from wood or plastic (which makes them last a lot longer), and you might find yourself personalizing promotional products. Whatever your print needs, you probably want to consult a printer with a wide range of experience.
As the best printer in NYC, we’re qualified to help you with just about any print production question you may have. An expert printer can be the difference between success and failure with your project. Call today for a free, no obligation consultation and quote on your print job.