Choosing the Right Paper

Paper grade defines paper in terms of its use. Each grade serves a purpose, usually suggested by its grade name. Below are some of the most common classifications of printing papers.

  • Bond papers are commonly used for letters and business forms. They have surfaces which accept ink readily from a pen or typewriter and can be easily erased.
  • Coated papers are used when high printing quality is desired because of its greater surface smoothness and uniform ink receptivity. There are many kinds: cast coated, gloss coated, dull coated, machine coated, coated one- and two-sides, etc.
  • Text papers are noted for their interesting textures and attractive colors. They enjoy frequent use for announcements, booklets and brochures.
  • Offset papers are considered the most economical printing papers. Offset papers may be used for directories, newsletters, books, direct mail pieces with only a few photographs, and other printing products requiring average quality.
  • Cover papers complement coated and text papers in heavier weights and matching colors for use as covers on booklets, etc. Papers are also made for cover purposes only. Many special surface textures are available. Special characteristics of cover pages include dimensional stability, durability, uniform printing surface, good scoring, folding, embossing and die-cutting qualities. It is a useful rule of thumb that cover stock of the same basis weight as text paper has about twice the thickness.
  • Index papers have two outstanding characteristics—stiffness and receptivity to writing ink. Index is commonly used whenever an inexpensive stiff paper is required.
  • Tag is a heavy utility sheet. Tag board is sometimes tinted and colored on one or both sides. Tag stock has good bending or folding qualities, and a surface adaptable to printing, stamping, or writing.
  • Bristol is one of the board grades, with a softer surface than index or tag, making it ideal for high-speed folding, embossing, or stamping. It is very receptive to ink and has good snap and resilience.

If your printing project includes envelopes, there are many styles to choose from.

  • Commercial envelopes are used for business correspondence, either surface or airmail, and are available in all standard sizes.
  • Window envelopes are used primarily for statements, dividends and invoices. The window saves time and prevents an element of error by eliminating typing of an extra address. Window envelopes are made in all sizes and styles, from many types of paper.
  • Self-Sealing envelops have latex adhesive on upper and lower flaps that seal instantly without moisture when the flaps come together. These envelopes are a time saver in handling.
  • Booklet, Open-Side envelopes are ideal for direct mail. A concealed seam lends itself to overall printing in front and back.
  • Baronial envelopes are a more formal open-side envelope with a deep, pointed flap. They are often used for invitations, greeting cards, announcements, etc.
  • Clasp envelopes are sturdy and widely used for mailing bulky papers. Metal clasps are smooth and burrless. This type of envelope may be opened and closed many times.
  • Open-End envelopes are used for mailing catalogs, reports, booklets and magazines. Wide seams and heavy gummed flaps ensure maximum protection under rough handling conditions.