Choosing the right printer paper for a job will go a long way in prolonging your printer’s lifespan and improving the quality of your work.
As they say, it takes two to tango. You’ll discover that your printer would function optimally if you use the right paper. There’s danger in using the wrong paper for your printer. The last thing you want is for your client to be unsatisfied with your work- especially after so much has gone to the designing and formatting process of the content.
You see, it might seem easier to go to the market and simply get a standard office copy paper and be done with your job already, but the truth is, now more than ever, papers are now being manufactured for different purposes/jobs. If you are going to distinct yourself in this line of work with professionalism, your printer paper choice is noteworthy.
I must correct an impression at this point; choosing the right printer paper is more technical than buying an expensive sheet, and I hope you’ve made the best choice. No. in fact, I dare say the right choice of printer paper has little to do with paper quality and shouldn’t be your first criterion. The most appropriate choice of paper (without exempting quality) equates to the best paper for the job.
Let me quickly hint you one of the failures of not choosing the right paper. You see that paper jam you sometimes experience when printing may not always be the fault of your printer; sometimes, you may need to reconsider the type of paper you’re using.
In this write-up, you will find a compilation of the main tips worthy of your attention to guide your printer paper choice. Before we get into those details, let’s look at the types of paper.
Types Of Paper
There is a fundamental reason for the different types of paper available on the market. It presupposes that each type is specific to a function; I mean, would you rather print your photos on a copy and multipurpose paper than on a photo paper?
While the name suggests that this paper is adaptable to different printing, including laser printing, inkjet printing, and photocopying, they may not be suitable for heavy ink printing. They are often used for printing document text pages and are manufactured in a wide variety of weight, size, and color.
Cardstock is a thicker and heavier copy paper used for printing report covers, business cards, and heavy-duty applications.
The inkjet paper is specifically designed for printing photographs because of its ability to absorb the inks used in inkjet printing.
It may sound weird if I said cotton fibers are used in manufacturing papers, but that is for real and for true with bond paper. Its composition is high in cotton textile fibers or cotton rags, giving it a thicker, more substantial texture. Back in the days, a bond paper was used for printing official documents, such as government bonds, from where the paper derived its name, “bond”. However, in recent times, bond papers are used for letterhead, stationery, and drawings with ink, markers, and even pencils.
This paper is specifically designed for laser printing; the paper has been designed to withstand the heat that accompanies this type of printing where special rollers fuse colored toners inks to the paper.
Photo papers are usually glossy or matte and designed for high-quality image printing, especially with an inkjet printer.
Key Factors To Consider For Choosing The Right Printer Paper
Now, you have a printing job, and you are about to get on the work. When you get to the printing shop, what are the key features to consider before choosing your printer paper?
You have seen a business card, a printed document, or an architectural plan; a visible distinguishing feature is the paper size, right? Whatever the printing job is, there’s a paper size that can accommodate it. Here’s where to probably begin. Printing paper comes in different sizes; hence, discerning the paper size needed for a particular job will differentiate between an awkwardly done job and a professional-looking piece.
Imagine a picture on a paper larger than the picture’s dimension; too much white and empty space around the picture, or the picture will be larger than the paper size. In some cases, you may have to skew the document dimension to fit into the paper size, and the final outcome will look unpresentable and strange.
Now, suppose the job you need to print does not have its dimensionally fitted paper size available on the market. In that case, you may have to skew the dimension to the nearest paper size per dimension, or you could order a custom-cut paper from a local print store.
How important is the weight of your printing paper? Think about how a sturdy card survives tears and creases, making it the best for business cards. Business cards are frequently passed from hand to hand; hence, thick papers will be suitable for printing business cards. A paper with quite heavyweight is best for artwork and promotional items if preserving the quality is vital. Documents, such as the inner parts of booklets that don’t require sturdiness only need lighter-weight papers.
You should be careful here, though, because if you’re changing your choice of paperweight for the first time, you don’t want to pick the incorrect weight, lest you are left with jams, and consequently, a damaged machine. Each printer has a weight number they can handle or print on, check and double-check it, ensuring it matches the number on the wrapper of your printing paper.
Deciding on paperweight may not be as simple as it sounds; so, it might take a bit of research. There is information on the net that can guide you on the paperweight appropriate for different types of jobs.
