Paper. We all know what it is and what it can do, so why is it so easy to get lost when it comes to choosing the right type of paper for printing? Well we wrote this guide so you can stop getting confused.
Now more than ever, there are a multitude of different paper types and paper finishes optimised to different projects, each boasting their own set of benefits. The stock you use for your new set of business cards should probably differ from the types of paper you use for your branded stationery.
To help you find out which paper best suits your printing needs, keep reading… we are going to help you get a better understanding.
Types of Paper
Card Stock – We guarantee you’ll have had your hands on plenty of card stock since it is one of the most commonly used paper types for businesses.
It is sturdy, strong and used widely for printing business cards, postcards and catalogue covers.
It is significantly thicker than typical paper stock and so promises a longer life span, making it ideal for stationery and other printing goods that are frequently passed around.
Recycled Paper – With more and more businesses trying to reduce their environmental impact, recycled paper has become another increasingly popular choice.
It is made from re-used paper products and is believed to use around 70% less energy and water compared to making new paper from trees.
Tissue Paper – Those in the hospitality sector will find many a great uses for tissue paper.
This paper type is highly absorbent and soft and is often used to manufacture handkerchiefs or napkins.
Restaurants, hotels and café’s can easily establish their brand identity with napkins printed with their logo or dyed in their brand colours.
Cardboard – Your recycle bin is probably full of it, but cardboard can be an invaluable paper type for printing.
Cardboard is comprised of three layers of paper with a corrugated inner layer that delivers its characteristic strength. It is lightweight, durable and perfect for affordable sign printing.
Paper Coating Types
Gloss Coated Paper – Typically used on flyers and brochures, gloss paper comes with a wonderfully shiny coating for the ultimate professional finish. It looks particularly good on print with bright pops of colour and bold imagery.
Silk Coated Paper – Falling in the middle of gloss and matte paper, silk coated paper has a smooth, silky coating. It is incredibly silky to the touch but leaves no shine or reflective finish. We find more and more businesses choose silk coated paper for many printed items including leaflets and their luxury business cards.
Matte Coated Paper – On the opposite end of the scale to gloss paper is matte coated paper. This comes with a matte finish and no shine. This can be used on almost any type of print including business cards, leaflets and business stationery.
Uncoated Paper – Just as the name suggests, uncoated paper has no coating on at all and is as naked as the paper you’d find in your office printer.
Matte vs Gloss Coated Paper
As we’ve already outlined above, matte and gloss coated paper differs in its finish. Matte coated paper has a matte, non-reflective look while gloss coated paper demands attention with a wonderful shine. But what are the pros and cons of each?
Matte paper is wonderfully versatile, and many argue its simplistic, matte finish is more contemporary and on-trend. Since it has no reflective coating, it reduces the risk of fingerprint marks and is also easily written on in pen or pencil.
On the other hand, gloss paper is incredibly satisfying to hold and view. Its glossy finish is much more likely to attract attention, especially if your print has large imagery or bold colours included.
Quick Fact: How Is Paper Made?
Before we continue explaining the benefits of the different types of paper, let’s take a quick detour and learn how paper is made. Paper is ultimately a dried, compressed sheet of plant fibres. The cellulose fibres come from plants and trees, usually fast-growing evergreen conifers, which is then pressed together to form a strong, flexible sheet.
Those sheets or rolls are then delivered straight to your office or to professional printers like us where we can combine it with your wonderful graphic design and coat on your favourite choice of paper finish.
Types of Paper Available for Different Printed Materials
To help you realise your next printing project to life. Here’s a quick list of some of our most popular printing products and the types of paper and paper finishes available on them.
Flat Leaflets & Flyers – 130gsm Gloss, 150gsm Silk, 250gsm Silk and 350gsm Silk stock
Folded Leaflets & Flyers – 130gsm Gloss, 150gsm Silk, 250gsm Silk and 350gsm Silk stock
Business Cards – 450gsm Luxury Silk stock
Business Stationery – 90gsm, 120gsm or 160gsm Uncoated and 120gsm Recycled
What Types of Paper are Recyclable?
For many businesses, us included, reducing our environmental impact is something that drives us. At Print Stafford, we offer a huge range of products printed on fully recycled stock to help our customers reduce their paper waste. All of our paper comes from are from FSC managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
Our recycled and fully recyclable paper is the same quality as our standard stocks with a high quality thickness and smooth touch.
It can be used for all sorts of printing needs including business cards, flyers, leaflets, letterheads and more.
Brown kraft paper is another popular type of recycled paper. Made from woodchips, kraft paper is incredibly strong and resilient and since it does not require any bleaching, it is also great for the environment and has lower manufacturing costs.
Many businesses are choosing to use kraft paper for printing their business cards and stationery on as a way of establishing their environmentally sustainable attitude to customers, associates and competitors.
What are the types of paper sizes?
Now you’ve got a good idea of what types of paper you need and what type of coating you’re going for, it’s time to determine the paper size. The size of your print can make all the difference and it depends entirely on the purpose of your project and the impact you want to make. Here are some of the most popular paper sizes for printing.
Size in MM
Size in Inches
841mm x 1189mm
33.1 inch x 46.8 inch
594 mm x 841 mm
23.4 inch x 33.1 inch
420 mm x 594 mm
16.5 inch x 23.4 inch
297 mm x 420 mm
11.7 inch x 16.5 inch
210 mm x 297 mm
8.3 inch x 11.7 inch
148 mm x 210 mm
5.8 inch x 8.3 inch
105 mm x 148 mm
4.1 inch x 5.8 inch
74 mm x 105 mm
2.9 inch x 4.1 inch
52 mm x 74 mm
2.0 inch x 2.9 inch
Best Types of Paper for Printing
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The best types of paper used for your printing project depends entirely on your needs, your business and your budget.
Businesses looking to demand attention and emit a real sense of professional may prefer gloss coated paper while trendsetting, contemporary companies may prefer their stationery printed from cool, matte coated paper.
On the other hand, for a truly luxurious feel, you can’t go far wrong with silk touch stock.
If you are still unsure on the different paper types and which is best for your business, the Print Stafford team is here to help.
Get in touch to let us know what you are looking for and we will happily point you in the right direction. If you need assistance with your graphic design too, we also have a great in-house design team ready to help bring your printing project to life!