Selecting paper for your print job is best left up to the designer since there are many papers to select from. If you specify the qualities you require in your paper, and explain where the print piece will be, designers or printers can offer acceptable options. Here’s a bit of information about paper. Each paper stock has the following characteristics: surface texture, brightness, color, opacity, grain direction, weight, bulk, caliper, and size.
Uncoated and coated papers have different surface textures. Coated paper also can be matt, dull or glossy and refers to the smoothness of the paper. Brightness refers to the amount of light a sheet reflects. Paper color can be tricky as it affects the color of the ink printed onto it. Opacity determines the show-through. Most papers come in different weights which could also affect the opacity. Weight is based on the size of 500 sheets (a ream) of paper. For instance, a ream of 80# cover, measured at 20” x 26”, weighs 80 pounds. Letterhead is usually 24# Text and we use 100# gloss cover weight for our postcards.
Many people request recycled paper because they think they are saving trees and impact the environment. The truth is trees in North America used for paper production come from well-managed forests or farms. Landowners plant 4 million trees every day, which is 3-4 times more than they harvest. Just 11% of the world’s forests are used for paper (28% lumber; 53% for fuel). We think more importantly its wise to recycle the paper we use to keep waste out of our landfills.