Impact Group Marketing Blog


Choosing the Right Paper for Your Project

Creating the perfect design for your next marketing project isn’t enough to ensure a perfect final product. You must also consider what type of paper to use.

Often, people incorrectly assume that choosing the highest quality paper available in their price range is the way to go. Instead, you should use the most appropriate paper for your specific project. Paper can be complicated; because it’s three-dimensional, no two print jobs are ever the same. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right paper.

  1. Lifespan - Marketing brochures, catalogues, and annual reports have a longer lifespan than fliers or other direct marketing pieces. In general, the longer the lifespan, the higher quality paper should be used.
  2. Initial Impression - What impression do you want your piece to make? If you want to suggest luxury, use premium paper and consider using a specialty paper such as one that is metallic or iridescent. You can even use suede or leather. If you’re a non-profit organization asking for financial support, stay away from premium paper to prevent sending the message that your organization is well-off financially and therefore doesn’t need donations.
  3. Coating - Uncoated paper has a non-glare surface and easily absorbs ink, making it easy to write on. It’s the best choice for products such as envelopes, stationary, inexpensive fliers, and newsletters. Coated paper has been covered with a synthetic polymer to display text and images in greater detail and sharper color. It is more difficult to write on. It’s a great choice for brochures, catalogs, and postcards.
  4. Finish - Coated papers can be either matte or glossy. Matte-coated paper has a smooth, non-glossy finish. It gives documents a modern look.  Gloss-coated paper has a slightly reflective finish. The ink sits on the surface of the coating instead of absorbing into the paper, making colors appear more vibrant. It can give documents a glossy, high-end look. Glossy finishes are great when vibrant color and crisp images are important, but the current trend is toward matte-coated sheets in most instances.
  5. Color -
    a. White paper - There are many different shades of white - blue-white, balanced white, natural white, soft white, and many more! Blue-whites are currently very popular; their higher brightness helps colors pop. Warmer whites have a lower brightness and are easier on the eyes for reading or extended viewing. Warmer tones, such as skin tones, shouldn’t be printed on blue-white paper or they will appear grayish.

    b. Colored paper – Colored paper is great as a cover page, but will affect the appearance of printed text and images. For example, blue ink on yellow paper will look green. Use colored paper with caution.
  6. Thickness - Paper thickness measures how many hundredths of an inch thick a single sheet of paper is. It is measured in points; one point equals .001 inches. Paper that is 10pt is 0.01 inches thick, 20pt is 0.02 inches thick, and so on. Business cards, hang tags, door hangers, and bookmarks are all usually printed on thick papers. For example, most business cards are printed on 12pt or 14pt paper.
  7. Weight - Paper comes in a variety of different weights and is measured in GSM (grams per square meter) or Basis Weight (lbs per standard dimensions and sheet count). Generally, the thicker the paper, the higher the quality and the higher the price.

    Lower weight papers are usually used for letterhead. Heavier paper works well for complete brochures; it can make up for a lower page count and give a credible and dependable feel to your product.

    If your project will be printed on both sides, especially if heavy ink coverage is involved, your paper will need to be heavy enough to avoid show-through.

    If you will be mailing your finished pieces, keep postage costs in mind. Heavier papers can be much more expensive to mail.

If you still have questions, our printing manager can help you make the best choice for your project. We would love to help you create the perfect marketing materials for your small business! We can print everything from business cards and flyers to pens, insulators, signs, banners and much more! Contact us today!