Not All Paper Is Created Equally

Not All Paper Is Created Equally

You splashed out a fortune on the top designer you could find. Together, you created a masterpiece worthy of awards. Then you made the biggest mistake of the project. 

With little to no budget left, and in the hands of a creative lacking in knowledge, you printed your piece on inappropriate stock and watched your budget drip down the drain.

Having great artwork is only part of the challenge. Knowing your paper stock is a different beast entirely. Paper can be a minefield for even the most experienced designer. Yes, there are different paper weights and finishes, but did you know there are different shades of white? Different textures? And environmentally conscious stocks too!

Let’s take an example. Imagine you’re a freelance photographer looking to showcase your work. The choice of paper could be the difference between landing that big shoot or not. But it’s the same photograph I hear you ask… and you would be right. Think of paper as a lighting source. You and I could take a photo of the same location but knowing how to work the camera means I end up with a great shot for your brochure, whilst you get a holiday snap.


The mood of your photography helps us establish the paper tint. A white stock with yellow hues will add warmth to an image, with the opposite true for sheets with blue cast. Use of a new (virgin) sheet may also be a consideration. By using fresh stock, you avoid flecks in the paper from the recycling process.

Then there’s matte, gloss or uncoated papers. Photographers generally steer towards gloss or satin papers. These stocks hold ink on the surface and allow the colours to shine. With uncoated sheets the ink sinks into the paper (and can bleed in some instances) to create softer and muted looks. This is ideal when you want to really show off the texture of the paper stock.

Moving away from photography, the style your brand represents should play a role. Choosing the correct paper stock can create a presence, especially in mail pieces where you need to stand out from the crowd. Are you looking for heavy stock that has a substantial feel to it, or a thinner more delicate piece? We would advise against thinner sheet for postal pieces as this is more likely to damage during delivery. On the other hand, heavier stock can lead to increased postal costs.

Got it all? Think again! We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to choosing the right paper for your next project. What we hope we’ve done is give you an insight into just how important a decision it can be. The key thing from your perspective is to know what you’re looking to get out of a project and how you want people to react to it. From there, any worthwhile designer can help out.

If you want to discuss paper stock of your next project, feel free to drop us a message. Until then… Happy marketing!

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