Types of Papers

In the market, you will get different types of papers. It is upon you to choose from the different varieties available. However, to achieve top-quality printing, you need to get the best suitable paper for your project, which brings out both textual and visual contents of your graphic design or publishing project. 

Again, choosing from the available different paper types is challenging due to the variety of sheets, all with different characteristics. Moreover, each paper type has a unique finish, processing type, and weight which determines the paper’s thickness, transparency, appearance, weight, feel opaqueness, and durability. 

This article will inform you of available paper types, characteristics, and uses.

Types of Papers- Printing Paper Types 

1. Laser Printer Paper

take paper from printer

Laser printer paper refers to a specially coated paper treated to withstand the laser printer’s high heat levels that fix polymer toner to the paper. To print the toner fuses to the page to create your image or text. Laser printer paper often comes with a matte finish to prevent smudging and ensure fast drying.

However, this heat toner fusing process gives text and sharp images easy to read. Laser printer paper is standard with laser printers making it a common fixture in any office. Again, the paper gives excellent daily invoices, memos, and standard workplace documents printing results. 

Laser Printer Paper thickness

You can get laser printer paper in various weights up to 60 lbs. and above. The most common laser printer paper thickness and weight are between 20lbs and 28lbs. However, note that the thicker the paper, the more challenging it will be to fuse the ink correctly on each sheet. 

Always ensure you read your printers’ manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure your printer is calibrated correctly for excellent thicker paper handling. With this, you will get good-quality texts and images. 

Uses

  • Standard workplace documents
  • Memos 
  • Invoices

2. Inkjet Paper

printing out paper

An inkjet printer paper has a unique design to absorb liquid ink from a printer without distorting or spreading ink on the text or image you print. Inkjet paper has a special coating that allows absorption of ink and still prints readable and crisp documents while keeping the images vibrant, not blurry. 

Paper thickness

The standard weight to you for your everyday printing needs and texts heavy documents on your inkjet printer is 20lbs. Besides, if your document has several images, you need a heavier 24lbs paper, which reduces the chances of ink bleeding to the other side of the page. 

On the other hand, it’s good to use photo-quality inkjet paper if you want to print a photo on your inkjet printer. The paper can either have a matte, glossy, or satin finish depending on your preference. On weight, many times inkjet photo paper has 24lbs to 70lbs thickness.

3. Inkjet Transfer Paper 

As the name suggests, you can use inkjet transfer paper in inkjet printers for t-shirt transfers. Also, you can use it to transfer an image onto another object. This paper has two layers; the first layer traps the ink while the second layer protects it until you peel the paper away. 

For proper inkjet transfer paper use, print your image onto the paper. However, ensure you print your transfer image in reverse or mirror image on the paper for the image or text to appear upright. On the contrary, your text may appear backward once you transfer it to the object’s surface. 

After your image is ready, peel back the top layer and press it onto the object you want to bear the image. You can use heat on the object to transfer the ink to the t-shirt or object surface. 

Uses of Inkjet papers

  • Business cards
  • Greeting cards 
  • Photography

4. Cardstock Paper

white cardstock paper

Cardstock refers to thicker, heavier, and sturdier papers than standard or regular paper. Also, the paper is more durable than standard paper. However, the paper is more flexible and thinner than cardboard and paper board, making it ideal for crafts and art, due to its sturdy and heavy design, compared to standard paper. You can use cardstock for card making and paper crafting. 

Again, the paper is durable, making it ideal for postcards, business cards, catalog covers, playing cards, and scrapbooking. This paper can have a metallic, glossy, or textured smooth surface. Sometimes a cardstock can be called “cover stock” when it has a glossy coating on one or both sides; you can use this paper in book covers and business cards. 

Types of Card Stock Paper

Matte cardstock papers: 

They have a rough surface making them more ink absorbent. The papers are best suited for generating printouts faster since the ink is absorbed and dried. However, these papers are suitable for official files and formal documents printing. 

Glossy cardstock papers:

Glossy cardstock papers are thicker than standard cardstock. Again, the papers have a glossy surface, making them ideal for birthday cards, gift cards, and invitation cards. Laser printers work best to get the best glossy paper results. 

Acid-free cardstock:

Like any paper, cardstock paper acid-free cardstock constitutes wood pulp. Besides, an acid-free cardstock is available in the market, mainly white. But also available in other shades with a spotted rough texture. And it’s perfect for scrapbooking. 

