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Myth Busters: Paper Edition

Paper: in the world of printing it’s the essential material your message is presented on. It’s touchy-feely and has a huge impact on how your message is received. The paper you use is often as important as the graphics. For some audiences, the paper is the most important aspect of the printed piece.

Paper possibilities are wide and varied: coated gloss, silk, dull, matte, and uncoated smooth, vellum or textured to name just a few. The paper chosen for your printed communication will directly affect how your graphics reproduce.  So let’s dispel some paper myths.

Myth #1:

Uncoated paper is more versatile because it is like a blank slate.


Coating enhances the surface and makes it more receptive to inks and additional coatings. Ink sits on the surface of coated paper which means it will be less absorbent making a more uniform print. Coated paper can also print higher resolution and finer detail. Your final prints will be truer to your original on-screen design and imagery.

Myth #2:

It’s hard to control color when printing on glossy surfaces.


Image quality and color reproduction are much better on a coated paper stock.

Coated paper prints sharper images with finer details, while allowing the printing press to produce brilliant, high-fidelity color with dense solids and smooth screen tints.

Common printing issues such as excessive dot gain aren’t as predominant on coated stocks. Coated stocks also use less ink and allow ink to dry quicker.

Myth #3:

Coated paper must be more expensive because it looks and feels so rich.


While it is true about its luxuriousness, coated paper isn’t as expensive as you may think.

Coated paper can be significantly less expensive than uncoated paper at the same weight. Uncoated stocks require a higher ratio of wood fiber per pound than coated stocks. Coated papers replace some of that wood fiber with clay that creates the coating. Which is also why coated papers, at the same weight as uncoated papers, feel less substantial. Also coated papermaking machines produce a larger amount of paper than uncoated machines.

Myth #4:

Only uncoated papers can provide a tactile experience.


Coated papers allow for techniques such as soft touch AQ. Soft touch AQ is a velvety-soft feel to print materials. Many people describe it as feeling like short velvet, or smooth suede. A soft-touch finish definitely gets noticed.

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