Paper Types Explained

When selecting the between different types of printing paper stock types for your project, it's crucial to understand the various terms. What sets matte apart from uncoated? We'll provide detailed explanations of these types.

A clear understanding of common types assists in choosing between coated and uncoated for commercial offset printing. We advise examining swatch books to evaluate several options. By feeling the weight and texture of larger sheets, you can better judge if they meet your project’s requirements.

Understanding Gloss Paper

Coated Paper

Coated paper, with its glossy texture, improves print quality by providing clear details and reducing ink spread. Its special coating stops the paper from soaking up ink. This makes images and text look sharp and bright, as though they have just come off the printer.

This type of paper is available in finishes such as gloss, matte, dull, and satin. These choices make it adaptable for different kinds of projects.

Stack of Magazines printed on matte paper

There are many brands of Coated Paper

Anthem Plus Paper Logo
Billerud Blazer Digital Paper Logo
Kallima Paper Logo
billerud productolith pts Paper Logo
Sappi Flo Paper Logo
Sappi LusterCote
Sappi Spectro Paper Logo
Westrock Tango Paper Logo
Westrock PrintKote Paper Logo
Gloss coated can provide unparalleled vibrancy and clarity, making them a popular choice for intricate designs. They boast a high gloss finish that’s both lightweight and economical – ideal when you need quality without breaking the bank. The coating on this high gloss paper reduces ink absorption, ensuring that the vibrant colors of your printed images remain vivid and true, regardless of their intensity.
Find Specific Information About Gloss Paper Kinds
Understanding Gloss Paper
Satin paper offers a perfect balance between gloss and matte finishes with vivid, striking colors. Its lower shine level provides excellent contrast and image clarity ideal for printing beautiful photos or vibrant designs!
Learn More About Satin Paper
Satin Paper: The Sophisticated Balance in Printing
Matte coated is an ideal selection for a professional and refined appearance. Its non-glossy surface minimizes glare, enhancing readability. This type of coating also adds to the opacity, ensuring that colors appear more vivid. Additionally, the coating prevents ink from penetrating the material, preserving the quality of the print. Sometimes people google "what is mat paper". It's important to note that people often confuse matte coated paper with uncoated paper.
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Square Hardcover Book Printed in the USA
Dull coated paper is the perfect balance between matte and glossy. Offering a smooth surface with just enough shine to capture attention. Its unique level of luster creates an eye-catching effect that’s sure to stand out in any medium.
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Open artwork book printed with matte paper on a table, blurred background

Coated One Side and Coated Two Sides Paper

C1S is coated on one side, while C2S has coating on both sides. They come in various thicknesses from 8pt to 24pt, offering flexibility for a range of projects.

C1S is ideal for products like book covers and packaging, where it's important to have a high-quality feel on the printed side. In contrast, C2S's dual-sided coating is perfect for producing a glossy finish. This makes it a great choice for high-quality items such as postcards and brochures.

C1S is great for projects needing a top-quality finish on only one side. In contrast, C2S excels when you need to print on both sides of the paper, as it brings out bright colors and clear details. Your choice between C1S and C2S should consider the finish you want, the type of print job, and the thickness of the paper required.

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Learn More About C2S Paper
Understanding Gloss Paper

Uncoated Paper

The opposite of gloss, uncoated paper is a popular choice for print jobs, but it does have its drawbacks. Inks absorb directly into the stock without any surface sealant to protect them. This results in dull colors that lack vibrancy and depth.

No shortage of options exists within this category. You can select from finishes like wove or smooth, and textures such as linen, to suit different preferences.

The Benefits of Wove or Smooth Paper

There are many brands of Uncoated Paper

Lynx Paper Logo
Cougar Paper Logo
Mohawk Paper Logo
Astrobrights Paper Logo
Rolland Opaque Paper Logo
Lettermark Paper Logo
EarthChoice Paper Logo
Husky Paper Logo
Neenah Royal Sundance Paper Logo

Wove or Smooth Paper

Wove paper, with its smooth finish, ensures that printed materials look impressive. Its construction provides both durability and flexibility, ideal for creating professional-grade prints. Additionally, its flexibility is well-suited for digital printing process. The paper's surface holds ink effectively, reducing the risk of smearing or fading.
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Handling Wove Paper With Care

Laid Paper

Laid paper is a unique and elegant textured paper, characterized by criss-cross ribbed lines on its surface. This quality makes it highly suitable for crafting distinct stationery items such as letterheads, envelopes, and business cards, enhancing the professionalism of corporate communications.
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Texture of laid brownish recycled paper in vertical format

Linen Paper

Linen paper is an ideal choice for business stationery, giving documents a professional feel. The fine and evenly spaced lines running across the surface add subtle texture to any printed item. Creating a charming aesthetic similar to that produced by classic laid finish stocks.
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Linen Paper Texture

