Choosing the Right Paper for Your Project

When you’re planning a printing project, it’s important to keep in mind that just as important as the design and layout of your project are the materials you use to create your printed piece. The paper you choose for your project will make a difference on the look, feel and durability of your final piece. Factors you’ll want to take into account when you’re choosing your paper include weight, thickness, size, grain and surface.

Weight: Paper weight in the United States is typically defined by the weight of the paper ream (a ream being 500 sheets of paper). For example, 80 lb. paper would mean that the basis weight of the ream was 80 pounds.

Thickness: Paper thickness is measured in mils: 1 mil = 0.001 inch. A paper’s weight is in direct proportion to the thickness; in other words, the thicker the paper, the greater the impact on the pieces cover and spine, as well as binding method.

Size: Generally speaking, your printer will choose the appropriate paper size based on the dimensions of the book or printed piece. If you’re providing the design to the printer, they’ll discuss with you considerations like margins, gutters, bar codes, trim marks, bleeds and lamination.

Grain: Grain determines how paper folds, curls and feels. Grain should run parallel to the fold or spine.

Surface: Surface basically refers to the finish of the paper and includes high gloss, low gloss and matte finishes. Papers are coated to enhance the piece’s visual appeal. Keep in mind; the types of coating used affect printed colors.

When you call Seaboard Graphics, we’ll help you with your project from the beginning. We’ll discuss with you paper options and help you decide which paper is best for your project. Just call us at 315.652.4200 and one of our friendly, knowledgeable associates will be happy to assist you.