Commercial Printing Tips: Coated or Uncoated Paper?

Commercial printing, both offset and digital, can be done on a wide variety of types of paper and card stock.

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When you place your printing order, you must specify what kind of stock you wish to use, the weight, color, etc., to ensure your project comes out looking the way you imagined. In addition to these specifications, you must also choose between coated and uncoated paper or card stock.

What Is Coated Paper in Commercial Printing?

Have you ever tried to write on a glossy business card, only to have the ink smear all over your hand? If so, you’ve already learned about coated paper.

Coated stock is created through a manufacturing process wherein the paper is essentially steamed, pressed and polished. The result is a bonded coating that resists absorption. This ensures that the ink, once applied, will remain vibrant and true to its color.

Although the finish can be glossy or matte, coated paper is characterized by its smooth, slick appearance. It looks great for almost any commercial printing purpose and creates a finished product that is highly durable and resistant to degradation. The coating prevents the paper from absorbing the printing ink, and this renders a finished product with sharp, clear lines.

What Is Uncoated Paper in Commercial Printing?

Uncoated paper has a more natural look and feel, due in large part to the texture it retains in the manufacturing process. This stock can have a smooth finish; however, most uncoated stock used in commercial printing has a linen, laid, ribbed or felt texture.

This stock is more porous, and consequently, more prone to absorb inks when applied. The result is a less sharp appearance and a softer, slightly feathered finish. Colors tend to change slightly once they absorb. This means that a single ink color could appear slightly different with each type of uncoated paper it’s applied to.

Coated or Uncoated for Your Commercial Printing Job?

Common applications of coated paper include magazine and catalog printing, or any project with photographic or high-resolution images. What this material is not good for is any type of product that you may want to write or make notes on.

Uncoated paper is typically used for commercial printing jobs like business letterheads and envelopes, or any item that the end user may wish to write on. This stock also does not reflect light the way coated stock does, so it’s also good for anything intended to be read carefully.

Deciding on which type of paper you should use will depend primarily on what it is you’re printing, how long it needs to last, what type of conditions it will be exposed to and what you want it to look like.

If you want sharp color that pops, coated stock is right for you. If you want to convey a sense of luxury or venerability, uncoated may be what you want. But don’t worry, you’ll never have to make these decisions on your own when you work with Sun Print Solutions.

In Utah, Sun Print Solutions provides expert offset and digital printing services, packaging printing, shipping and fulfillment. Our expert team will assist you in choosing the right paper, ink and process for all your commercial printing needs.

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