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Paper Selection

Each printed item that represents your business is unique and the paper your items are printed upon impacts the message you deliver which is why you need to choose the right paper for your goals.

How to Choose the Right Paper

Choosing the right paper for your print project is very important, it is one of the key factors affecting the cost, visual appeal, and the final printed quality of your project.

Because of this, we have included detailed information about the paper we use and the specifications of those papers, along with some general information to help you determine the appropriate paper stock for your print project.

If you’re still uncertain after reading this or are interested in seeing and feeling the different paper options before you commit, we would be happy to mail you our free paper sample book. We’re also always glad to talk with you and help you make the best paper selection for your print project goals and budget.

Get Your Free Paper Sample Booklet! 
Get our free paper sample book mailed to your preferred address, absolutely free shipping!

Conquest Preferred Paper

In most cases, the Conquest Preferred Paper, or the paper options listed on our product pages, is the best option for your project. This is because we take pricing as well as performance seriously.

As a high-volume national printer, our paper is specially formulated to best perform with our state-of-the-art equipment giving you an unmatched result in the industry for quality, speed, and value.

With our paper, the typical processing waste is nearly eliminated because of our paper’s performance in ink absorption, drying time, cutting ease, and feeding accuracy. Which saves time and paper as well as offers consistency in color matching and vivid color performance.

We purchase our paper in large quantities and always have it on hand in all our facilities, which offers you accurate and faster delivery times as well as lower shipping and product costs.

Conquest Preferred Paper

What Paper is Best for my Project?

Don't see the product you're interested in? Give Us a Call at 800-707-9903


Brochures are typically folded, with the “tri-fold” brochure being the most popular. Therefore, brochure paper should be thin enough to be easily folded, but thick enough to feel substantial, and have enough opacity to not allow show-through.

We recommend that brochures be printed on a gloss coated 100# text weight paper for best results.


Catalogs along with other bound products can either be self-cover, where the text and cover are both printed on text weight paper, or they can be plus cover, where the cover is printed on a heavier cover weight paper.

We recommend that catalogs be printed on a coated 100# text weight paper for the inside pages and a cover stock like a 100# cover stock for best results.

Business Cards

Business cards are almost always printed on 14pt coated or uncoated cover weight paper since durability is important when people handle, collect, and keep business cards for long periods of time.

We also offer 18pt cover stock or a slightly thinner 13pt uncoated paper that contains 100% post-consumer recycled content for those who want to make the most environmentally friendly paper choice.


Postcards are typically mailed which means they need to be thick enough to allow them to move easily through postal equipment and be durable enough to stand up to a machine and human handling.

Because of this, we recommend postcards being printed on 14pt gloss cover stock with either no coating or a gloss UV coating to increase its durability even more.

Characteristics Impacting Your Paper Selection

Paper Weight

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 Direction

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.

Comparison of relative gloss/shine of coatings from most glossy/shiny to least glossy/shiny:  

We Offer a Number of Coatings That Can Be Applied After the Image is Printed on the Paper:

Gloss Aqueous Paper Coating

This is a shiny, glossy water-based coating applied to the press sheet in-line on the printing press.

Satin Aqueous Paper Coating

This is a water-based coating that is less glossy and shiny than a Gloss Aqueous coating.

Matte Aqueous Paper Coating

Also known as a Dull Aqueous Coating, this is a water-based coating that is less glossy than a Satin Aqueous coating.

UV Paper Coating

UV paper coatings are polymer-based coatings that offer maximum durability. The UV paper coating is applied to the sheet and is cured instantly by exposure to ultraviolet light.

No Paper Coating

There will not be any coating applied to the printed piece.

Custom Paper Coatings

Conquest Graphics also offers special custom coating options for certain projects including:

Strike Through Varnish

This is a technique that allows photos or other areas of interest on the page to have the appearance of higher gloss when compared to the other areas.

This is accomplished by using gloss-coated paper and applying a special dull spot varnish to the text areas or other areas of lower interest in the layout. Then a flood of gloss aqueous coating is applied to the entire press sheet. The result is a high gloss on only certain areas of the page.

Soft Touch Aqueous Paper Coating

This is a special aqueous coating that imparts a soft, thick feel to the hands with a rich matte appearance. Like other aqueous coatings, it is water-based, environmentally friendly, and is applied in-line on the printing press. The best results are achieved by printing on high-quality gloss-coated printing paper.

Please note that due to differences in product specifications, not all coatings are appropriate for all products. We do not recommend applying a coating to uncoated printing paper.

Please call us at 1-800-707-9903 if you are interested in learning more about these special custom coating options.

Have questions? We're here to help!

Available from 8AM to 6PM EST, our team is here to help.

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