Blog | Taking Stock – How to choose the right paper weight, type and finish for your print

So, your printed materials have been beautifully designed and your artwork is ready to send to print. Now comes the all-important decision about what to print it on and the best paper stock, size and finish to complement the product.

You may want to think about what you want the product to say about you and your brand, how long does the product need to last and the impact you want to achieve?

Paper weights/thickness

Paper weights are measured in gsm – grams per square metre – which refers to the substance weight of the paper. The feel and thickness of the paper can vary between different papers, this can make the choice a little confusing.  Generally, a heavier paper tends to feel thicker and is more expensive as the price you pay for the stock is based on the weight

However, there is also a misconception that weight is thickness, this is not the case and can vary between types of stock with different brands of paper being the same weight but can be noticeably different thicknesses.  The thickness of paper is measured in microns, which are fractions of millimetres.

Paper type

Choice of paper can make a big difference to the appearance of a finished piece of design and can say a lot about your brand. If you are looking for a more natural look and feel, you might choose an uncoated paper stock, whereas if you are looking to create a smooth feel, you may prefer a paper stock with a ‘coating’.  This is a paper that has been coated to impart certain qualities to the paper for example gloss or silk finish.

In addition, the paper type you’ve chosen for your print can impact dramatically on the way colour appears on the paper.  This is particularly relevant with coated and uncoated stocks, where the colours can appear slightly muted or duller on an uncoated stock and sharper, brighter and cleaner on a coated type of paper. Uncoated paper types absorb more of the ink and so mute the colour on the page. The shade of the paper can also have an impact on the colour as not all papers are ‘white’.  Seek advice from your printer to see if the colour you envisage will match up to the reality of your finished print.

Help is at hand!

We’ve created a FREE Print Buyers’ Pack to help our customers understand how to get the best from their print.  The pack includes our ‘Taking Stock’ leaflet which contains a variety of paper weights and samples of different finishes so you can see how these differences can enhance the quality of your printed materials. It even shows how the same colour prints differently across each paper finish so that you can see how dramatically colour can change across different types of paper before you make your final printing decision. All of which should help you to make a more informed decision on choosing the right paper stock for your print.

Just ask us

At Wood Richardson, we work closely with our customers from the beginning of a print project, advising them on the best choice of paper stock and then providing samples for them to see and feel. If you are working on a booklet or other item that needs folding or maybe has a cover, we can even mock up a few samples before they are printed so you can feel the weight of the item and see how it will feel when completed.

To sign up to receive your free Wood Richardson Print Buyers’ Pack please click here.