Paper Tips: How to Choose the Right Paper for Your Print

Before your company uses a commercial printing service, take the time to pick the right kind of paper. You'll find plenty of choices to compare. Certain types of paper work better for particular purposes, such as printing photos, stickers , brochures or newsletters. Read on to learn about the options and what to look for.


Both light and heavy sheets have several different benefits to offer. You can compare weight by checking the GSM rating; thick printing paper weighs more Grams per Square-Meter. Weight will affect the look, cost, durability and feel of your companies printed materials.

Do you want to print something that will stand up to frequent or long-term use? If so, pick a paper with a rating of at least 300 GSM. It won't wrinkle or tear as easily as lightweight products. This makes it a good choice for signage and menus. Heavy pages feel smooth and look better; consider using them for certificates. You could also order archival-quality sheets to preserve colours and prevent fading.

If you need a brochure or takeaway menu, think about buying a product that has a fairly high GSM rating and comes pre-folded. This will save you a lot of time because you won't need to fold it by hand. You might benefit from sheets that fit in regular mailing envelopes when folded.

Lightweight printing paper might provide the best choice if you'd like to create mailable ads or a newsletter. It won't cost as much to buy or ship thin, light materials. Be sure to ask your printing service what GSM range its equipment can handle.


Whiter pages have a brighter look and reflect more light. Most printing papers come with a "whiteness" rating that ranges from 104 to 112. The whitest sheets boast higher numbers. Brighter materials cost more but help produce sharper, more readable text, especially if you also use thick pages.

It's a bit more complicated to choose the right whiteness level when you want to produce colour photos. A dark-coloured picture may lose contrast and become harder to see on low-whiteness materials. On the other hand, the same paper can benefit light-coloured photos by making them more visible and preventing washout.


If your company needs adhesive stickers, you will probably want to use sheets with precut blank labels that you only need to peel off the wax-paper backing. These labels come in several different sizes and colours. To avoid printing problems, it's best to choose high-quality sticker printing paper that has been stored correctly and hasn't begun to curl.


Are you planning to print photos or a book cover? If so, don't overlook the paper's finish. Matte sheets come in a wider variety of textures, don't reflect much light and often improve the look of black-and-white photos.

The glossy paper enhances contrast and colour richness. Unfortunately, it's quite vulnerable to fingerprints. It also reflects light from lamps and windows, making pictures harder to see in some situations. Semi-gloss offers a compromise with some benefits of both options.


Colour paper conserves ink and improves the look of your prints when you want a non-white background. Printing on black paper usually demands specialised opaque ink. On the other hand, transparencies consist of a plastic film with no colour of its own. Consider printing on transparent paper if you plan to use a projector.

To sum it up, the whiteness, finish, weight and colour of the paper will have a big impact on the results of your printing project. Extra features like pre-folding and archival quality add to the initial cost, but they could save time and money in the long run.

This complex decision often demands considerable expertise, so don't hesitate to seek professional advice on paper selection. Where the Trade Buys Print’s talented staff has the right skills, knowledge and equipment to reliably meet all of your commercial printing needs. Please contact us today to get started.

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Posted by: Scott


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