Paper is made from a whole variety of trees, and about 13% of trees harvested in Canada are used in the production of paper products. Once the bark has been removed, the logs are reduced to woodchips and turned into pulp. Non-cellulose (fibrous) materials are extracted using heat and pressure and the fibers begin to bond with each other. More water is removed and the dried mats which form are then pressed into sheets, dried, and become huge rolls of paper.
Different Types of Paper
There is a multitude of different types of paper, each manufactured for a different purpose. All paper stock, however, is either coated or uncoated. Uncoated paper is more absorbent and has a non-glare surface. It is easier to write on and is generally used for things like stationery, envelopes, flyers, and newsletters. Coated paper is covered with a hardened clay that brings out the detail and color in both text and graphics. It can have a matte finish or be very glossy, but either way, it is more difficult to write on. Coated paper is perfect for brochures, postcards, catalogues, and reports.
Paper also comes in different thicknesses and weights. Coverstock is thicker and used for things like business cards and report covers while text stock is much thinner. Fine paper is usually less expensive but won’t have the same durability and impact as a thicker stock.
The brightness and opacity of the paper will also have a big impact on the appearance of a finished project. The brighter the paper, the more readable the print and vibrant the colors look. Opacity refers to how much of the printing shows through when you hold the paper up to the light. You will want a higher opacity if you’re planning to print on both sides.
Finally, there is any number of specialty coatings that can help preserve or accentuate printed works. An aqueous coating will make a printed piece virtually waterproof while a UV coating adds a super glossy shine but isn’t recommended for works that will be folded, rolled or embossed. Lamination encases a piece of paper and protects it from the elements such as moisture, dirt, and dust. UV Lamination also protects from fading due to the sun.
Index & Bond Paper
These are the workhorses of the printing universe and in combination supply the perfect material for most of our clients’ needs.
Index Paper is a stiff card stock with an attractive smooth finish. It is less expensive than cover stock and holds the ink very well. It is available in different weights, which makes it equally suited to brochures, tabs, divider pages, covers, folders and a host of other common applications.
Bond Paper is durable and perfect for letterhead, stationery, forms and other business documents. It has good absorption and rigidity and can be either coated or uncoated. It also comes in different weights with varying levels of opacity and brightness.
Now that you have got the basics, you are all set to choose exactly the right paper for your project. Remember that coating, thickness, brightness and opacity will all affect the look and feel of your printed documents, so be sure to consider each one before you make your final decision.