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How to Choose Paper for Printing Your Next Project

Read time: 4 minutes  |  Author: PRI Graphics  |  Posted: February 15th, 2022

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. The paper you select can have a substantial impact on the overall feel and look of your finished project.

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.

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Types of Paper for Printing – by Project

Are you thinking of postcard printing, or creating mailers, leaflets, or flyers? How about business card printing in color or black and white? Do you need high-quality presentation printing? Perhaps you’re venturing into new territory, like digital metallic printing for a luxe effect?

It’s essential to ask the right questions before you choose between the available types of paper 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? Are you looking to print items with environmental considerations in mind?

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. See this post on How Paper Can Affect Print Quality.

Coated vs Uncoated Types of Paper for Printing

Coated Printing Paper

Coated paper is an excellent choice when print clarity is important or if your project contains high-resolution images as found in product sheets, menus, brochures, or catalogs. Glossy coated printing paper offer finishes that have a reflective surface, presenting a rich, satin-like feel. Matte coated paper absorbs light, reducing glare and making it easier to read in low-light situations.

Uncoated Printing Paper

Uncoated paper offers a look and feel that seems more natural. It’s an excellent choice for projects where you want the colors to appear softer and less shiny. Uncoated papers are often suitable for business cards, stationery, wedding invitations, or any purpose where a refined presentation is of utmost importance.

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Natural Printing Paper

Natural printing paper, including recycled paper, is a great option for environmentally conscious print projects. They contain anywhere from 10% to 100% Post Consumer Waste (PCW) paper, and some unique options are made from 95% sugar cane waste material. These eco-friendly options are acid-free and archival safe, meaning they won’t yellow or crumble over time. Their textures can also be quite unique, often lending themselves well to embossed printing.

Synthetic Printing Paper

For durability and longevity, try using synthetic printing paper. Synthetic paper, a type of plastic paper, is most suitable for printing outdoor signage, menus, or even notebooks used in the field where moisture or humidity is a concern. This type of paper for printing is water-resistant and tear-resistant, making it ideal for decal printing and label printing.

Sustainability Considerations

In recent years, sustainability has become a critical factor in the printing industry. When choosing a paper, consider its environmental impact. For example, FSC-certified paper ensures that the paper comes from responsibly managed forests.


If you still have any questions about the best types of paper for printing, please send us an email.

You can also call PRI Graphics in Phoenix at 602-393-3131 or through our toll-free line at 1-877-409-8889. We will be happy to assist you.

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About the Author

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PRI Graphics – Director, Marketing & Brand Management

PRI Graphics is a marketing and design expert who is passionate about new emerging trends in digital media and business strategy. A member of AMA with a PCM® in marketing management, he continues to strengthen his knowledge and skill sets in the marketing ecosystem. Prior to joining PRI, he pursued a career in filmmaking and carries on the passion for brand development.