5 Types of Paper for Printing & What They’re Used for

A company’s printed materials say a lot about who they are. Whether you’re printing business cards for your employees, leaflets for an upcoming trade show, or a flyer for a direct mail campaign, the materials you create represent your business to the rest of the world. Therefore, every element must be perfect — right down to the paper you use.

Different paper types can communicate different things to your customers or clients. With the right type of paper, you can make your documents (and by extension, your business) seem more professional or high-end than with standard printer paper. But how do you know which paper type is “right” for your project? Here are a few of the most common types of paper you’ll find in print marketing.

Matte Ink dries quickly, easy to read, boosts black and white contrast Text-heavy leaflets and flyers (ideally without colour images)
Glossy Absorbs more ink for vibrant colours, high-quality, professional appearance Leaflets, menus, or any other project that features colourful, detailed images
Silk Shiny surface (less so than glossy paper,) soft to the touch, luxurious look and feel Magazine pages, posters, portfolios, or any other project that needs to look and feel very high-quality
Bond Very durable paper, holds ink well (great for logos and other small images) Company stationery (letterheads, envelopes etc.), official reports and documents, and any other project that needs to last a long time
Cardstock Very thick and durable, can withstand extra wear and tear Business cards, booklets, leaflets, and any other project that will be passed around quite a lot

Matte Paper

Matte paper is one of the most popular types of paper for printed marketing materials because it is easy to use and very versatile (not to mention cheap). Matte paper is finished with a fine white coating that helps boost contrast (resulting in sharper images), makes ink dry faster (speeding up the printing process), and eliminates glare (making the page easier to read).

You can use matte paper for just about any printing task, from company leaflets to your own resume. However, the paper’s versatility can also be a drawback — because matte paper is so common, it doesn’t really elicit the same feelings of “quality” or elegance that other paper types can provide.

When to Use It

If you need to print a leaflet, poster, or flyer quickly — and if the document is particularly text-heavy — matte paper is a great way to complete your project. However, this paper type is ultimately best for more subtle marketing materials that don’t use colour images.

Gloss Paper

While matte paper may be the most popular paper type for a quick, cost-efficient printed document, gloss paper is the most popular option for high-quality prints. In fact, it’s very likely you’ve seen this paper type in action; it’s a common choice for leaflets, menus, and printed photographs.

Gloss paper utilities a glossy surface (hence the name) to absorb as much ink as possible. This results in vibrant and rich colour documents that have more sharpness and clarity than materials printed on other paper types. This can make your designs really “pop” and set your work apart from your competitors.

When to Use It

As we’ve already mentioned, glossy paper is a popular choice for graphic designers creating leaflets, menus, photographic prints, and similar materials. However, it’s important to remember that glossy paper isn’t ALWAYS the right selection for these materials. It’s best to reserve glossy paper for projects that feature a lot of colour or sharp, high-resolution images.

Silk Paper

Let’s say that you want something in-between gloss and matte. You like the smooth finish glossy paper provides, but you don’t want all that shine to distract from your text. You also like the soft feel of matte paper, but want something that looks a little more upscale. What do you do? If you’re a graphic designer who knows her paper, you’ll reach for silk.

Silk paper is made by binding silk fibres together with cotton and other paper-making materials. This process results in a luxurious paper that’s soft to the touch and shiny, but not quite as shiny as your typical glossy paper.

When to Use It

Silk paper is a great choice for any project that needs a little extra glamour. Printers most commonly use silk paper for documents like magazines or posters, but it also makes for beautiful leaflets, portfolios, or other high-end marketing materials.

Bond Paper

Bond paper got its name from government bonds, as this durable paper was the go-to choice for printing them. This type of paper is made from rag pulp — a type of paper made from linen rags, rather than wood — which results in a very thick and hardy finished product.

Bond paper’s durability makes it a popular choice for official company documents like reports and company letterheads. But that’s not the only benefit to using bond paper in your business! The paper also holds onto ink rather well, which means that detailed images (like logos) look especially sharp when printed on bond paper.

When to Use It

Bond paper is most commonly used in reports, contracts, and envelopes. However, it’s also particularly useful for business cards, leaflets, and any other project that requires you to stand out from the pack. You could even print your resume or CV on bond paper to give prospective employers a great first impression!

Card Stock

If you’ve ever made a scrapbook, you’ve probably worked with card stock. This type of paper is much thicker than any of the papers we’ve listed here — which makes it incredibly sturdy and durable.

While card stock is typically reserved for the world of arts and crafts, there are certain business documents that can benefit from this strong paper type. If your document is going to be passed around a lot — like a business card or a booklet at a trade show — it might benefit from the extra strength card stock can provide.

When to Use It

As we just mentioned, business cards are a great use for card stock. The thick paper won’t tear or wear down even if your card is passed from colleague to colleague! Promotional materials like postcards or leaflets are also great opportunities to use card stock.

Get Great Prints on Any Type of Paper

Whether you need business cards, menus, or anything in between, it’s important that you have both the right type of paper AND the right printer. With online printers like Banana Print, you can easily create the perfect designs for all your projects. Take a look at how we can help your business today!

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