Bright white cardstock paper:

Generally, this cardstock paper is non-textured and has a smooth surface. Again, the paper is thicker than white paper, making it ideal for double-sided document printing. For best results, use inkjet printers for printing. 

Patterned cardstock papers: 

Patterned cardstock papers are the most unique and exciting cardstock papers. The papers are available in different themes and shades. Also, the papers are versatile since you can make anything from a card to large cardstock boxes; since the papers come in different smooth, rough, and glittery textures. 

Cotton cardstock: 

This cardstock paper has a fine smooth texture and is more organic. Again, although the paper is comparatively high in price, it is not for official use but instead used for making invites and gift cards. 

Canvas cardstock:

This cardstock is the toughest, with an interwoven fabric pattern, somehow giving them a rough texture. However, since the paper is the strongest, it is more long-lasting and suitable for high-end projects. The papers are available in different colors and have a relatively high price. 

Linen cardstock:

Linen cardstock has a fabric-like texture. Again, these papers are flexible and soft but less durable than canvas. However, these papers give a synthetic leather-like appearance. And are best suited for official purpose business letters and menu cards for hotels and restaurants. 

Parchment cardstock:

This paper has semi-translucent paper. The paper has a marble-like and dense appearance and gives a unique look to your items. Luckily, this paper will give you excellent print with a laser or inkjet printer. However, the paper doesn’t give a variety of colors.  

Why choose cardstock

You have several reasons to use cardstock for printing. Maybe you like their appearance, texture, variety of sizes and colors, or want to use it. There are more legitimate reasons to continue using cardstock; 

  • Cardstock papers are more long-lasting compared to regular printing papers
  • These papers are more professional compared to standard papers
  • The papers are available in many varieties giving you choice
  • Printing cardstocks on your own is cheaper 
  • Available in different varieties giving choices for your project

Uses

  • Making business cards
  • Brochures
  • Catalog covers
  • Playing cards
  • Scrapbooking
  • Book covers

5. Matte Printing Paper

The matte paper refers to a regular paper with an inkjet receiving layer coating to ensure the ink droplets from your inkjet printer are well received. And also ensure high printing definition without losing its colors or the paper bleeding. 

However, the matte coating layer in matte photo paper is fundamental. The coating will yield good quality crisp images but not up to absolute photographic paper level. 

Matte Printing Paper Use

  • 90-120gsm lightweight paper: you can use this paper for a wide range of presentations. You don’t have to use it only for texts but also for some color prints and images. And you will get high-quality prints with crisp color and solid black at an affordable price. 
  • 150gsm and above(heavyweight): you can use heavier-weight matte printing paper for your various printing such as presentations. This paper will work out, especially if you need a more rigid feel of the paper. You can use this paper to print calendars, manuals, greeting cards menus, and other economical prints. 

6. Bond Printer Paper

bond paper black background

Bond paper is durable and most suitable for electronic printing and office machine use. You can use bond paper in copiers, desktops, and network printers. However, many people use paper for business forms, stationery, letterheads, and other documents printer with inkjet and laser printers. 

Bond paper size and weight

Bond paper measures 17×22 inches with an actual weight of 20pounds. However, 20 pounds is the standard weight, but you can get the paper in other weights from 16pounds to 36 pounds. You should note that the higher the number, the thicker and heavier the paper. 

Again, although the paper is available in other sizes, 8.5×11 inches is the most common. You can also find the paper in legal size, measuring 8.5×14 inches and 11×17 inches tabloid size, among others. 

Quantities:

Bond paper has some characteristics like excellent absorption, erasable, and rigidness. Typically, bond paper sold in stores comes in letter-sized reams with 500 sheets capacity, either sold individually or by the case.

For color, white bond paper is the most common, but they are also available in neon-bright, pastels, and other assorted colors. You can also get bond papers with exceptional finishes or designs available in smaller 50 to 100 sheets packs for your DIY letterheads, flyers, and writing papers.

Coated vs. Uncoated:

Bond papers are available either with a coated or uncoated finish. The coated paper limits the amount of ink the paper absorbs and how the ink bleeds into the paper. Further, coated paper is suitable for sharp and complex images since the ink remains on top of the paper; does not bleed. On the other hand, uncoated paper is porous and somehow rough, making it ideal for envelopes, letterheads, and printed material. 

Watermark:

Watermark refers to a faint identifying image or pattern on a paper. Making it appear as various shades of lightness or darkness when you view it. Or else you can hold the paper up to the light and see a mark or brand coming through the paper.

