pile of paper in print shop

Stocks that have the same front and back surface save money

Work-and-turn press forms require one set of plates that can be used to print both the front and back side of the press sheet. The requirement is that both sides of the press sheet have the same surface.

If the press sheet has two different surfaces, i.e. a coated one side (C1S) cover stock, then a sheetwise press form would have to be used requiring one set of plates for the front side and a second set of plates for the back side. Thus doubling the required number of plates.

Matte or dull-coated papers can offer advantages and challenges

The benefit of using matte and dull-coated papers is that there is less light glare, improving legibility and ease of reading. Additionally there is improved ink holdout, which gives a sharper picture reproduction. It is a win-win situation with sharp beautiful pictures and easy to read text.

The rub is that the surface of the paper is also quite rough, in paper terms, and will easily transfer ink to the facing sheet or page. The solution is to spot varnish the pictures, large type (48 point or larger), or areas of solid ink coverage, or put an overall satin aqueous coating on the piece.

To reduce the cost of using matte or dull coated papers, do not have large areas of image. Do not bleed images off the edge of the page or sheet. Colors that have a large percentage of purple or Reflex blue pigments increase the amount of ink transfer.

Paper opacity is the amount of showthrough from the back side of the sheet.

The more opaque a paper is, the less the image or light shows through. Two things that contribute to opacity are the thickness of the stock (80# more opaque than 60#) and the finish of the paper. Compare paper opacity.

Matte coated stock is thicker than gloss coated stock because it is less calendered (or ironed). A way to counter the effects of show-through is to position images on opposite sides of the sheet to mask the show-through.

Consider the thickness of a stock to minimize cracking on a fold

Cracking on a fold is caused by the separation of paper fibers. Cracking can never be eliminated completely but there are ways to minimize the effects.

Lay out press forms so that the fold is parallel with the grain of the stock. This solution is oftentimes not viable because the size of the piece is not compatible with the available press sheet sizes. The result is additional costs for paper and press time. Do not print ink across the fold. The cracking becomes much more visible if the ink surface is broken allowing the underlying paper to show. Coated papers have a greater tendency to crack than uncoated or text papers.

Score the fold line before machine folding. The score reforms the paper fibers allowing a smoother fold. Scoring is essential for stocks that have a thickness greater than .007. With book papers that are in the thickness range of .005 to .006, scoring sometimes helps marginally. With stocks that are less than .005, scoring will not help if folded on a paper-folding machine.

Hand fold the piece after folding. By using this method, a soft fold can be made that will greatly minimize cracking. This method of folding is relatively expensive for quantities greater than 1,000. See "What causes paper to crack when it is folded?"


When designing a project that requires an envelope, choose the envelope first

Before choosing the paper for the brochure or inserts, first pick out what envelope you are going to use. Make sure that the envelope is stocked and available at your local distributor. Paper mill sample swatch books often state that envelopes are available—but this does not mean that they are stocked locally. If it’s necessary to get envelopes from the paper mill, there is usually a 5,000 minimum order and an order process and shipping time of two weeks.

Save by printing pre-converted envelopes, with no-bleed artwork

Envelopes that are purchased off the shelf are less expensive than converting a envelope for a particular project. This is due to the extensive make ready time for setting up an envelope-making machine.

There are some limitations when printing off-the-shelf envelopes. The printed image cannot bleed off the edges of the envelope. The other concern is the varying layers of paper which makes printing large images difficult.

A converted envelope is printed flat, die-cut, folded and glued—and more expensive

For custom designed envelopes that need to match other pieces of a marketing package, design a converted envelope. A custom image can be printed, with bleeds, with embossing, with foil stamping, and then finished with the die-cut, folded and glued.

It is a more expensive way to go, but it will give the custom results you may require.

Announcement envelopes have a lower printing and converting cost than a pre-converted envelope. Announcement envelopes in quantities of 5,000 or more usually have a lower combined printing and converting costs than a pre-converted envelope.

For business envelopes the quantity goes up to 50,000 for best economy. For scheduling purposes allow 10 days for envelope converting.

See standard paper and envelope sizes.

Coated Book and Cover Stocks

Number One (premium grade)McCoy
Number TwoSterling, Topkote, Endeavour
Number Three GlossU-Bond, Pacesetter, Endurance, Discovery
Castcoated KromeKote
C1S & C2S Carolina, Nordic, Tango

Text and Cover Stocks

Hi Whites, Smooth/Wove VellumClassic Crest, Mohawk Options, Mohawk Superfine, Navajo, Strathmore
Textured, Felt/Embossed, Linen/LaidEsse, Gainsborough, Royal Sundance, Strathmore, Classic, Teton

Uncoated Book Stocks

Offset & OpaqueAccent Opaque, Endurance Offset, Cougar, Finch Casablanca Opaque, Finch Opaque, Wausau Bright White, Williamsburg Offset

Writing Grade Stocks

Number One (premium)Capitol, Curious Translucents, Esse, Glama, Mohawk Superfine, Classic Crest, Classic Linen, Classic Laid
100% CottonClassic Cotton, Strathmore Pure Cotton, Cranes Crest
25% CottonCapitol, Classic, Strathmore, Atlas

Specialty Grades

BristolsStrathmore, Springhill
CarbonlessExcelOne; Transrite
Pressure SensitiveAvery Labels, Fasson, Showcase, Starliner
TranslucentCurious, Glama, UV Ultra
ParchmentAstroparch, Parchtone, Skytone
Metallic Aspire Petallics, Curious, Esse, Eames

Types of Printing Paper

Bond and writing paper

Bond and writing paper is typically used for business stationery and communications. Primary qualities are the ability to reproduce a quality image when printing on a laser or inkjet printer and when handwritten with various writing implements.

Typical Sizes8.5" x 11", 8.5" x 14", 11" x 17", 17" x 22"
Typical Weights (approx. caliper)16 lb. (.003), 20 lb. (.0035), 24 lb. (.004), 28 lb. (.0052)
FinishesLaser compatible, Smooth, Wove, Vellum, Cockle, Linen, Laid

Book paper

Book is typically used for books, brochures and other marketing material. Primary qualities are good printing surfaces and ability to fold. Matching cover stock is usually available.

Typical Sizes19" x 25", 23" x 35", 25" x 38", 28" x 40"
Typical Uncoated Weights (approx. caliper)60 lb. (.0045), 70 lb. (.0052), 80 lb. (.0060), 100 lb. (.0068)
Typical Gloss Coated Weights (approx. caliper)70 lb. (.0035), 80 lb. (.004), 100 lb. (.005), 120 lb. (.006)
FinishesGloss, Dull, Matte, Velvet, Uncoated

Cover paper

Cover weight paper is used for book covers, postcards, brochures and other marketing material. Matching book stock is usually available.

Typical Uncoated Weights (approx. caliper)80 lb. (.011), 100 lb. (.014)
Typical Gloss Coated Weights (approx. caliper)80 lb. (.008), 100 lb. (.010)
FinishesGloss, Dull, Matte, Velvet, Uncoated

For more information:

Paper Options

Paper Opacity Guide

FSC® Certified and Recycled Paper

Deinking: What does it mean to the environment?

Paper and Ink Home Page

Printing Resources

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