Coated vs Uncoated Paper
It’s important to put stock in your stock; you want to find the best paper for your printing needs. There’s a wide amount of variation in the stock you can use; a variety of coatings are available, as well as variation in thickness. You can even find synthetic stock, which we’ll discuss at greater length in another blog post. One of the most important decisions you’ll make about your stock is whether or not it is coated (glossy) or uncoated (matte). The decision you make will change how colours appear on your finished product.
Uncoated paper is more absorbent than it’s glossy cousin; that means when the ink is printed onto the paper, the colours will appear less saturated as the paper absorbs the ink. It’s important to keep this in mind when printing on matte paper, so the colours come out the way you want; you don’t want your carefully plotted graphic looking dull! To combat this, printers use colour matching systems like the PMS in order to show you how a particular ink will appear on a matte paper.
Coated paper comes in a variety of types, from glossy to dull; whichever of these you choose, your coated paper will have colours that look sharper than if they were printed on uncoated paper. That’s because coated paper has a surface that’s less absorbent than uncoated paper. Coated paper is more reflective than it’s matte cousin, and that will affect the perception of colour; it’s not uncommon to see considerable glare from lighting on a glossy paper. The less reflective your coating is, the less likely it is that you’ll see glare off the paper. Glossy paper is also more likely to let blemishes show; fingerprints and other oils are more likely to be visible when you use a coated paper.
Whether or not you should choose coated or uncoated paper depends heavily on what the goal of your project is. When you’re creating a black-and-white piece, matte is obviously best; it will likely look more realistic, as coated paper can oversaturate the appearance of dark inks. Matte paper is also a better pick for photos with a lot of texture, as the different amounts of ink on every square inch of the paper will be absorbed, adding to the appearance of depth. Items that you don’t want reflecting a lot of light or that would be damaged by repeat handling should also be printed on uncoated paper. Direct mailing might be better on glossy paper; it’s often less expensive than it’s matte cousin, the saturated colours will command attention, and it won’t matter if the material is a bit reflective.
If you’re not sure what kind of stock you should use, head down to Print Pro so we can discuss your project! We can help you choose stock for anything from a banner for your trade show to highly effective business cards. There’s a variety of coated papers that aren’t “glossy”, and uncoated paper comes in a plethora of types, too! We’ll guide you through the essentials, and find the best match for your project.