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Which stock should you print on?

Choosing the right stock for your project can be a difficult task, but it shouldn’t be left as an afterthought. The paper or board choices out there seem complicated and endless but it’s best to start thinking about them early; your design may need to change according to the paper you choose, so taking the paper into account is crucial.

In this article, we narrow down to the basics to give you a general idea of which direction to head for your project.

Before you begin, you need to ask yourself a few questions about your project:

  • What are you creating? Brochures, books, posters and reports all need different kinds of paper to function as desired and to stand out.
  • How long do you want the end product to last? Books are supposed to be read for years to come, but a flyer for an event this weekend only needs to last a few days. Working out life expectancy is important in choosing your paper (and can help with the budget!)
  • What kind of content is in your project? Whether it’s text heavy or image heavy, you’ll need to take your content into account to ensure your project looks the best.
  • What message are you trying to convey? Is your product or service fancy, timeless, traditional or cheap? The paper you choose will convey its own message, so choose wisely!

What’s out there?

If you’ve never gone to print with a design before, you might not have ever come across the term GSM, before. Not to fear, it simply means ‘grams per square metre’. The higher the GSM, the heavier the stock is – simple as that! The following list will hopefully guide you in the right direction for your project.

35 – 55 GSM – Such thin paper is not often used for business projects. For a real world reference as to the fragility of this paper, think of newspapers.

80 – 110 GSM – If you have a household printer, paper within this range is probably what you’re feeding through it. Great for everyday use and products like letterheads, with compliment slips or envelopes.

120 – 170 GSM – If you’ve seen posters or most standard flyers, this range is what you’ve been looking at. It’s sturdier and the thickness of the paper will allow reproduction of higher quality image reproduction.

200 – 300 GSM – Once 200gsm is reached, stock is considered card. It has a more premium feel to it and is much more durable. Perfect for upscale flyers (called promo cards), booklet covers and the like.

350 – 450 GSM – This is on the premium end of the the card range, and perfect for long lasting products or those needing extra impact. Highly recommended minimum for business cards.

Coated or Uncoated? Gloss or Matt finish?

Another big question you might be faced with is whether you want your paper coated or uncoated. Coated paper will normally have either a gloss or matt finish, with gloss helping to accentuate bright colours and photographs while matt gives a more refined, upscale look.

Meanwhile, uncoated has a rough and more textured look and because there is no coating, the ink goes deeper than the top layer, seeping into the fibres of the paper, giving text a bolder look. Uncoated is often used for books and other text heavy projects and rarely for photographs or bold colours.

Whether you know a little about the paper choices in front of you, or a lot, the decision can still be daunting. Regardless of your knowledge, Emroy can guide you through your choices and help you to get the end result you have in mind. Get in touch today to start working towards your next great project.

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