The most popular paper types for print

While putting time into content and design is important for engaging with customers, knowing your paper types for print is essential for making a real impact with your marketing materials.

Offering various looks and feels, different types of paper will elicit different responses and perceptions of your brand from customers. Fortunately, as this short guide explains, you don’t need too much technical knowledge to distinguish between the most popular paper types for print.

Uncoated paper
Let’s start with the very simplest of papers: uncoated. Just as it suggests, this paper has not been engineered to have a coating. This is the kind of paper you’re likely to find in your office printer, or used for stationery and letterheads. Brush your finger over it, and you’ll feel the fibres.

chippy-physio-print-items-uncoated stock

Uncoated paper can come in varying thicknesses, but will always have a ‘rustic’, natural feel. If you feel that coming across as ‘homespun’ or eco-friendly is important, this might be the right paper type for you.

Colour printing on uncoated paper will always look much ‘flatter’ than on its coated cousins.

Gloss coated paper

Gloss coated paper is usually used for brochures and flyers to convey true professionality. You’ll recognise it from its shiny coating – hence the name. This paper type is usually used if you’re printing images or photographs, as it has the ability to best present your vibrant designs, brilliant colours and sharp images. The glossy surface allows less absorbing of the ink, creating much clearer images than you could expect from, for instance, uncoated paper.

Matte coated paper
Matte coated paper is one of the most frequently used paper types for print, and is suitable for all general printing needs. It is especially good for flyers and leaflets. Although it’s coated, it has a slightly rough feel.

Matte paper won’t be as shiny as gloss – it’s a little more subdued. This means there’ll be less of a glare in the light, but it also means it’s better for text than images. Having said that, printing inks don’t always dry so well on matte, so a seal varnish is often a good addition.

Silk coated paper

Silk-coated paper sits somewhere between matte and gloss paper and is a nice compromise for having both practicality and a good look. It has a lovely, tactile, smooth and silky feel to it, and has a sheen without the reflectiveness and glare of gloss.

Images still look great on silk paper, and text can be easy to read. For this reason, it’s a really popular choice. Silk paper is used for posters, books, leaflets and catalogues, and can be scribbled on to some extent too.

Choose your weight
Finally, you’ll want to decide on the best paper weight for your printed material. Paper weight is measured in grams per square metre, or GSM. Generally, the higher the GSM rating, the thicker and weightier the paper.

Newspapers for instance are quite flimsy – the paper sits at around 50GSM or even less. Normal office paper is usually up to 100GSM. If you’re going for decent quality brochures, you’ll be looking at around 150GSM, while thicker magazine covers will be around 200GSM. Once you get to 250GSM, you’re looking at very thick brochure covers, while business cards begin at about 300GSM but can be extra heavy when you choose a Duplex or even Triplex printed business card.

While there is plenty of choice when it comes to paper types for print, there’s no right or wrong answer. What you decide on depends entirely on your individual needs.

If you need more help, our experts at KMS Litho will be very happy to talk you through our range, and work with you to select the right paper type and weight to give your customers the best impression of your brand. We can guide you through choosing printing types, binding and fulfilment services too.

Call 01608 737 640 or email to find out more.