It’s a detail a lot of customers fail to consider, but choosing the right paper can be one of the most important decisions you’ll make for any print job. If you are only considering cost when making this decision, you’re doing yourself and your brand a disservice. A variety of factors should influence which paper you select, so it is important to understand a few of the basics about paper styles, weights and finishes–and how they can impact your completed print job. Here is a brief overview of what you need to consider, and why you should include your paper choice as part of your overall project planning process:
Why this particular paper, for this particular job?
The selection of paper is not merely a search for the best possible product at the best possible price. Just because you can afford the highest-priced paper does not mean it is the right paper for your specific project. The choice you make should be based upon which paper is the best choice for the job–period. There are some papers more suitable for counter displays, others that are best for wall posters and still others that are ideal for business cards or promotional flyers. As soon as you identify the specifications of your print job, how it will be delivered or displayed and how durable it needs to be, you should be considering which paper might work best. In addition, you should always be viewing your paper choice through the lens of your brand, and what the finished piece will say to customers, employees and others about your company. Be sure to keep all of these factors in mind from the very start of your project.
Throw your weight(s) around
It seems too obvious to say, but paper is available in a variety of weights–and there is no one weight that is ideal for every job. As you might expect, a flyer being included in a finished job to promote your company can be printed on a lighter weight paper and no one would give it a second thought. But if you use this same weight to print your business cards you may be sending a different message than you planned. Similarly, you will need a heavier weight paper for a project with a longer shelf life than something that is only needed for a one-time use. The lesson: Learn how to use different weights of paper to your advantage and in ways that enhance the functionality of your finished product. Choosing the correct weight of paper is as integral to a print job as the language, colors and images used, so be selective and utilize different weights depending on what type of job you are printing.
Finish with flair
The finish of the paper selected is where you can enhance your printed piece and provide visual and textile clues to its significance, importance or to accentuate an aspect of your brand. Most designers will have a strong opinion about which finish might work best for any particular project. However, the finish of a paper also goes beyond design choices to serve a functional purpose depending on what you are printing. If you are including a lot of color or photographs, you may consider a coated finish in either glossy or matte coat. Similarly, adding gold or silver foil, spot UV, or embossed areas are great ways to accentuate your brand and bring attention to your message. If you are a nonprofit creating a fundraising collateral piece, you may want to downplay any “flashy” finish in order to convey the appropriate sense of need. Very often, a finish utilized is a matter of personal preference. But it also can be an essential component of conveying a project’s importance.
These are just three of the key attributes you should consider when determining which paper to select on any given job. But there are several other important considerations, including color, brightness and whether you want to use paper with recycled content. Hopefully, these basic tips provide an idea why paper selection is such an integral part of any print project. The professionals at Core Print & Packaging can guide you through the selection process to find the perfect paper for your next print project. We look forward to working with you.