The Importance of Choosing Paper

Paper TypesYou put a lot of thought into your company's brand. You know the message you want your brochures, pamphlets, catalogs, and other marketing materials to send, and you've made sure the language in them conveys it precisely.

But with all the work you've put into crafting the perfect marketing campaign, you may have overlooked one seemingly small detail that can make a huge difference: The paper your materials are printed on.

The paper you choose says a lot about your brand. Making the wrong choice can send messages you don't want to send. For example, as Sabine Lenz wrote in an article on independent online paper database, a nonprofit that sends out a glossy, expensive-looking mailing for a fundraiser may give off the impression that they are doing well and can get by just fine without a donation. Similarly, a company that wants to associate its brand with luxury does itself a disservice when it chooses a thin, flimsy, low-quality paper.

Here are some things to consider when choosing paper.


Brightness is how white, or reflective, a paper is. A low brightness means less contrast between the paper and the ink or toner, making the whites look off-white, and the blacks look lighter. Brightness is important in setting the tone of your project. If you're looking to portray yourself as understated or traditional, a lower brightness rating may work well for you. But if you're trying to position yourself on the cutting-edge, you may need a higher brightness rating for more contrast and a sharper, more contemporary feel.


The finish refers to the coating on the paper. Some choose a glossy finish, others choose no coating. What you choose depends again on your content. If you want to focus on crisp, sharp images, you may opt for a gloss finish to enhance them. If you want to create a more natural, understated feel, you might decide to go without a coating. The latter choice is particularly useful for companies who used recycled paper to brand themselves as eco-friendly. A glossy finish could distract from the natural feel of the product. If you choose to coat your paper, you have a wide variety of finishes available to you, and Metzgers can help you find the one that's perfect for your project.


Weight refers to how heavy or thick a paper is. It is measured in pounds, which reflects the weight of 500 sheets of the uncut paper. A 20-pound rating is average, with better-grade stock weighing in at about 24 pounds and heavy postcard stock measuring about 110 pounds. Weight is a more practical concern than other choices you may make about your paper. If you're printing on both sides, for example, you'll want to make sure that the paper is thick enough that images on the other side will not show through. If you're mailing your project, a stock that is too heavy may result in higher postage. Coatings can also contribute to the weight of a paper, so it's a good idea to start light to account for ink, coatings, and add-ons like coupons or gift cards you may wish to incorporate into your mailing—all of which will affect the weight and drive the postage costs up.

At Metzgers, we can help you choose the perfect paper for your project, whether you already have ideas in mind or have barely given paper a thought. Our experts will take your brand into consideration and help you choose a paper that compliments it perfectly.

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