The experts at World Arts are here to help you choose the best paper stock to make your piece pop!

What’s the Difference between Coated and Uncoated Paper?

Designing a printed piece requires the ability to see into the future to forecast what the finished product will look like. Good quality photographs deserve to be printed on a paper that showcases their color and details that entices the viewer to stop and pay attention. While words do not necessarily need the same treatment, they need to be legible and convey their message without worry of smudging.

Choosing stock begins with the weight and type, then continues with the decision on whether coated or uncoated stock will accomplish the desired result. It is easy to see differences between a sheet of coated 80# text and an uncoated 80# text, but there is much more at work on the microscopic level. Ink may sit “on top” of the paper or it may soak into the fibers, and which type of paper you choose determines how the ink will react.

Does it sound like we’ve entered 11th grade Chemistry? In reality, printing is more of a mix of magic and science. Keep reading, and you will quickly learn to appreciate what coated and uncoated paper will do for your next print project.

Understand the Differences Between Coated and Uncoated Paper for Better Project Outcomes

How do you determine which option is best? Think about your current print project and what you want to accomplish, then consider these highlights of coated versus uncoated paper.

Coated Paper – Give Your Print Project the WOW! Factor

Coated Paper is manufactured with a coating on it that acts like a seal. Because of this seal, ink cannot penetrate into the fibers of the paper in the same way as on uncoated stock. Thus, the ink molecules essentially sit on top of the paper as a crisp microscopic dot. Several of these dots sitting on top create the bold, clean photographs so many of us enjoy.

When should you choose coated paper? Great question! Look to this paper for those projects that you want the color to ‘pop’ from the page. Coated stock is excellent for photographs with fine details. You will often find magazines, marketing postcards, yearbooks, even annual reports printed on coated paper.

You have almost inexhaustible versatility with coated paper. This option is fabulous for adding aqueous coatings, or you can play with varnishes for different looks. Coated paper is a malleable medium – that is – you can manipulate it to get the desired visual effect you seek.

There are many types of coated paper. You are not stuck with only glossy finishes. A few other popular finishes include dull, matte, and satin.

Uncoated Paper – Tried and True Workhorse in the Print Industry

Uncoated paper lacks any coatings, so it does not have a ‘seal’ on it. That means ink soaks into the fibers of the paper. While the imprint is not as crisp as you would receive on coated stock, it still produces a fine finish for its applications.

You should choose uncoated paper when you have a project heavy on content, such as books. Consider uncoated paper for educational books and booklets, manuals, novels, publications, some direct market pieces, envelopes, letterhead, activity books, and coloring books. University student publications needing a tactile feel from embossing and foil stamping benefit from uncoated paper.

Even uncoated paper is versatile. You are not limited to black and white printing. Instead, uncoated stock comes in a variety of colors and handles embossing and debossing, foil stamping, and letterpress. It also folds well. If you want the recipient to run their fingers across your project and “feel” it, uncoated paper offers you that tactile experience.

Uncoated paper comes in a variety of finishes. Are you looking for paper with a formal feel for an eclectic client who loves personal stationery? Try a laid or techweave finish. Other finishes include wove, smooth, and linen.

End the Coated vs. Uncoated Dilemma – Contact World Arts Today

Printing magic happens with a little bit of science and a team of experts. Trust the team at World Arts to aid you in finding the best choices to accomplish your printing goals. From stock choices to ink, from coatings to finishings, we have the expertise you need to ensure you get the WOW! factor you seek. Call us at 800-530-9202 today!

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