TYPES OF PAPER
Paper is one of the most important aspect of any print project. Choosing the right paper is often a difficult task because so many options exist. Should the paper be made from recycled or tree-free fibers? Should the paper be coated or uncoated? Paper comes in a wide range of weights, textures, finishes, tints and construction. All these characteristics will affect a paper's performance during printed.
Writing papers come in a wide variety of colors, finishes and weights. Recycled sheets include quality post consumer waste fiber, in addition to bleached wood pulp or cotton fibers.
Cotton sheets are available in either 25% cotton, 50% cotton or 100% cotton. Writing papers come in various weights ranging from 20 lb up to 32lb.
Writing papers are generally watermarked and used for business stationery, but can also be used for marketing, reports or any other project where a lightweight paper is preferred.
Text and Cover Papers
Text and Cover papers come in a wide variety of colors, textures, finishes and weights. Virgin paper is made from high-grade bleached wood pulp or cotton fibers. Recycled sheets include quality post consumer waste fiber, in addition to bleached wood pulp or cotton fibers.
The difference between Text and Cover papers is primarily one of weight. Text papers are typically used for the inside pages of books, brochures and magazines and are also used for business stationery and advertising. Cover stocks are heavier than Text weight stocks and are generally used for the book covers, manuals, magazines and folders where thickness is preferred. Other Cover uses include calendars, postcards, announcements and invitations. "Double Thick" papers are made from two Cover weight sheets pasted together. "Cover Plus" papers are made from two Text weight sheets pasted together.
- 88 lb. Cover Plus = two 80 lb. text sheets pasted
- 110 lb. Cover Plus = two 100 lb. text sheets pasted
- 130 lb. Double Thick = two 65 lb. cover sheets pasted
- 170 lb. Double Thick = two 80 lb. cover sheets pasted
Suggested Uses for Writing, Text and Cover Papers
Uncoated Writing, Text and Cover papers are ideal for a wide variety of uses. Their ability to satisfy functional, economical and communications goals is unmatched. They can often be a smart alternative to coated papers. The following are just a few of the many potential uses for Writing, Text and Cover papers:
- Annual Reports
- Book Covers
- Business Cards
- Direct Mail
- Greeting Cards
- Memo Pads
- Presentation Folders
Index paper is a durable, inexpensive sheet with excellent bulk and a smooth finish. Combining high bulk and low weight, this paper is an ideal choice for the things that are the backbone of every business: brochures, covers, tabs, file folders and business forms business reply cards.
Tag paper is a dense grade paper that is strong, durable and delivers smooth performance on press. Commonly used to print hangtags for clothing and accessories, tag paper can stand up to frequent handling and bending and is tear-resistant. Also ideal for brochures, covers, table tents, tabs, tickets, file folders, menus and more.
Vellum Bristol Papers
Vellum Bristol is a quality cardboard style sheet usually made by laminating several sheets together. A toothy finish makes this paper absorbent and fast drying; ideal for those rush orders. Durable semi-smooth cover for medium to heavyweight applications such as brochures, covers, table tents, tabs, tickets, file folders, menus and more.
Given that paper can account for up to 60 percent of the total cost of the printed job, paper choice is extremely important. The most important characteristics to be considered are: Size, Weight, Color, Finish and Opacity. The importance that each of these plays can vary from job to job. The following section will explain how and why some papers are better suited for some tasks than others.
BASIS WEIGHTS & BASIC SIZES
Basis weight refers to the weight in pounds of 500 sheets of paper when it's been cut to that paper's standard basic size. For example, the basic size for bond paper is 17 x 22 inches. If a 500 sheet ream of bond is cut to its basic size of 17" x 22" and weighs 20 pounds, it is classified as 20 lb. bond. If a 17" x 22" ream of bond paper weighs 24 pounds, it would be 24 lb. bond, and so on. The chart below shows common paper types and their basic sizes.
COLOR: The whiteness of paper is the measure of its ability to reflect the colors of light equally. The more evenly a paper reflects all colors of the spectrum, the whiter the sheet. Some papers may reflect slightly cool colors back to the eye and give the illusion that the sheet is actually brighter than white. There is no such thing as a pure white sheet of paper, since the white that we see is always influenced by environmental lighting and reflections from surrounding objects.
|Premium||88.0 – 95.0|
|No. 1||85.0 – 87.9|
|No. 2||83.0 – 84.9|
|No. 3||79.0 – 82.9|
|No. 4||73.0 – 78.9|
|No. 5||72.9 & Below|
BRIGHTNESS: The whiteness of paper is the measure of its ability to reflect the colors of light equally. The more evenly a paper reflects all colors of the spectrum, the whiter the sheet. Some papers may reflect slightly cool colors back to the eye and give the illusion that the sheet is actually brighter than white. There is no such thing as a pure white sheet of paper, since the white that we see is always influenced by environmental lighting and reflections from surrounding objects.
