Understanding Paper for Printing

Choosing the right paper can significantly enhance the quality and impact of your printed design project. Prior to placing a print order, it’s crucial to consider the following paper stock factors:


  1. Paper Weight: Refers to the thickness of the paper, typically measured in pounds (lbs).
  • Higher weight: Offers greater durability (resists tearing and bending). Provides a richer feel and more luxurious experience and enables sharper image quality with better ink absorption and detail reproduction.
  • Lower weight: Generally, less expensive. It may be suitable for everyday printing or text-heavy content.


  1. Paper Brightness and Opacity:
  • Brightness: Indicates how white or bright the paper is, affecting color vibrancy and overall clarity.
  • Opacity: Measures how well the paper blocks light passage, preventing show-through (bleed) from the back, especially for double-sided printing.


  1. Paper Surface Finish: It refers to the texture and smoothness of the paper. It impacts:
  • Ink absorption: A smoother finish allows for finer details and sharper text, while a textured finish might be preferable for certain designs.
  • Aesthetics: Gloss finishes can appear more vibrant and modern. On the other hand, matte finishes offer a more sophisticated and subdued look.


  1. Additional Factors to Consider:
  • Acidity: Archival-quality paper is acid-free to prevent yellowing and deterioration over time, crucial for documents or artwork meant to last.
  • Sustainability: Consider paper sourced from sustainable forestry practices and recycled content for environmental responsibility.  Most modern papers have a higher percentage of recycled material.


Choosing the Right Paper: The ideal paper selection depends on your specific needs and priorities:

  • Project type: Consider the intended use (brochures, photographs, or documents).
  • Desired aesthetics: What look, and feel are you aiming for (vibrant and modern, or maybe a more subdued and classic finish).
  • Budget: Paper weight and other factors can influence cost.
  • Printing requirements: Consider if you’re printing text, graphics, or photographs.


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