How to Choose Paper for Printing Your Next Project

Clients often ask us how to choose paper for printing. It’s best to always keep the end use and the project purpose in mind when choosing paper type for printing.

In this post, our Phoenix printers at PRI Graphics offer the following tips on how to choose paper for printing and what different types of paper are available.

Choose Paper Type Based on Project Requirements

Are you thinking of postcard printing, or creating mailers, leaflets or flyers? How about business card printing in color or black and white? Or, do you need high quality banner printing? Choosing the right paper for printing is essential to ensure your next printing project is printed correctly for its intended use.

It’s important to ask the right questions before you choose the paper type for printing. Will the paper be creased, folded, saddle stitched, or die cut after it is printed? Will your finished project be utilized outdoors or indoors? The intended purpose of your printing project will determine if it is best suited for coated printing paper, uncoated printing paper, natural printing paper, or synthetic printing paper?

Coated vs Uncoated Paper Printing

Coated Printing Paper – Coated paper can be an excellent choice when print clarity is important or if your project contains high quality photos as found in product sheets, menus, and brochure printing. Glossy coated printing paper offer finishes that have a reflective surface, presenting a rich, satin-like feel. Matte coated paper printing will give you a finish that absorbs light, which makes them easier to read in low light situations such as restaurants.

Uncoated Printing Paper – Uncoated paper offers a look and feel that seems more natural. Some uncoated printing papers have distinct tactile features that emulate a rich, professional statement. Uncoated papers are also suitable for business cards, stationery, wedding invitations, or any purpose where presentation is of utmost importance.

Natural Printing Paper

Most of the available natural printing paper, including recycled paper, contain anywhere from 10% to 100% Post Consumer Waste (PCW) paper. You can also find some very unique natural printing papers made from 95% sugar cane waste material that are acid-free, and archival safe (meaning they won’t yellow or crumble over time). Natural papers can also be quite decorative and are also commonly used for embossed printing.

Synthetic Printing Paper

For durability and longevity try using synthetic printing paper. Synthetic paper (plastic) is most suitable for printing outdoor signage, menus or even notebooks used in the field where moisture or humidity is a concern. Synthetic means it’s also water resistant printing paper that won’t tear easily and can be utilized for decal printing and label printing.

If you still have any questions about how to choose the best paper type for printing, please send us an email. You can also call PRI Graphics in Phoenix at 1-602-393-3131 or through our toll free line at 1-877-409-8889We will be happy to assist you.

Read Additional Articles on Digital Printing:

Creating & Preparing Print Ready Files

Preparing print ready files for digital printing simply means getting your files ready for print.

The digital files must contain all the necessary specifications for optimal printing without the need for any additional adjustments or changes. If a print shop has to fix files before printing there may be an additional cost. Preparing print ready files alleviates frustration, saves time, and is much more cost effective.

Here are five tips to help you when creating and preparing print ready files:

1. First, Ask Your Printer What They Need for Print Ready Files

Speak with your printer beforehand and ask them what they need. What file type, image resolution, and color palette are required in preparing print ready files. Every shop has different specifications depending on their equipment. There’s no point in preparing print ready files until you have the correct specs from the printer you will be working with.

2. What Color Palette Choice Should You Use

A computer monitor uses the RGB color palette. Printing equipment uses the CMYK color palette. The colors on printed projects will differ from your RGB monitor colors. To ensure the colors you want are rendered properly, specify Pantone (CMYK) colors instead of your RGB monitor colors. Pantone colors are your best bet for color integrity.

3. Raster vs. Vector Images for Print Ready Files

Raster images are based on pixels (Photoshop files). Vector images are based on mathematics (Illustrator files). Vector image scaling is intuitive so you can scale your image to any size without distortion. Raster images cannot be scaled so be sure to use the appropriate image type for your project. Ask your printer what image type is needed before preparing print ready files.

4. Photo Sizing & Resolution

Unfortunately, you can’t make a bad photo better (or a small photo bigger). For example, a 640 x 480 pixel photograph cannot be scaled, so it’s not possible to stretch a small pixel photo to fit a large banner. When preparing print ready files, make sure that your photos are scanned to the finished size (the size they will be when printed). The photos should also be optimized to at least 300 dpi or higher. Ask us if you need help understanding photo sizing and resolution to create print ready files.

In Phoenix, call PRI Graphics toll free, at 1-877-409-8889 with any questions you may have or send us an email.

5. Choosing Print Sheet Sizes

With today’s digital printing techniques, we can now print on many different types of paper, including different paper sizes and weights. Printed sheet sizes are determined by the finished size of the document. But there are ways to save on printing costs. For instance, two 8 1/2” x 11” printed documents (no bleed) can be printed together on one 11” x 17” sheet.

If you still have questions about how to create print ready files, you can talk to our printing experts at PRI Graphics.

Call us anytime at 602-393-3131 or toll free at 1-877-409-8889. You can also find information in our PDF file entitled How to Place an Order and Upload Files.

You may also be interested in our article about Document Scanning, Storage and Archiving.