Characteristics Impacting Your Paper Selection
The most fundamental paper characteristic you should consider is paper weight. This is because it not only will determine the feel and durability of your project but for certain projects, there are certain regulations.
For example, for postcards, there are postal regulations that define the minimum paper thickness of .007 inches.
Caliper, or the measured thickness of paper, is another important specification. In most cases, caliper is related to weight, but not always. Sometimes, a paper may be the same basis weight as another paper, but its caliper could be greater or smaller than the comparable sheet.
Opacity of paper is referred to the degree to which the printed elements are visible through the page. High opacity, or thicker paper, minimizes the visibility of printing being seen through the other side of the page and enhances readability.
It’s important to consider text weight papers, as heavy ink coverage may lead to show-though. Your best bet for reducing show-though is to select 100# coated text paper or a heavier stock for your projects needing heavy ink.
Brightness measures the percentage of light that a paper reflects. In full-color printing, a brighter paper will generally provide a sharper, more pleasing printed result versus a less bright paper.
At Conquest Graphics we use paper with a brightness ranging from 88 to 96%, ensuring a crisp vibrant printed image.
Grain is the direction of the paper fibers. Grain direction can have an impact on how flexible your printed piece will be.
This is especially true for postcard printing because the postcard will be less flexible if the grain direction is parallel to the longer dimension of the postcard. We can’t guarantee grain direction, since we may need to change grain direction to facilitate folding, fit to the press sheet, or other finishing operations.
There are two main types of paper coating. The first type of coating is the coating that is applied to the paper at the mill before the image is printed on the paper. These manufacturer-applied coatings may be glossy, dull, or somewhere in between.
Our standard products are printed on glossy coated paper. This glossy paper coating improves the printed appearance of images when compared to uncoated paper, because the coatings allow for better ink control on the press.
The second type of coating is applied after the image is printed on the paper. These coatings are typically water-based coatings and are called aqueous coatings. Aqueous coatings can only be applied to manufacturer-coated paper, as the aqueous coating will tend to soak into an uncoated paper, and not be noticeable.
Aqueous coatings further improve the final printed appearance, increase durability while reducing ink smudging, the dry time required for ink drying, and allow the printed sheets to be handled and finished sooner.