Salt Lake Mailing & Printing Blog

Characteristics of Paper

Paper comes in a variety of surface textures, finishes, weights, and brightness. Different projects call for different characteristics in paper. But, because of the many choices, it can be confusing.

It is thus recommended to view and feel the paper choices, before making a final decision on a large order. Knowing about the options available can assist in getting a printing project started.

Starting with the weight of the paper, weight is determined by the thickness of the paper. Brightness is rated according to the amount of blue light reflected by each batch. The brightness scale ranges from the lowest brightness of 1 to the highest level of 100.

Similar to the brightness, the opacity of paper is measured by shining light on it. But with opacity the measurement is how much light shines through the paper, not how much light is reflected. If a page is perfectly transparent, as with a clear sheet of plastic, it would be rated 0% opacity. A totally opaque page would be rated 100%.

Finally, the finish of the paper is described according to different qualities. Linen finish shows fine textured lines. A wove finish indicates an uncoated smooth surface. Stronger textured lines are used in a laid finish. Paper can be coated or uncoated, with a coating on one side or both to give it sheen. Depending upon the desired look of the finished product, the surface qualities should be compared in samples.

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