Watermark acts as an anti-counterfeiting measure for your brand and increases sophistication while adding elegance to the paper. However, many users use plain bond papers without watermarks or top coating. 

7. Photographic Photo Paper

Photographic photo papers are the best to get a high-quality image for your objects. However, your printer will determine how well to print the document. The type of ink you use will also determine the outcome quality. To get the best photographic photo paper to consider;

Inkjet Vs. Laser Photo Paper:

Inkjet printing technology is the most common for professionals. However, although a laser printer outperforms inkjet printing in terms of speed, it lacks printing accuracy compared to an inkjet printer.  

Photo paper finish:

This is the first and most important aspect by many users. Photo paper finish refers to a translucent chemical coating that helps to improve the print appearance, which otherwise would be dull. Different brands use inconsistent terms to describe their finish, which might be confusing. 

The most common paper finish include matt, satin and glossy. You can also find other finish terms like luster, semi-gloss, pearl, and other finishes. 

Paper quality:

To determine the quality of photo paper, you need to consider its archival range, color range, instant dry to touch, and other quality factors. The receiving layer determines the quality of your print.

Some papers have a chemical coating to receive high ink during printing to give high-quality prints. On the contrary, a paper without a coating layer will soak the ink and penetrate to the other side, causing the paper to fade after a short time. 

Paperweight:

The weight of the paper is measured in GSM. It’s important to note that GSM doesn’t equal good print quality, but a high GSM means thicker paper. Sometimes a thick paper is beneficial, but not always. 

A paper with higher GSM will have a thicker feel like greeting cards meant for keeping, while papers with low GSM will have a light feel like brochures which are fast to discard. 

8. Multipurpose Paper Vs. Copy Paper

Multipurpose and copy paper are similar to each other; no significant difference. However, these two papers are economical for your text-based documents. The papers are available in various sizes ranging from small letters to large legal sizes. 

You can purchase premium multipurpose paper for polished prints with higher quality if you want to up your printing. 

9. Recycled Vs. Non-Recycled Paper

Recycled paper is paper made using pre-consumer, post-consumer, or both combined. However, according to Federal Trade Commission guidelines, a paper can only be recycled if it contains 100% post-consumer recovered fiber. 

On the contrary, if a paper contains less than 100% pre-consumer content, the paper is referred to as recycled-content paper, which can range from 30-80 percent or more recycled content. 

  • Pre-consumer material: refers to scrap metal that remains from a manufacturing process. 
  • Post-consumer material: refers to the material initially used by people in homes, industry, or other settings. The material can no longer be applicable. 

However, you can use this paper anytime. You can use recycled or pre-recycled-content paper to write a proposal on request. Whereby some government agencies request proposals on recycled paper to promote eco-friendly practices.

Again, you can also create a trend to recycling your office or home paper wastes. In addition, recycled paper is more expensive due to its manufacturing process. Besides, non-recycled or virgin paper is manufactured from new cotton or wood pulp materials. 

10. Resume Paper

magnifying glass with resume paper

A resume paper is a special paper you use to print your resume. It would help if you had a professional resume in some cases like; 

  • an interview where you need to carry copies of your resume
  • at a job fair or networking event where you need to distribute your resume
  • when your job application needs you to mail your physical resume copy
  • for creating your portfolio to carry for an interview

A professional resume helps you create a great first impression with your potential employer. Again, it helps to communicate your seriousness about the position and put in the extra effort. In addition, there are several types of resume papers. The papers differ in company, industry, and job, so you need to know which paper suits you best. However, there are four major resume features;

Color

Resume papers are available in various colors; however, ivory and white is the most popular color available. Many users prefer white paper since you can use an ink color other than black or multiple colors and still get eligible texts with colors that stand out. Again, you can include graphics in your resume.

If you choose ivory, the color is slightly off-white and slightly tone. If your resume has fewer colors and graphics, you can use this paper, giving you a professional and classic look. 

Besides the ivory and white resume paper, some jobs are more open to colorful papers. In contrast, some view them as unprofessional. To be safe with colored paper, you can try light blue, which is the most neutral. However, with colored paper, there are several options, including multiple colors resumes, but ensure they are easy to read. 

Material

Resume paper is available in different materials; 

  • Cotton: this is the most common resume paper, with a soft yet semi-rough texture. Note that some types of papers have more cotton material than others.
  • Recycled paper: this paper is more popular today. If you are an environmentalist, you can choose an eco-friendlier paper-like bamboo. 
  • Parchment: parchment paper is a paper that undergoes a chemical process to appear order or more classic. 

