When it comes to printing, choosing the right paper type is extremely important in making sure you get your desired output.

But, where to start?

There are various types of paper available to you, each with its own unique properties and benefits that make it suitable for different printing needs. Selecting the right type of paper will save you time, money and get the best returns for your business – so read on to understand the types of paper available and the differences between them!


The most common types of paper for printing

Printer paper

One of the most commonly used paper types in printing is printer paper. Printer paper is very versatile and often used for a wide range of printing needs. Commonly available in different sizes, weights, and finishes this type of paper is highly suitable for everything from everyday printing to high-quality photo printing. Another popular paper type is recycled paper, which is made from recycled materials and is an eco-friendly option for those looking to reduce their environmental impact.

Other common types of paper used for printing include:

Coated Paper

Coated papers have a top coat of a protective polymer, which seals the ink and provides some resistance against damage like stains and tears. Coated paper is divided into three types: matte coated, gloss coated, and silk coated.

Uncoated Paper

Uncoated paper is used for writing and non-commercial printing. It doesn’t have a protective polymer coating, which makes it easy to write on. However, the lack of coating means it isn’t as durable as the coated alternative.

Matte Coated Paper

Matte coated paper has a soft, muted surface that minimises glare by refracting light. It feels textured and soft to touch, meaning it’s easy to write on, unlike gloss. This type of paper is commonly used for books and large copy-based print. It’s also ideal for displays in strong natural light conditions as well as a good choice for printed products in challenging dim lighting.

Glossy Paper

Glossy paper has a very high shine and feels smooth. Being more reflective, it makes colours more vivid and can make them ‘pop’. This makes it a popular paper choice for leaflets and flyers, as well as magazine and brochure covers. Its smooth finish is also perfect for photography, because it allows for sharp image reproduction.

Silk Coated Paper

Silk coated paper is the middle ground, between gloss and matte coated papers. By binding silk fibres together, it delivers the best of both worlds. It has a smooth, luxurious feel without shine, so is excellent for magazines and products in difficult light conditions.

Carbon-balanced Paper

Carbon-balanced paper is a more environmentally conscious option for printing. This choice is more commonly used by companies wishing to offset their carbon footprint.


Cardstock is a heavy paper and, by weighing more and being durable, it’s ideal for creating business cards, invitations, and postcards. It is also used for printing covers or pages that require extra durability.

Bond Paper

Bond paper is a high-quality, durable paper that is commonly used for letterheads, envelopes, and other business documents. It’s also a popular choice for printing legal documents, as it’s resistant to tearing and ink smudging.


Understanding the basics of paper


One important factor to consider when choosing paper is its weight, which is measured in grams per square metre (gsm) or grammage. The higher the gsm, the thicker and heavier the paper. 


You should also consider the brightness of the paper, which refers to how much light the paper reflects. A higher brightness level can make colours appear more vibrant. And so it’s important to think about your design and printing needs when selecting the brightness.


Opacity is another important property of paper. It measures how much light can pass through the paper, and a higher opacity level can prevent text or images from showing through to the other side of the page.


The finish of the paper can also affect its appearance and feel. Matte paper has a muted surface that refracts light subtly and evenly, reducing any glare. Glossy paper, on the other hand, has a high shine and a smooth tactile feel. Silk paper is somewhere in between, with a semi-gloss finish. There are also other finishes available including soft touch matt, multilayer, foiled spot uv and more.


Paper for Different Applications

Business Cards

You should always opt for durable and thick paper when printing your business cards. They’re often frequently handled and so it’s important that they can withstand more than regular paper can. Cardstock paper is a popular choice as it’s available in a range of weights and finishes.

Flyers and Posters

As flyers and posters are commonly distributed at scale or used at events, the paper that you choose should be sturdy enough to withstand handling. Glossy paper is often used for its vibrant colours and high-quality finish, while matte paper can provide a more subdued, professional look.

Documents and Brochures

The paper that you choose for your document and brochure printing needs to be easy to read and handle. This means that regular printer paper can work well, with glossy or matte paper also being a popular choice as it provides a professional finish. 

Magazines and Leaflets

Glossy paper is commonly used for magazines and leaflets as they’re durable and allow for the printing of vibrant colours with a high-quality finish. Matte paper, which provides a more subdued & professional look, is also often used.

For speciality printing including brochures, leaflets and commercial printing contact the team at Smart Inc today.