This is part two of a two-part series. Check out part one.
We previously shared some history on the origins of paper as well as how it's made. We also learned about the different characteristics of graphic papers, which play a large part in the outcome of any print project. Now we'll discuss the different uses for various graphic papers and how you can use them to your advantage.
This is a tricky category because there are so many variables. Are you printing a book with 1,000 pages? You'd want to choose a paper that is thinner but still retains opacity so that the print doesn't show through from the other side. Are you printing a fashion magazine with lots of full-color photos and advertisements? You should opt for a glossy paper that will yield sharp definition—but not too glossy, or the glare will make it too hard to read. And don't forget about the thickness element if you're mailing it.
Did you know that there are hundreds of types of standard envelopes? They vary by size, closure, flap shape...the list goes on. But one thing most standard envelopes have in common is that they are printed on a 24# white wove paper. (This is equivalent to a 60# uncoated text stock.)
Fancier envelopes can be found in many colors as well as finer paper stocks, made to match or enhance the accompanying letterhead or invitation inside. However, they are still all uncoated to allow for someone to write on them.
If you want to print a custom full-color envelope, you can print the layout on flat sheets and then have them converted. This process involves die cutting, folding, and gluing the paper into an envelope. Some envelopes have a moistening film applied to the flap while others may be peel and stick. You can get very creative with using textured, colored, or thicker paper if you plan to convert your envelopes.
If your print job will be die cut, foil stamped, embossed, or have other finishing processes, you need to use a cover weight stock. Coated or uncoated matters less here, but the paper must be thick enough to withstand the finishing process. You also want to be sure the finishing process is effective on the paper you've chosen. For example, embossing will not be impressive if the stock is too thin. However, some thinner paper stocks are perfect for perforating.
This is another category that can depend a lot on the circumstances. If you're printing a poster that will be used only once or left in place for a long time, you can use a thinner coated stock. But if you are creating graphics for a store display or something that will need to be moved around, you might opt for a thicker stock that can better withstand handling.
There might also be better stocks to consider outside the typical graphic papers. Ask your account manager about printing on corrugated cardboard, for example, if you need a sturdier option than cover stock.
Recycled paper has become the go-to stock in eco-friendly print buyers' minds. It's true that recycled paper is a great option. But did you know that many of our papers, including house stocks, are FSC certified? This means that they are sustainably sourced and that the wood used for papermaking is replaced after being cut.
Now you know the best types of paper to use for different processes and end uses. But how do you select a specific paper from within the category?
Most commercial printers keep standard house stocks on hand for the majority of their print jobs. Unless a customer specifies a certain brand, texture, color, etc. of paper, house stocks are used. House stocks are kept in both uncoated and coated stocks at multiple weights. These are usually a great choice because they are quality paper stocks obtained at a bulk rate, which means better pricing for the customer.
But sometimes, regular white paper won't do. Maybe your job needs the pizzazz of a silver metallic paper or a linen finish. Your account manager can help you source and select the right stock for your print job. They have access to catalogs and sample books from a variety of paper manufacturers and can have paper samples sent to you. That way, you'll know exactly what you're getting before the job is completed.
As you can see, it's important to include your commercial printing account manager when you are planning each print job. Our experts know all aspects of printing, including paper, and can advise you on the best stock to achieve the project of your dreams. Contact us for any questions on how to choose the right materials for your next project