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Choosing the Right Paper Finishes

Choosing the Right Paper Finishes

Choosing the Right Paper Finishes

Inks appear differently depending on the finish, the texture and color of the stock used to produce the final product.

On coated stocks, the ink dries on the surface of the sheet, where as on uncoated stocks, the ink absorbs into the sheet.  With coated stocks, images really POP off the sheet, colors are brighter and more vibrant since the ink dries on the surface of the sheet.

With uncoated stocks, the ink absorbs into the sheet and you get a softer, darker image, less vibrant image.  This is due to dot gain.  Dot gain is caused when the ink is absorbed into the sheet and spreads the way a water drop would.

Many uncoated stocks come in a variety of textures.  Texture also effects how ink will lay down on the paper.  Textures such as linen, laid, or even box weave can give your final product an extra visual edge and attract more attention to your piece.  This does come at a cost though.  Heavy solids do not print well on textured sheets unless they are on large format press that hold a lot of ink on the rollers.  Smaller presses can not hold enough ink on the rollers to prevent streaking in the solids.  The other issue is that the ink will not be able to get into all the nicks and grooves of the textured stock on a smaller format machine, causing the final print to look splotchy.

It is important to take these factors in when choosing the stock for your order.  Please see a list of common textures for uncoated stocks and their descriptions below.

Linen finished paper resembles linen cloth.

A gloss finish produces a shiny and reflective surface on one or both sides of certain coated papers.

A finish on certain coated papers that is smooth but gives a dull appearance. A matte finish, as well as other types of coated paper, are good choices for print jobs in which high quality is required.

Felt is a soft texture on uncoated paper. The felt finish does not affect the strength of the paper.

A laid finish has the appearance of translucent lines running horizontally and vertically in the paper.

A paper finish that has an antique appearance. Parchment is very durable and grease resistant.

A smooth finish is the result of the paper passing through sets of rollers during the papermaking process.

A vellum finish has an eggshell appearance and is consistent and even but not as much as a smooth finish. Vellum has a high ink absorbency rate.

An even finish in uncoated paper with a slight texture made by a felt roller covered in woven wire.

Learning about print finishing will make your job as a designer, marketer or business owner easier and will help streamline the print process.

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