We often get questions about the printing process, like which type of paper to use or what type of colour. That’s why we included this helpful reference guide to help you decide which printing option is right for you.
The paper you choose for a print job will affect its presentation, functionality, and cost. There are literally thousands to choose from, but there are three main types of paper: synthetic, coated and uncoated.
Synthetic paper is waterproof and tear resistant, used anywhere that extreme durability is required. Coated paper comes in dull, matte, satin, and gloss finishes, and it’s mainly used for applications with colour pictures, as the ink or toner sits on top of the coating rather than being absorbed into the paper. Uncoated paper is used for almost everything and comes in a range of finishes and colours.
Paper comes in several different grades, the most common being writing, text, and cover. Paper also comes in a range of weights and is measured based on the weight of a thousand sheets of the parent size and the grade line. This is why a 20lb bond or writing and a 50lb text or offset are the same thickness, and also why a 65lb cover is thicker than a 100lb text.
Writing-grade paper easily accepts ink from either a pen or a printer. Typically available as 20lb or 24lb in a wide variety of colours and finishes.
Text-grade paper normal weights are from 50lb to 100lb. These sheets are thicker than writing grade and are also available in a variety of colours and finishes. It’s commonly used for posters, booklets, brochures, and announcements.
Cover-grade paper weights are from 65lb to 160lb and can be up to 28pts thick. These stocks are used for book covers, business cards, folders, signs, and other applications that need to last through heavy use.
If your order only needs a few colours, we may print with spot colours. The Pantone Matching System is the global standard for defining and matching colours. It has specific formulas for the thousands of colours available. It also allows us to print with special inks like metallic and fluorescents. Most office stationery is printed with spot Pantone colours, as it’s a great way to print in consistent colour to ensure a match across all the stationery items.
If you’re using a broader range of colours, we’ll typically use four-colour process (or CMYK). It can reproduce an image with multiple colours using just four separate colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This means you only need four plates. The colours are printed with transparent ink in tiny overlapping dots, which combine to form all the different colours in the image. CMYK is also the process that is used in our digital and wide format printing.