Understanding Paper Types

     The number of choices available when selecting paper types can be overwhelming. In addition, the terminology that printers use can be confusing. We hope the following information will help demystify the printing and paper options available to you. The more information you have, the more educated decision you can make when printing your products.

Industrial Paper Roll
An industrial paper roll.

What is Paper Weight?

A paper’s weight shows in pounds, often abbreviated as #. This specification is the weight of a 500-sheet ream at its basic size. Therefore, 500 sheets of 24# paper will weigh a total of 24 pounds. However, “basic size” varies by manufacturer and application, so these numbers are not the only factor to regard.

What is Paper Thickness?

Paper thickness measurements show in points or caliper points. It refers to the thickness of an individual sheet measured with a micrometer, such as 14pt or 16pt. Papers described with a point designation are typically a more rigid board grade.

What is Cover Stock vs. Text Stock?

Cover stock is heavier, more rigid, and harder to fold than text stock. Cover stock is used for anything needing a more rigid paper, such as business cards, folders, or postcards. Both types come in coated and uncoated finishes.

What is a Coated Stock?

“Coated” stock refers to a finish applied by the manufacturer prior to printing, or by the printer after your piece is printed. Paper comes in gloss, matte, and silk (or satin) finishes. A coated finish can give your printed piece a more finished, polished look.

Applications of UV Coating and Aqueous Coating occur after your project is printed.

  • UV is a very protective, very shiny coating. It makes details pop and helps your art resist scratches.
  • Aqueous is a clear, water-based coating that provides a medium-gloss surface that will deter fingerprints, dirt, and scuff marks.

Two terms that you will see when browsing coated stock is “C1S” and “C2S”.

  • C1S stock is coated on one side and dull on the other. Best used for projects that need bright art on one side and a writing surface on the other.
  • Gloss coating covers both sides of C2S stock. This gloss coating looks bright and vivid but does not allow for writing on with a pen.

What is an Uncoated Stock?

The uncoated stock’s surface is untreated and does not shine or reflect light. This stock works best for letterhead, envelopes, and other forms that require writing on.

Uncoated stock takes light-colored ink best and doesn’t handle heavy ink coverage very well due to bleeding. Our high-quality uncoated stock gives projects a more tactile, earthy feel.

The image below illustrates how coated paper and uncoated paper absorb ink differently. The color swatches shown below are on coated paper on the left side, and the right side is the same ink on uncoated paper.

Coated vs. Uncoated

What is a Gloss Finish?

“Gloss” finish has a shiny surface, similar to a photograph. Full-color images appear more vibrant and seem to pop off a gloss finish. The gloss finish can protect your project from fading and moisture. However, it can be difficult to read text off a glossy page due to the shine.

What is a Matte Finish?

Matte is a smooth finish that gives colors a softer appearance than gloss. It is somewhat more muted and can give your project a more artistic or conservative feel. The text is more easily read with a matte finish, and fingerprints are resisted.

What kind of paper types does Megastore offer?

The following are Megastore Printing’s house stock:

  • 12pt Gloss C2S
    Gloss stock coated on two sides. This is used for short-run full-color, such as an order of business cards.
  • 14pt Matte C2S
    A coated stock of a slightly heavier weight with a matte finish. This is used for print marketing, such as presentation folders, and business cards.
  • 14pt Gloss C1S
    A stock that is coated on one side with a gloss finish. This is used when you want to write on one side of your piece, but desire a gloss finish on the other side, such as with a business card or postcard.
  • 14pt Gloss C2S
    This cover weight paper has a gloss finish on both sides. It is used for print marketing, such as presentation folders, business cards, and postcards.
  • 14pt Uncoated
    An uncoated cover weight paper with a smooth feel. The flat surface takes lighter ink best and it is primarily used for print marketing materials such as business cards and presentation folders.
  • 16pt Gloss C2S
    Heavyweight gloss stock used for business cards.
  • 100# Gloss Text
    Standard glossy paper stock. The gloss finish is perfect for full-color printing, allowing colors to really shine. This stock is most often used for flyers, posters, brochures, etc.
  • 100# Gloss Cover
    This stiff standard gloss cover stock is commonly used for items like folders, heavyweight brochures, catalog covers, etc. It is approximately equivalent to a 10pt cover stock.
  • 100# Matte Text
    Similar in weight to our gloss text, the difference here is finish. Matte finish provides an opaque base for easy-to-read typography. It is commonly used in brochures, newsletters, flyers, inserts, etc.
  • 100# Matte Cover
    Similar in weight to 100# gloss cover, but with a matte finish. This stock is primarily used for presentation folders and heavier-weight brochures.
  • 70# Uncoated Smooth Text
    Smooth, uncoated text weight paper that is commonly used for flyers, brochures, and other print marketing materials.
  • 24# Uncoated
    This multipurpose paper is what you’d find in your office printer or copy machine. Commonly used for stationery.

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