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  1. Camera Ready Art
  2. Creating PDF Files
    Press-Quality PDF's
  3. PDF Art Files
    For Trouble-Free Printing
  4. Typography Tips
    Typesetting Like a Pro
  5. Vector Artwork
    Scaleable Art Files
  6. Color Accuracy
    In Commercial Printing
  7. Color Spaces
    CMYK Color Settings
  8. Ink Colors
    CMYK & Solid Ink Colors
  9. Monitor Calibration
    Accurate Display Color
  10. Glossary of Terms
  11. Foil and Embossing
  12. Folding Types
    Std. Brochure Folds
  13. Paper Coatings
  14. Printing Papers
  15. Envelope Sizes
    Standard Measurements
  16. Postcard Sizes
    & Postcard Postage Rates
  17. Printing Sizes & Cuts
    Efficient Form Sizes
  18. Printing Templates

— Commercial Printing Paper Types —
Different Types and Characteristics of Papers

There are two main types of paper used in commercial printing: coated and uncoated

Coated Paper - a coated paper stock has a surface sealant and often contains clay. Coating papers reduce dot gain by restricting ink from absorbing into the surface of the paper. This sealant allows for crisper printing, particularly photos, gradients and fine detailed images. Coated stocks have numerous sheen options: gloss, matte, dull and satin finishes.

types of printing papers

Gloss - a gloss coated paper has a high sheen, as those in a typical magazine. Gloss papers have less bulk and opacity and are less expensive than a dull & matte paper of equal thickness. A Cast Coated Paper (such as "Kromekote") has a very high gloss sheen made by pressing the paper against a polished hot metal drum while the coating is still wet.
Dull - a dull finish coated paper has a smooth surface paper that is low in gloss. Dull coated paper falls between matte and glossy paper.
Matte - a matte coated paper is a non-glossy, flat looking paper with very little sheen. Matte papers are more opaque, contain greater bulk, and are higher in cost.

Uncoated Paper - an uncoated paper stock has not been coated with clay or other surface sealants. Inks dry by absorbing into the paper. Uncoated papers comprise a vast number of paper types and are Available in a variety of surfaces, both smooth and textured (such as "laid" and "linen"). Some fine quality uncoated sheets contain a watermark.

Weight - the weight of a paper refers to its thickness and is typically measured in pounds (such as 20#) and points (such as 10 PT). The higher the number, the thicker the paper for that "type" of paper. Paper weights in commercial printing can be very confusing. For example, a sheet of 20# bond (probably what you use on your copy machine) is about the same thickness as a sheet of 50# offset. A more meaningful measurement is to pay attention to is a paper's caliper. Case Paper Company has a downloadable chart as a PDF form that you may find useful to better understand the various paper weight terminology used in commercial printing.

Stationery Papers

Three general paper thickness categories used to describe the basis weight of matching stationery papers are writing, text and cover weight papers. They are commonly used for a company's matching letterhead, envelope, business cards and other collateral items.

Writing Paper - a letterhead-weight stock, typically 24# or 28# writing, and often has a watermark.
Text Paper - is thicker than a writing paper, but not as thick as a cover paper (card stock). Text-weight stationery paper is usually a 70# or 80# text.
Cover Paper - a card stock paper, such as those used for a business card or report cover. They are usually an 80# cover weight, although some brands of paper offer cover weight paper that is as thin as a 65# cover or as thick as a 100# cover or heavier.

Opacity - a paper's opacity is determined by its weight, ingredients and absorbency. A paper's opacity determines how much printing will show through on the reverse side of a sheet. Opacity is expressed in terms of it's percentage of reflection. Complete opacity is 100% and complete transparency is 0%.

Brightness - the brightness of a sheet of paper measures the percentage of blue light it reflects. The brightness of a piece of paper is typically expressed on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the brightest. Most papers reflect 60-90% of light. The brightness of a paper affects readability, the perception of ink color and the contrast between light and dark hues.

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