Headquartered in Omro, Wis., Printco offers a “Paper Knowledge” webinar at www.printco.com, showing how characteristics of different papers not only impact the look of projects, but bindery operations, as well. “I always tell people to first consider how [a piece] will be used, then the budget of the customer,” said Ken Sperling, president.
As for a paper’s finish, a glossy stock is best when showcasing attention-getting graphics. When dealing with a lot of text, Sperling recommended a matte or dull finish, since any glare on the sheet may impede the reader’s progress.
Application also dictates the proper weight of the paper. For instance, is it printed on one or two sides; is the piece going to be reused or just viewed once and thrown away; will the piece be mailed? “The heavier the weight, the more expensive the paper. As for grade of paper, most consumers can not tell the difference between a premium grade and a #1 grade,” observed Sperling. “But, if your customers are paper savvy, you need to be aware of their needs. Most printers have a ‘house’ paper which is likely to be a higher grade. Because printers order and stock more of this paper, it will be a good value for the customer.”
Furthermore, choosing the right paper depends on the bindery functions to be performed, since weight and grain direction have a bearing on the quality of folds. Sperling explained that heavier weights of paper require scoring before folding to minimize cracking. Grain direction affects the quality of perforations, and for embossing, paper with longer fibers is required.
Coatings such as UV, varnish and aqueous spot and flood coverage are other factors to consider when choosing paper. “And, if you’re planning on mailing the printed piece, how the piece will be addressed will have a bearing on the weight of the paper and finish,” Sperling continued. “The minimum paper weight for standard postcard size is .007", but heavier weights will make it through the sorting process in better shape. When ink jet addressing, you may want to choose a stock that is coated on one side. The ink will dry faster on the uncoated side of the sheet, allowing the mail service to finish the project faster and at a lower cost.”
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