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Getting the Most Out of Coated and Uncoated Papers

Uncoated papers have different qualities than coated sheets and require a different approach. Here are some tips from four paper experts to help you choose the right paper and get the best results.

January 2010
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Paper Selection Tips

The tedious selection of paper is crucial to the final printed piece, as it not only has to perform on press, but also on budget. When making the choice between coated and uncoated paper, consider that uncoated paper conveys a sense of fiscal and environmental responsibility. Uncoated paper produces beautiful printed results and is also comfortable. Its non-glare surface makes reading effortless and its luxurious bulk feels substantial.—Beth A. Povie, Finch Paper LLC

If you're trying to achieve an upscale-look without the cost, select a smooth, color copy paper with high brightness. Many inks and toners come out looking shiny on uncoated paper, adding to the expensive look. If looking for a sheet with a soft tactile finish (vs. the colder, harder surface of a coated sheet), textures such as bark, crepe or felt are the answer.—Andrea Alstad, Wausau Paper

Each paper has characteristics that will influence how the final product will look. For example a brighter or bluer paper will contribute to a winter scene while a warmer color paper might be better for flesh tones or food products. A brighter paper is said to give the image more contrast and the illusion of a whiter sheet of paper. The smoothness of the paper surface will affect the gloss of the paper. A lower gloss paper surface, such as a matte, satin, dull or uncoated paper, makes it easier to read type, while a higher gloss paper surface can produce sharp/contrast images with a high ink gloss that makes the image pop from the page.—Brian Fenner, NewPage

While the different types of coated paper are identified by number (#1, #2, #3 and #4), uncoated papers have names such as Offset, Opaque, or Text and Cover. The different categories reflect quality steps in brightness, opacity, formation, shade, print quality and environmental attributes.—Beth A. Povie, Finch Paper LLC

Sustainability and Paper Choice

With the green movement becoming mainstream, the softer and natural look of uncoated papers has increased in popularity. In addition to white, there are a plethora of earth-toned uncoated papers available on the market, including muted browns and greens like bamboo, weathered oak and thyme. Many uncoated papers also carry important environmental certifications such as Green Seal and Forest Stewardship Council.—Andrea Alstad, Wausau Paper

 

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