NCR Carbonless

NCR (No Carbon Required) Carbonless Forms are a modern solution for making instant copies of documents. These forms have a special coating that uses pressure from a pen or printer to create duplicates. They are great for making multiple copies of invoices, receipts, and order forms without using messy carbon paper.
No Carbon Required or NCR Carbonless Forms or Pads
Mirror Paper Envelope

Specialty Papers

Specialty papers cover many unique and specialized types, each with its own features and benefits for different printing projects. Among these are eco-friendly Recycled Paper, made from post-consumer waste and great for green initiatives. Metallic Paper brings a luxury shimmer, ideal for upscale invitations or business cards. Then there's Translucent or Vellum Paper, semi-transparent, adding elegance to overlays and artistic designs.

The range of specialty papers also includes practical and innovative types. Water-Resistant/Waterproof Paper is essential for outdoor use or in damp areas. Security Paper helps safeguard important documents from forgery. Kraft Paper is valued for its strength and natural look, and Self-Adhesive Paper is commonly used for stickers and labels.

Other noteworthy types are synthetic polyester paper, known for its durability, and magnet-backed paper, ideal for magnetic marketing materials and products. Each kind of specialty paper can improve the final print, adding aesthetic appeal or functionality.

Paper Weight

Paper weight is a crucial factor in choosing the right paper for any printing project. Understanding the thickness of paper is essential in this process. Accurate measurement of paper thickness can significantly influence the choice of paper for specific uses, affecting aspects like print quality, durability, and overall presentation.

Instruments like calipers, thickness gauges, and micrometers precisely measure paper thickness. Each instrument has its own benefits and accuracy levels. For example, micrometers offer exact measurements, crucial for maintaining quality in printing projects. For more information on these measuring tools and how they help in choosing the right paper for different printing jobs, click here.

Man measuring thickness of the paper sheet with micrometer at the printing plant

Text Paper Weight

Text weight ranges from 70# to 100#, thicker than standard writing weight but lighter than card stock, perfect for many uses. The 70# type is great for brochures and catalogs; thick enough to stop ink from bleeding through, vital for printing on both sides.

The 80# variant, is heavier, suits premium magazines and corporate reports that require a high-quality feel. The heaviest, 100# text weight, has a substantial feel, ideal for book covers and upscale marketing materials. As the weight increases, so does the thickness and opacity, providing a wide variety of options for different project needs.

Perfect Bound Binding Style

Writing Paper Weight

Writing weight, usually used for official letterheads and stationery, commonly includes 24# and 28#. The 24# strikes a balance between strength and usability, favored for business letterheads and professional documents. In contrast, the 28# is heavier than 24#. Perfect for upscale impressive look. This weight can feature a watermark, adding a sophisticated touch.

For everyday business communication, 24# paper works well, offering a professional appearance without being too thick. For more formal or high-level communication, the sturdier and more refined 28# paper is the choice. Writing weights are adaptable and fitting most printing methods. They also serve well for a range of personal and professional communication needs.


Cover Paper Weight

Cover stocks, with their heavy weight and stiffness, are ideal for durable and high-end applications. Available in weights such as 65#, 80#, 100#, 120#, and 12pt, they are much thicker and stiffer compared to text or writing weights. Their robustness reduces folding and creasing, giving the final product a solid and luxurious feel.

65# cardstock is suitable for items such as report covers, business cards, and postcards. It's sturdy yet not overly thick.

For heavier needs, 80# and 100# cover stocks are better. They're thicker and firmer, ideal for high-quality book covers, fancy business cards, and invitation cards. The heaviest types, 120# weight and 12pt stocks. These are best for luxury items like high-end packaging and heavyweight business cards, where you need the most strength and a luxurious feel.

Short Run Digital Printing Company Indianapolis

Paper Opacity

Selecting the right paper goes beyond color or texture choices; its opacity significantly impacts your print's visual impact. Opacity is affected by its weight, composition, and how much ink it absorbs.

Absolute transparency is rated at 0% opacity, while complete opacity is 100%. For instance, tracing paper is an example of low opacity. Mastering the use of various opacities can enhance the depth and quality of your designs.

Paper Opacity Sample


In summary, the right selection of paper is a cornerstone of exceptional printing. Different types are important for successful printing projects. The thoughtful choice of these materials elevates the appearance, tactile experience, and functionality of the final product.

At Printing Partners, we're committed to guiding you through this critical selection process. If you need printing paper near me, our skills and wide range of high-quality options guarantee that your project exceeds your expectations.

Let us help you transform your vision into a tangible masterpiece. Reach out for a detailed printing estimate and embark on a journey to bring your creative aspirations to life.

Understanding Gloss Paper

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