Guide to Choosing the Right Paper for Printing

guide to choosing the right paper for printing

Guide to Choosing the Right Paper for Printing


With a large amount of quality printing paper currently available, it can be quite difficult to select the right paper for a specific image and/or text. Even the most experienced printmakers can have a difficult time choosing the right paper. A number of options can be rather overwhelming for an individual, that is why it is best to seek professional help when choosing the right paper for printing your project.


Overwhelming! This is in part because most images do not make it onto paper. Instead, they remain online where they are only seen through a monitor. There is a science behind printing. In this post, we have created a guide to help you make the proper paper selection.


How to choose the right paper finish


Paper is typically made in two distinctive finishes: coated or uncoated. Coated paper generally has some sort of coating on one or both sides. This substance is what gives it the glossy feel for which it is known. A coated finish is normally used for printing images or art because of the paper’s ability to not absorb the ink. Instead of the ink being absorbed into the paper, it remains on top. As a result, the images that are printed on it are much glossier and brighter.


The uncoated paper typically feels tough and thick, which is why it is preferred for creations that are heavy on text. With this paper, the ink is absorbed into the paper fibers. That is why there is no glossy finish at the end of the production.


Paper Weight


Paper weight is also a big factor when it comes to selecting the correct paper. However, defining paper weight can be somewhat tricky because most paper is weighed by the stack it comes in and not on its own.


The thicker the paper is, the more weight it essentially has. For reference, standard paper is typically 20 to 24 pounds and poster paper is 24 to 28 pounds.


What kind of paper is used to print posters?


When printing posters, uncoated paper is, in general, the most frequently used because of its rough and thick exterior. However, it ultimately depends on what you want to convey to the reader. As stated above, uncoated paper is used for productions that are heavy on words.


If you are creating a poster for your business that is packed with information, you will most likely gravitate towards an uncoated finished paper. Alternatively, someone who is interested in including an extensive number of images will consider the coated paper instead.


What paper weight should be used for printing posters?


If your poster will be outdoors, you will want a paper that has a greater weight. A greater weight means the paper is more durable and can withstand sun, rain, and wind without having an excessive amount of fading. The larger the poster, the thicker the paper. This will extend its life.


If your poster will be indoors the entire time, you can choose to use a paper that has less weight. Posters that remain indoors do not have to be as durable. Therefore, their paper weight can vary.


We hope you have gained valuable knowledge in reading our “Guide to Choosing the Right Paper for Printing”.


At Hawk Graphics Inc. we are a professional commercial printing firm located in Mt. Freedom, NJ.  We service the 48 contiguous states. Our expert staff is here to help you with all of your printing needs and help you decide on the best papers for your job.  Contact us today to learn more!



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