You’re probably thinking, is brightness also a thing? The brightness of a paper comes to play when legibility is vital. Your prints are more legible on brighter papers, and the more contrast your printouts will have. This does not generally make brighter papers better, as there are moments when dull papers are just appropriate. What you choose will also depend on the desired appearance of the colors on the printed material.
However, note that despite the recent hype going on with paper brightness, there is no reason to get hung up on this factor. Why? This is because the grade of paper brightness is basically marketing. A quality, bright paper is generally more costly to manufacture but also has its downside in the actual printing. Fillers and chemicals are needed to create a paper’s bright appearance; while they give the paper a fine shade, they take a toll on its stability and performance under printing. Although there are top-notch sheets in both brightness and performance simultaneously, how can you tell just by looking at it? You could ask your supplier for a printed sample of the paper.
Colored papers are usually quickly associated with kids, but the right colored paper for your printing could be eye-catching and, in some cases, marks the document as important. Choosing colors that match is a tricky business. I must admit that the writer is inept in color combination. You don’t want the combination of your prints and the paper to result in an appalling appearance; rather, they should complement each other. First, legibility; then, the printout must be readable to the eyes.
One other factor to consider is color mixture. If you have not forgotten your elementary art class, the mixture of blue and red colors will give a green color. So, while colored paper can enhance your colored job, it could also change pictures and texts’ appearance. For instance, a spot of blue ink on yellow paper will give a green appearance.
Papers are made from synthetic fibers, wood fibers, cloth, and even plastic, all of which serve different purposes. Some of the types of finished paper material have been discussed in this article, but I will highlight them all here:
- Bond paper: is strong, durable, and made from rag pulp (the average sheet is made from low-grade wood pulp). It is suitable for envelopes, typed reports, and letterheads.
- Gloss coated paper: is suitable for brochures and flyers because of its high shine. The advantage is the ink does not rub off when it dries; hence, a seal varnish would not be needed.
- Matte coated paper: is produced to prevent glare. Hence, it’s not shiny, just the opposite of gloss. It is suitable for flyers, reports, and leaflets.
- Recycled paper: is perfect for our environmental-friendly folks. It is made from reused paper products and suitable for most documents, including forms, memo papers, and reports.
- Silk coated paper: lies between gloss and silk. The paper is smooth and silky to the touch but without the shine of a gloss paper. It is suitable for books, magazines, and catalogs.
- Uncoated paper: has no coating, making it excellent for absorbing ink and suitable for printing and pen-writing. This paper is ideal for memo papers, forms, and letterheads.
- Watermarked paper: is used for high-quality paper with a feel of luxury. It is often used for important documents that require security features, such as certificates.
The finish of a document is the final presentation of your printout. It is what often gives your client the impression of how inept or otherwise you are when it comes to printing and publishing documents. Although the finish of a document depends on graphics and the likes, your choice of paper type is the first step. For instance, the finish of a glossy photo paper gives a different effect than matte photo paper. So, you see, in this regard, the impression you want to make on the receiver will determine your paper choice.
Although there are no set-in-stone rules, general binding rules are:
- Glossy printing is eye-catching, making it appropriate for artistic and design-based print jobs because you want to express the colors.
- Matte finish is more appropriate for documents that are meant to be read because they are easier on the eyes.
- Some printings showcase fingerprints; a satin gloss finish is more professional for such jobs.
There are different kinds of printing, like laserjet printing and printing processes, such as foil stamping, embossing, letterpress, and the likes. If your job is on any of these specialty printing processes, you’d want to ensure your paper type is suitable for the process. For instance, digital printing is becoming more prevalent; a mistake you’re likely to make is to mistake a digital sheet for an offset press or vice versa. The difference between these two sheets is that while a digital sheet is designed to withstand a digital printer’s high heat and low moisture conditions, an offset sheet functions optimally under low temperature with liquid inks.
If printing is a new business you’d like to venture into, and you’re without a prior insight into the requirements, you will likely get frustrated when it comes to the choice of printing paper. As earlier opined, choosing the right printer paper is not first dependent on the cost of purchase, but understanding the purpose of different kinds of paper available in the market.
However, do not fret – it’s not rocket science; it’s not the reason to completely abandon the idea or the business. Rest assured the information supplied in this report is enough for you to work with and make the right decisions.
The printing business may be a tricky business, but finding your way through paper types is not an impossible task. It will help a great deal if you ask for the insights of experts in your local printing store.
Remember, in choosing the right printer paper, it’s not about the cost of the paper but rather the purpose it’s meant to fulfil.