Choosing paper for your project can go two ways – blind date to the food court kind of bad OR swept off your feet, can’t get enough amazing. With literally thousands of paper types, textures, weights, and coatings to choose from, navigating the paper “dating pool” can be a bit daunting, thankfully, we have a few tips to help you find the perfect match for your project without having to worry about swiping left or right.

 

1. IDENTIFY THE PURPOSE

Different papers serve different purposes. A one-time event program which will be recycled at the end of the day needs a different paper than a post card which has to withstand being carted around in the mail or an annual report which will need to be utilized multiple times. Knowing the purpose of your project narrows down your paper type and quality to the best fit for the task.

2. KNOW YOUR PERSONALITY

A luxury realtor wouldn’t use standard printer paper to advertise their latest million-dollar listing and a non-profit asking for donations with an embossed premium package would be a bit extravagant. Think about the feeling your project should convey to have the greatest effect – then select your paper accordingly.

3. FIT WITH YOUR FINISH

Some designs need gloss, others matte or a textured finish. Crisp photos and images do well on a coated gloss paper, while specialty papers create a unique finished product. With access to every paper mill in the United States, your paper options through Ironside know no limits.

4. COLOR & BRIGHTNESS MATTER

There’s no such thing as “white” paper. There’s blue white, natural white, soft white, balanced white, warm white – the list goes on. What you need to know is that each color of paper has a different application. Blue whites allow colors to pop, but can make skin tones look a bit gray (a warm white would be a better fit). Warm whites are good for extended viewing as they are easier on the eyes than a bluer hue. The idiosyncrasies with each paper color also vary with the printing process so it’s a good idea to talk to your printer before making a final decision.

5. CUT COSTS WITHOUT CUTTING QUALITY

Paper comes in a few standard sizes and depending on the document size and press type, portions of your paper will end up as waste. While a little bit of paper excess is inevitable, working with your designer and printer can help to reduce the amount of paper that goes straight to the recycle bin. Altering the document size by just half an inch can sometimes mean the difference between two and four copies per sheet.

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