|Many of the printed pieces you see are printed
on uncoated paper. Uncoated paper is any type of paper that does not
have a glossy or matte coated finish. As paper is approximately 25%
of the total cost of a project, choosing the paper to meet your objective
and budget is an important consideration.
Cost is the most common reason people choose uncoated papers over
coated papers. Coated papers are more expensive than uncoated papers.
Uncoated papers are frequently used for newsletters, price lists,
books, directories, flyers, manuals and some brochures and catalogs.
Uncoated papers provide excellent value in printed pieces. Pieces
printed on uncoated sheets are easier to read than those on glossy
This type of paper refers to inexpensive uncoated sheets. Popular
good quality brands are Husky, Springhill, Scott and Williamsburg.
These are very common, utilitarian papers. Commodity offset grades
can be suitable for use on price lists, directories, books, manuals
and flyers. Anytime you want to produce a piece that looks good
at a reasonable cost, turn to uncoated offsets.
You can think of this class of papers as similar to "copier
paper." However, unlike "copier paper," uncoated
offset comes in various weights (which translates to thickness)
that can dramatically enhance the feeling of substance in the final
printed piece. They are usually produced in 50#, 60# and 70# weights.
The lightest weight, 50#, is good for bound, multi-page pieces
such as price lists, directories and catalogs where low cost is
important. The next weight, 60#, adds durability, bulk and opacity
from an increased thickness. If you are looking for a good all around
sheet, 60# offset is the paper of choice. Brochures or flyers can
benefit from the added weight of 70# where longevity, thickness
and substance are desired.
Inexpensive uncoated papers are sometimes produced in a choice
of pastel colors. More expensive uncoated papers usually have pastel
and more vibrant colors available.
Chemical whiteners and brighteners are added to commodity offsets
to yield opaque papers. These papers are more expensive than commodity
offsets but offer a more impressive appearance. Popular brand names
are Cougar, Finch, Hammermill, Nekoosa, Torchglow and Accent.
Common uses for these papers are books, newsletters, brochures
or flyers when you want to put your best foot forward. Typically
opaques are used if the piece will be sent to customers or prospects
and you want to project a slightly more refined image.
As the name implies, opaque papers have less "see through"
than commodity offsets of similar weight. "See through"
describes as how well you can see type and graphics printed on the
other side of the sheet. If your piece will utilize large solid
areas of ink or photos, think about using an opaque sheet.
Some opaque offset brands offer colors which are usually more varied
than the colors offered in commodity offset lines. Opaque grades
almost always have accompanying cover weights of 65# or 80#.
This is a special type of paper used to meet postal regulations
for thickness. Common uses of this paper is for postcards, single
sheet direct mail pieces and any brochure with a tear out return
reply card portion.
Any piece of mail less than .007 inches in thickness does not meet
postal guidelines and therefore may not reach it's destination.
Reply card stock is manufactured to be a minimum of .007 inches
thick by adding bulk in the form of more loosely packed wood fibers.
As a comparison, regular 60# offset has a thickness of .0047 inches.
Reply card papers usually have a vellum ("toothier") finish
which also increases bulk.
In general, reply card stocks are not considered as nice as other
uncoated sheets. The added bulk without weight results in a rather
flimsy feel for their thickness and the pronounced vellum finish
doesn't reproduce images very faithfully. Reply card stocks are
produced in commodity and opaque grades but even the opaque varieties
should be reserved for mailed cards only.
Often referred to as the "poor man's cover", this type
of paper is relatively thick and comes in colors. This is what you
might remember as "construction paper" from your youth.
The paper is not as commonly used today because it has an inexpensive
feel and doesn't reproduce images as well as other cover stocks.
This grade of paper actually is quite versatile. Index stock is
relatively thick, comes in white and the basic pastel colors and
has a very smooth finish. However, the whites are not as white and
bright as opaque papers. Index papers are suitable for inexpensive
covers and reply cards (some weights meet postal regulations). Ink
sits up well on the very smooth finish and therefore will reproduce
images faithfully. Of course, die cut index tabs are usually printed
on this type of paper, as the name suggests.
Often referred to as text papers, these expensive sheets have embossed
finishes such as linen, laid, felt and groove. Embossed sheets are
used when the feeling of opulence is required. Suggested uses are
brochures, covers for high end pieces or direct mail projects for
expensive products or services. In reality, most of these papers
are a little dated and are not used as much as they were 5 years
ago. Other papers have come to take their place in popularity.