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Choosing the correct paper stock

With thousands on thousands of different paper stocks available paper selection can often seem daunting.

Often simply selecting the most expensive option will not ensure the best result for the job in hand – would you use a thick glossy luxurious paper stock for a charity flyer? Probably not, it conveys the wrong message – ‘why bother they have enough money already’.

There are two main things to consider when selecting paper stocks for different print jobs, both of which will have an effect on how both the printed item and your brand will be perceived.

1. Paper Density (GSM)

Paper density refers to the thickness of the paper and is measured in GSM (grams per square meter). The higher the GSM the thicker the paper.

Any paper density can be specified for any job, however some paper weights are more suitable to certain applications than others.  When printing business essentials we suggest the following;

Comp Slips – 120gsm

Likely to be handed around and thumbed, comp slips should use a more durable stock than ‘standard printer paper’. 120gsm stocks are more durable than typical standard 80gsm papers and convey a message of quality.

Letterheads – 120gsm

Slightly heavier than standard 80gsm printer paper, 120gsm conveys quality without being too heavy. 120gsm will also easily run through all office printers be they injet or laser.

Business Cards – 450gsm

Perhaps your most important piece of print, business cards should be printed on heavier more durable stocks as they will be carried, handed out, passed on and referred back to over a long period of time over all of which they must clearly convey your contact information.  Business cards are often the first piece of print prospective clients/customers will receive from you; their stock and finishing selection is key in communicating brand values and creating positive first impressions.

Flyers – 250gsm

While it may be tempting to save money printing disposable items like flyers on lower density papers it is important to consider the message you are conveying and to match this with the paper stock –would you expect to receive an award ceremony invitation printed on 80gsm printer paper, probably not. We typically recommend glossy 250gsm flyers for most applications, the heavier stock and gloss finish both protect the print and ensure the flyer will not rip whilst conveying a message of quality.

 2. Finishes

After you have selected the correct weight for your printed materials you must consider which finish is most appropriate.

Paper stocks come as either coated or uncoated.

Coated paper is treated such that it has a glossy or matte finish and gives the perception of a more expensive print job, whereas uncoated paper has an unreflective surface more suitable to everyday printing.

Additional finishes are available on top of this such as gloss and matte laminate or foil stamping.

For more information of different print finishes click here.

Finish selection is subject to specific jobs; remember the glossy charity flyer? Some stock, finish and job combinations simply wont work together and at best will create the wrong impression on the viewer.

For more information about stock selection for an upcoming print order please call today – 0113 323 1916, or email easy@disruptive-printing.co.uk.

Printing Terms Every Designer Should Know

Know your Points from Picas? Or Colour Spaces from Colour Scales?

The print industry uses a wealth of terms to describe the different process, attributes and characteristics that relate to print production. Understanding and using these terms correctly will let you communicate more accurately and efficiently between designers, printers, suppliers and clients.

Below are some of the key terms we use on a daily basis when communicating in the design studio and with print specialists.

Bounding Box

The square around a selected image.  ‘Anchor Points’ on Bounding Boxes can be adjusted to distort and reshape the image.

Clipping Paths / Clipping Masks

Vector lines drawn over areas of an image that are used to isolate that area. With clipping paths applied all other areas of the image are hidden.

CMYK

Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black) – The subtractive primary colours used as ‘Process Colours’ in four colour printing.  CMYK images should be used for print as each channel correctly correspons to one of the printing plates.

Colour Scales

Reference cards printed with precise colours to ensure accurate colour reproduction when scanned.

Colour Space

The range of colours that a graphical device can reproduce / display.

DPI

Dots Per Inch – In print, the higher the better.
Higher DPI values ensure more detail is preserved in an image, however file sizes is larger, they take longer to print and use more ink. As a rule of thumb, print images should be at least 300dpi whereas for screen use 72dpi suffices.

Duplexing

The bonding of two different paper stocks to form a single substrate with different characteristics on each side.

Four Colour Black

The darkest black produced when all four process colours (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) are overprinted on each other.

Imposition

The sequence and position that pages will print in before being cut, folded and trimmed.

Layers

Different levels in a digital image that can be manipulated separately – like floors in a building.

Pica

A typographical measurement that equates to 12pts.
There are 6 picas in an inch.

Point

A typographical measurement.  There are 72pts in an inch.

Proofing

Various tests used in print production to ensure accurate design reproduction.  Proofs can be both digital and physical.  Digital proofs are suitable for content checking whereas physical proofs should be used to ensure print processes and paper stocks create the desired reproduction of a design.

Registration Black

A black obtained when 100% cyan, magenta, yellow and key are printed over each other. Registration black is often used to print Registration Marks. Registration Marks are used to ensure correct plate alignment.

RGB

Red, Green, Blue – The additive primary colours.  RGB colours are used for ‘screen-based’ images such as those on websites. For printing RGB images should be converted to CMYK.

Stock

The substrate that a job is printed on to.

Think we’ve missed out an important everyday printing term? Please let us know and comment below.

Got an upcoming print job?  Call today to see how we can save you more time, money and effort – 0113 323 1916, or email easy@disruptive-printing.co.uk.