How to select the correct paper stock

Generally paper falls into one of three categories – uncoated, coated silk or coated gloss.

Each type has different properties that affect its suitability and overall presentation. Depending on your job you will most likely have a choice, however each type will produce different results.

  • Uncoated (including bond which is used for the standard home or office copier) is paper in its most natural form. As the name suggests, it has no coating so is noticeably rougher than a silk or gloss option.

Premium quality, specialty uncoated papers including eco-friendly options, are often selected for invitations, stationery and high-quality brochures because of their contemporary appearance and texture and are frequently favoured by graphic designers.

Note: In general images tend not to be as colourful or sharp when printed on an uncoated stock so if image quality is important, consider an alternative option.

  • Coated silk paper (also commonly referred to as satin) has a light coating of china clay that gives it a smooth finish and improves its opacity and colour absorption properties.

It is not as highly compressed as gloss paper and does not have the same highly reflective appearance however it is still an excellent choice for artwork containing images to ensure they look vibrant.

Note: Not all paper manufacturers apply the same amount of clay, so different silk papers can have differing properties. You should take this into consideration if you are trying to colour match an existing job.

  • Coated gloss paper has a heavier coating of china clay giving it a very smooth and reflective effect. Gloss is ideal for flyers, posters and retail brochures and produces the best colour image results.  

Note: Different levels of coating are applied to individual brands resulting in papers that have differing densities and folding properties.

Selecting the correct paper stock is important. If in doubt, please ask to see a sample before you print or request a hard copy proof.

Selecting the correct paper stock for printing
Selecting the correct paper stock