How to Choose the Right Paper

1. Consider Paper Early On
As soon as the preliminary design is done, spec your paper and get quotes from printers. Tell your printer you are open to suggestions, not substitutes, but suggestions.
Depending on the sheet size your printer plans to use, small changes like 1/16th of an inch in the width of your piece can sometimes make a big difference to allow the job to fit better on the sheet. At this stage, you can still make small adjustments to the design, but not when the client has signed-off on the final proof.
Getting your quotes early will also make you aware of any turn-around times you should consider in your deadline. Make adjustments if the paper you have specked is readily available from your local merchant (1 day) or has to be shipped from the mill’s warehouse (2-5 days).
A lot of mills also offer custom sheet sizes to minimize your paper waste and help you save on your overall paper cost. But you need to know early, which paper you want to print on, as these orders can take anywhere from 5-14 days.
I know paper availability is a big concern for many of you, so we will have an extra Paper Tip about this in a week or two.

2. Personality
Consider the life span of your printed piece. Is it a direct marketing piece, that on a good day, 5% of the recipients will look at? Or does your piece have a longer life span like an annual report, a marketing brochure or catalogue?
The personality of your piece, its life span, texture, color and coating determine the price range and quality of your paper, in addition to your budget.
Ask yourself what impression the piece should make. A non-profit organization asking for financial support sends a mixed message when its mailer is printed on a premium stock. Premium paper suggests luxury and the recipient may think, “why bother, they seem to have enough money anyway.”
If you are printing a job that reflects environmental issues, choose papers with recycled content, visible fibers or a mixed composition with a lower brightness and a texture that conveys the environmental feel.
For projects that suggest luxury, metallics, iridescents, suede, leather and other specialty papers create a stunning first impression.


Leave a Reply