Choosing the right paper stock is like an artist choosing the type of surface to paint their masterpiece. The paper stock should either enhance the visual designs printed on it, or serve in a more functional capacity so that the content is easy to read and write upon. In this way, the purpose of your printing will be the best deciding factor in what paper to use. This article aims to help show the different functions of varying paper types to guide you in choosing what will work best for your printing project.

Coated and Uncoated Paper Stocks

When deciding between coated and uncoated stocks. It’s important to consider the purpose of your printed items.

PurposeUncoatedCoated (Satin/Gloss)
Large amounts of Text (needs to be easy to read)Paper stock icons_TickPaper stock icons_Cross
Large number of images Paper stock icons_Cross Paper stock icons_Tick
Need to write on Paper stock icons_Tick Paper stock icons_Cross
High colour fidelity Paper stock icons_Cross Paper stock icons_Tick
Needs some protection Paper stock icons_Cross Paper stock icons_Tick
Budget friendly Paper stock icons_Tick Paper stock icons_Tick *

*Some coated stocks can be a bit more expensive than uncoated.

This table is just meant to be a basic guide, there will be cases where its more beneficial to use the stock that is not recommended according to the table. It is always a good idea to talk to one of our team if you are unsure about what stock is right for your print job.

Uncoated paper

Uncoated paper is highly absorbent and with minimum to zero glare. With no coating the natural fibres of the paper are more absorbent to liquid inks which can lead to slight bleed between the colours, causing some images to appear less sharp. On the flip side, the minimal glare makes uncoated paper ideal for large blocks of copy for ease of reading.

A common example of uncoated stock is office copy paper. You can feel the minute roughness of the paper’s surface which makes this paper stock ideal for writing on. Uncoated stocks can also include textured stocks like linen and hammer stocks. 

Uncoated paper is usually used for:

  • Stationary (notepads, letterheads, envelopes etc)
  • Newsletters
  • Budget flyers
  • Works books (or anything designed to be written on)

Coated Paper

Coated paper does not have a porous surface like uncoated stock. This flatter surface sharpens details and give more depth to colour in printed materials. Paper can be coated on one of both sides, with the single sided option commonly used for when the back of the paper needs to be written on (like postcards or appointment cards). The main two types of coated paper are Satin/Silk paper and Gloss paper.

Satin, or semi-gloss paper is ideal for print material where you want more visual payback for your colour without the glare of the gloss. For this reason, satin is perfect for:

  • business cards
  • magazines
  • flyers
  • reports.

The shiny surface of gloss paper makes colour really stand out, especially on prints with high colour contrast. Gloss paper is best used for:

  • brochures
  • booklets
  • high end magazines with lots of images.

Specialty Paper

There is also a separate category of specialty paper stocks, this includes metallic papers like our curious metallics line, or paper that is made from different materials like our synthetic and recycled stocks.  

Coloured paper stocks

While we do have coloured paper options, they are usually quite a bit more expensive and can be limited for colour options. If there isn’t the perfect-coloured stock, we will offer to flood the colour printed onto white paper. This has the bonus advantage of greater colour control because images printed on coloured stocks can be unpredictable in their final appearance, usually looking less crisp and much darker than intended.

Paper Weight

Paper weight in Australia is measured in GSM (grams per square metre). The higher the value of the GSM, the thicker the stock will be. Brands that want a more premium product will gravitate to thicker stocks whereas thinner stocks are usually used by companies prioritizing cost effectiveness. As a general rule; a thicker stock will last longer, but is also more expensive to produce. Below is a basic guide to paper thickness and it’s uses:

Stock WeightUses
80-100 GSMLetterheads, general stationary, cost-efficient bookletsPaper stock icons_Letterhead
111-128 GSMShort-term flyers, compliments slips, bookletsPaper stock icons_Bookelt 
150 GSMStandard flyers and brochuresPaper stock icons_6pp DL Flyer
170 GSMCalendars, posters, high-end brochuresPaper stock icons_Poster 
200-250 GSMPremium flyers and brochures, gift vouchers, booklet coversPaper stock icons_Gift Card 
300-350 GSMBusiness cards, menus, postcards, certificates, presentation foldersPaper stock icons_Business Card
400-420 GSMPremium business cards, swing tags, packaging, table talkersPaper stock icons_Tags

Have more questions?

Contact our team today if you need any help picking the right paper stock for your needs.

Download our paper stock cheat sheet for a quick reference of the uses of our range of paper stocks!

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