OPACITY: Opacity is the measure of the amount of light passing through a given sheet of paper. Greatly influenced by basis weight, brightness and type, papers containing more fiber and fill generally conceal second side printing. A sheet's thickness does not guarantee that it is more opaque than a thinner sheet. Some thinner papers may be more opaque because there are a greater number of fibers and/or fillers in their composition. Opacity is measured on a scale from 0-100. The higher the number, the more opaque the paper.
GRAIN: Grain is the direction of fibers in paper. Long grain paper fibers run the same direction as the longest measurement of the sheet. Short grain paper fibers run the same direction as the shortest measurement. With sheet paper, short grain direction is indicated by underscoring (or bolding) the dimension along which the grain lies, or by changing the order of the numbers.
GRADES: Grade refers to the type or category of the paper contents that provide a level of brightness or surface characteristics used to determine the grade level of the finished paper stock. Grades are classified from "Premium" at the highest level to "5" at the lowest level. Some text and cover stocks are listed simply as A or B grades since fewer grades of the text and cover stock are produced.
COATED AND UNCOATED PAPER
Coating produces papers with excellent ink holdout, which is ideal for color reproduction – detail is not lost and fine text holds up well – making them a popular choice for products ranging from books and magazines to annual reports and advertising supplements. Coated papers are often called art papers and are commonly found in glossy art books and textbooks containing photographs or illustrations. They have exceptional runnability and printability, as well as a consistently high-quality surface, stiffness, bulk and opacity.
This category of papers – embracing groups like writing, text, cover, bristol – represents the majority of papers specified by printers and designers. Uncoated papers are increasingly specified because of the understated, subtle message they're able to convey. Uncoated grades are softer and warmer and give an approachable appearance. The challenge is to ensure that uncoated print results are able to match the performance of coated products. However, good quality uncoated papers are formulated to strike the delicate balance between ink holdout and ink.
PRINTING ON UNCOATED PAPERS:
Printing on uncoated papers can be as straightforward as printing on coated papers if separations are properly prepared. Because ink soaks into the paper, precise halftone dots spread and deform. This is called dot gain. By opening the separation, actual dot size is decreased and the space surrounding the dot is increased. These adjustments allow the press to carry more ink, increasing color saturation, clarity and contrast.
After a wet press sheet has been approved, all ink colors should be increased by approximately five points based on densitometer readings. This increase will compensate for any dryback.
It is essential to keep in mind the physical characteristics of uncoated papers when planning a printing job. Good quality uncoated papers are so smooth that it's sometimes hard to tell that they're not coated. Yet uncoated papers are porous, so inks, varnishes and coatings perform differently than on coated papers. New technology in the prepress area and pressroom has enabled designers to use premium uncoated papers in exciting new ways. With current prepress technology, the natural surface of these papers becomes perfect for four-color process printing.
INKS ON UNCOATED PAPERS:
Because uncoated papers tend to be more porous, quick-setting, positive hard-drying inks are recommended. Press stable (stay fresh) inks should not be used as they encourage retarded ink drying and abrasion on uncoated stock - especially important when the work has large solid areas of print. -Depending on the image, better results may be achieved with the addition of fluorescent ink to magenta and yellow process colors. Fluorescents will increase the perceived reflective light of the paper surface, thus increasing brightness and clarity.
Finish refers to the surface characteristics of paper. Paper can be used as it comes off the driers of a paper machine, or it can be machine calendered or supercalendered. Uncalendered, machine-calendered and supercalendered papers vary greatly in smoothness. Coating further improves finish and smoothness. Some finishes are produced after the paper leaves the machine (i.e., offline) by a rotary embosser that presses a pattern into the dry paper.
EXAMPLES OF PAPER FINISHES AVAILABLE
Gloss: Gloss is a shiny and reflective surface on one or both sides of coated papers, produced from compounds added during the paper making process.
Dull: Dull is a more evenly coated variant of matte, but is very similar to the same end product. The dull coating seems to be more consistently spread across the sheet vs. a matte coating, which is a little more uneven or mottled.
Matte: Matte is a finish on certain coated papers that is smooth but gives a dull appearance. A good choice for print jobs in which high quality is required.
Smooth: Smooth is the result of the paper passing through sets of rollers during paper making. This process is known as calendaring.
Wove: Wove is an even finish in uncoated paper with a slight texture made by a felt roller covered in woven wire.
Vellum: Vellum has an eggshell appearance that is even and consistent, but not as much so as a smooth finish. Vellum is one of the most popular uncoated finishes and has a high ink absorbency rate.
Cockle: Cockle simulates characteristics of handmade paper with a way, rippled, and puckered finish. The effect is obtained by air-drying the paper under minimum tension.
Felt: Felt is a soft texture on uncoated paper created during the paper making process with either a felt-covered roller or rubber roller with a felt pattern. It can also be accomplished as an offline process.
Laid: Laid has the appearance of translucent lines running horizontally and vertically and is produced during the paper making process with a special roller that creates a pattern in the wet paper.
Linen: Linen resembles linen cloth and is usually produced after paper making as an offline embossing process.