How to Choose the Right Paper for Your Print Project

You may be wondering which paper to choose for a project you plan on undertaking. Well, to make the right decision, you will need to understand what your options are. There are two main categories of paper, coated and uncoated.

Within covered, you have gloss, silk, and matte. They are all coated in clay that has been polished by rollers. The key difference is the smoothness of their surfaces, with gloss being the smoothest and most polished and matte being comparatively rougher and less refined.

As the name suggests, the uncoated paper has no clay coating and has not been polished; hence, it has a rougher texture. It absorbs the ink and gives a different finish to the documents already mentioned.

To learn more about the different print paper textures, please read the text below. Below are some factors that you should consider when determining which type of print paper is best suited for your project.

Consider the Paper Early On

You should spare your writing and get quotes from your printer as soon as the preliminary design is done. This is essential because at this stage you can adjust your plan to ensure maximum productivity from your printing project. Getting your quotes early will also enable you to be aware of any turnaround times you should consider in projecting the deadline of your project.

You Should Find Some Fundamental Aspects

Consider the following questions when you’re trying to choose your paper:

  • Do you want to your product to contain images and/or text, and what is the size of the said display?
  • The message you want the presentation of your products to convey. Is it to be viewed as being high-end or affordable? This will depend on your target market/consumers
  • What is to be the shelf life of your product? Do you intend for it to last a few days, weeks, or is it much longer.
  • What you want to produce as a result of the printing project. Do you intend on producing flyers, posters, or is it magazines?


Paper is measured in grams per square meter with influences ranging from 40 to 400 grams per square meter. This is a significant consideration especially if you are mailing.

The more the weight of the paper, the likelihood is it’s going to be more expensive for you to send. Cover pages tend to be of a more massive stock than the text pages. This can be as a result of style preference or for protection of your product.


While you undertake your project, one key factor to be considered all throughout will be your budget. Choosing a particular type of paper can make a huge difference.

When you use newsprint, for example, the expense will generally be lower than if you used high-end coated stock for the same project. Also, the more you have to print, the more you will spend.

It is better to get various samples from your printer and compare them to determine which one best suits your budget.

Opacity and Brightness

Opacity is the measure of the amount of light passing through a paper. It is also known as show-through. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the opacity, the lesser the chance that more top ink areas will be visible from the back of the sheet.

This is mainly an essential factor if you plan on printing on both sides of the document. Brightness is expressed on a scale of 1 to 100 with 100 being the brightest.

Most papers reflect 60 to 90 percent of light. Brightness affects contrast, readability, and perception of ink color.

Paper Thickness

The other factor you should consider is paper thickness. What thickness of the printing paper you intend on using is appropriate for the type of project that you want to carry out? Paper thickness is also related to the weight of the said paper.

For example, the 400 g paper is more substantial than the 200 g paper. Standard-thickness papers will improve the quality of printings resulting in high-quality colors that will be sharp and highly detailed.

Other Factors

You now know the key factors that are taken into consideration when deciding which paper is to be chosen for a printing project. Different projects have different uses, but here are a few examples.

Translucent vellum sheets, which come in a wide range of colors, textures, and even weights, can be used in effectively used in printing projects involving invitations, greeting cards, and scrapbooking.

Translucent vellum sheets appear to have a finish that is almost like plastic, and they are also slightly frosted. You can use them as layers to emphasize one part of the design over the other.

Meanwhile, environment-friendly paper is made from about 60 percent to 100 recycled paper pulp. This paper type doesn’t use chemicals to bleach the paper and is ethically sourced from forests. This is ideal for reports and memos.

Look Further

To learn more, you should also look at other factors such as personality, finish, color, recycle content, printing process, end usage, distribution, and availability. Do some proper research in order to find the paper that best suits your needs.

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