Isn’t all Paper Smooth?

Print Techniques

As someone who receives business card printing queries on a regular basis, I’ve learned how to differentiate what people say they want vs. what they really need.The golden standard would be prompt and clear customer service, layered on with showing that you understand what they might need.

In this post, we’ll zoom in on the canvas without which nothing can be done. You’ve guessed it. Paper.

Such a simple word and understanding of it, with the impression of it driven by the paper we use in our home printers, the magazines we read, the newspapers we flip through, the flyers we receive on the street and the direct mailers we get in our mail box.

As you have correctly guessed, there is a wide variety of paper.

So many different types produced for different purposes and printing styles.

To maintain the simplicity of the word, paper, I’m going to attempt to explain how you can describe the paper you need when speaking to your local print shop, or ordering business cards online.

Step One: Ask yourself what do you need to print?

Is this for a business card? A flyer? A hang tag? A note card? A packaging box?

Step Two: Depending on the item you need, determine the impression you want to give off and then select the paper weight

As a rule of thumb, the heavier the paper weight, the sturdier the card and we all know how sturdy cards compare with flimsy ones.

Having said that, for flyers, no one really invests in them as they are for mass distribution, hence it is important to understand the purpose of your item.

Step Three: Understand what texture you’ll like to go for.

As a guide, our home printer uses wood free paper that is uncoated.

Coated papers are usually carried by commercial printers. They are named as such due to an actual coating over their surface which gives off a smooth finish when you run your fingers over them.

Uncoated papers often have textures created by the composition of the paper, i.e. the fibres etc.

To give off an unpolished, raw vibe that is ironically perceived as high end, we recommend going for uncoated textured papers.

If you select those, then forget about any chemical treatments such as lamination, as that will ruin the natural and original effect of the paper.

Step Four: Clarify with your Printer if your Artwork Design will look nice on the type of paper you prefer

As your printers have come across a variety of jobs that involved different designs and paper, do check in with them to see if your design will be expressed well on your preferred paper.

Very often, issues such as mottled or patchy colour expression or even poor ink absorption will be the problems when the paper you chose is not suitable for the print techcnique that your design requires.

Step Five: Once you are done with the process, take note of the paper you have used to ensure consistency of your brand image

Once you have found the right paper, stick to it, in order to have the same paper type for your other marketing collateral.

Papers are often available in different paper weights. So you may use a thicker one for your business card while using a thinner one for your flyer or hang tag.

It is important and neat to use the same paper stock, so that your brand image remains consistently stylish.