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How to Choose Right Printer Paper?

by Imaging Solution Bureau

Paper comes in all colors, weights, and finishes; and sometimes the customers know exactly what paper they want. Here are some of the things to keep in mind about the use of paper for your printed media production.

Choosing the right paper for your printed media can be tricky. Paper tells about the function of the product, it’s feeling and quality. Therefore it’s a crucial part of the overall experience of your final product. Best of all is to start thinking about the choice of paper even before you start your work on the computer, not only to get the feeling right but also because of printing issues and costs. You can then optimize the production and design according to the paper of your choice.

To choose between the function and quality of a paper isn’t easy. Sometimes you’ll find a paper that you really want to work with, but in the end you realize that if you choose it, the production cost will go up significantly. This is usually just a concern when you work with a bigger production and need a lot of paper, then the price will escalate quickly. But even smaller projects can have problems with cost, especially if you choose unusual inks or post processing methods. So choosing a paper that’s cheap, but still good for your product, can be tricky.

The decision to use either coated or uncoated paper is probably the one choice that will affect the overall feeling of your product the most. So choose carefully. Coated papers have china clay or other kinds of coating applied to one or both sides. It comes in a variety of smoothness, like matte, semi-matte or silk, and gloss.

All of the above except matte coated papers are usually best for printing photographs and other kinds of art. Why is that? Because of the paper quality the ink in the printer doesn’t get absorbed by the paper fibers but stays at the top. This gives brighter colors and the paper a somewhat glossy finish.

The uncoated paper, which has a rough, natural feel to it, is preferred before coated paper for productions that include lots of text. With this paper the printer ink gets inside the top layer of the paper and sinks into the fibers beneath. The thing to consider is that a glossy coated paper reflects light more than uncoated paper does. This can sometimes make it harder to read longer texts. Still the final decision should be all about what feeling you want to achieve with your product.

A paper’s opacity describes the amount of light which is transmitted through it. This determines how much printing will be seen through the reverse side of a sheet. Complete opacity is 100% which means that no light can pass through, while a lower percentage lets more light through. Opacity is important to have in mind when printing booklets, as a sheet with good opacity will prevent”show through text” when printing on both sides. A paper’s opacity can increase or decrease depending on the use of different fillers, but also by its weight, whiteness or coating.

The brightness measures the percentage of a wavelength of blue light that a sheet reflects. It’s typically expressed on a scale of 1 to 100 with 100 being the brightest. Most papers reflect 60-90% of light. The brightness of a paper can affect readability, the perception of ink color and the contrast between light and dark hues.

Last but not the least, always checks with your local printing service. Ask them what paper they recommend and what they have in stock at the moment. This can, in some cases, help you out getting away with a better result and a much cheaper paper.

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