JavaScript is required to properly view this page. Please enable JavaScript to navigate this site.

How to: Choose Your Paper

  • Brightness/Whiteness
    How bright do you want your paper to be?
    • brightness affects readability.
  • Weight
    • Weight, bulk, and caliper all refer to the thickness of the paper.
    • Given the complex nature of these measurements, ask for samples before making a decision.
  • Size
    • Size refers to the dimensions of the paper, height x length before trimming.
    • GREEN TIP: Consider the best way to use a given paper size before determining the dimensions of your finished design.
  • Surface
    Surface is also referred to as the paper finish.
    • Includes gloss, matte, dull, and silk
    • Smoother than uncoated. The smoother the surface, the less ink soaks into the paper.
    • Includes textured and specialty stocks
    • Requires more ink
    • Less precise, but faster
    • Uncoated stock is less reflective, and is a good choice for finished products that are intended to be written on or read extensively.
  • Texture
    • Texture refers to the subtle (or less subtle) way the paper feels. This also affects the appearance of the finished piece.
    • Examples incude linen, felt and wove.
  • Opacity
    • Refers to the show-through of ink from the other side of the paper
  • Grain Direction
    • Papers can be grain long or grain short, which refers to the direction of the grain relative to the dimensions of the sheet.
    • Grain direction can affect the stiffness of a fold.


A quick primer on paper.