Printing Basics

Paper Types

It seems like a small thing, but the type of paper you choose for your advertising piece can have a great impact on the way it looks and feels, and the way your customer relates to it.

There are myriad textures, thicknesses and styles of paper to choose from – glossy, matte, or uncoated, heavy cardstocks or thin text weight papers, laid and linen finishes, smooth finishes, tinted and colored paper, patterned paper, even metallic paper. Some commonly used paper stocks include:

Gloss text weight: Gloss text (or gloss enamel) is a thinner, glossy paper that is often seen used for items like trifold brochures, booklets, and magazines. A thinner, more lightweight stock, it has a sheen to it which makes printed colors stand out and shine.

Gloss cover stock: Gloss cover stock is used for heavier booklets or brochures, presentation pieces and pocket folders. Similar to gloss text stock, the cover is thicker, sturdier, and has a heftier feel. However, the heavier paper does tend to crack more with folding, so take that into consideration when selecting a stock.

Most printing companies have standard “house” paper for their most oft-used varieties. Usually this includes glossy and matte cover stocks of various weights, glossy and matte text stocks, and a standard stationery line. Generally, choosing a specialty paper will be a bit more expensive than the printer’s house stock – it will need to be special ordered and there may be a minimum for your order. However, this can be well worth it, as the paper can turn your printed piece into something stand-out and unique.

Turn around

For offset printing, turn around usually occurs within seven to ten business days (about two weeks). A print job can be turned in as few as four business days, but this is not recommended. With offset printing, rush jobs tend to incur slight quality problems, such as ink bleeding at cut lines.

For smaller quantities and faster turnaround, digital printers are often the solution. Typically a digital printer can provide turnaround within three to five business days, but for a rush order, it can be fulfilled in as little as 24-48 hours.