Weight

Weight is the thickness of the paper and can positively influence your resume. Again, a thicker paper makes your resume more professional and durable. However, 24 pounds and 32 pounds are the most popular resume paperweight. 

Texture

Texture refers to the paper’s physical feel, either rough, semi-gloss, or smooth to touch. However, textured paper can show your elegance and make your resume more memorable. Some of the most popular textured paper include linen, laid, and granite. 

11. Vellum Printing Paper

vellum paper top table

Vellum paper is paper made by stretching a calf’s skin over a wooden frame. However, this process is expensive and time-consuming, making modern paper production methods different. Nowadays, vellum is made from plasticized rag cotton or cellulose fibers from plants and trees. 

Appearance and Feel

Many times vellum printing paper is translucent like frosted glass. Some people refer to this paper as translucent or transparent paper. However, the rate of transparency depends on the weight and quality of the paper. The heavier the paper, the less transparent it is, whereas the lighter the paper, the more transparent it is. 

If you have seen a tracing paper, it is a low-quality vellum paper. For the feel, vellum paper is smooth with a plastic feel, though the paper does not contain plastics. Again, the paper might feel delicate though it is very durable. 

Uses

Vellum paper has a variety of uses. You can either write or print on the paper; either way, you still get good results. Also, due to the transparency of the paper, you can layer it over something else to get a striking effect. Other uses of the paper include; belly bands, paper crafts, envelopes, invitation cards, card making, flyers, and marketing. 

However, although you can print on vellum with both inkjet and laser printer, it is somehow tricky. And you need unique settings to accommodate it. You need to use high-quality/photo quality/ coated paper settings for best results. Again, it’s better to ask for samples before purchasing a large paper quantity to see if it works out. 

12. Tag Papers

tag paper white background

Tag papers are heavy utility-grade paper best for printing consumer goods like accessories and clothing hashtags. However, the paper must be solid and long-lasting to deliver strong performance on the press. 

Uses 

  • Business reply cards
  • Consumer products and cloth hanging tags
  • File folders
  • Door hang tags
  • Tabs and divider pages
  • Direct mail postcards
  • Timecards
  • Sales book wraps

Tag paper has a variety of applications, so it’s upon you to determine your ideal durability level, weather resistance, and functionality. You can get the paper in 100 pounds, 125 pounds, and 150 pounds weight. 

You can use a lightweight paper tag to save postage costs for direct mail. However, for harsh weather applications, you need heavier paper. Again, the paper is available in different sizes and shapes. 

13. Text and Cover Paper 

Your choice between cover and text paper depends on your end-use. Whereby each paper has its benefits and properties to enhance your print. 

Thickness 

Paper thickness is the main difference between text and cover paper. Whereby cover stock is is more rigid than text stock. On the other side text, stock paper is easier to fold. 

Weight

Both cover stock and text stock are heavier than standard office paper, which weighs 20 to 24pounds. In contrast, text stock ranges from 60 to 80 pounds. And cover paper ranges between 65 to 80 pounds. 

Uses

Cover stock paper is best suitable for business cards and postcards due to its thickness and rigidity. At the same time, you can use text stock paper for letters, flyers, and book pages. However, some publications use cover stock papers and match text stock for inside pages. 

Color and Finishes 

Both cover stock and text stocks are available in a variety of colors. Again, many paper mills manufacture both papers in matching colors. Again, for both papers, you can get them in various finishes, including gloss, matte and uncoated. 

14. Sublimation Printing Paper

Sublimation paper is a unique printing paper that absorbs and retains ink. With this paper, you can print indirectly on different materials and products. To print, you need to place the paper with a special sublimation ink on a surface and heat to release the ink. 

The sublimation printing method is most popular with both professionals and artisans since it’s a fast and straightforward means to create your personalized T-shirts and other goods.

15. Thermal Paper

thermal paper bundle

Thermal paper is a fine special paper with a coat that turns color when exposed to heat. Many users prefer thermal printers since they are lightweight and inexpensive. Some of the standard devices that use thermal papers include; cash registers, credit cards terminals, and adding machines. 

Thermal paper has three coatings; base paper, undercoating, and a thermal coating. The coatings are on the same side of the paper. Also, the coating aids in the printing process, while the undercoating supports the base paper for printing. In addition, this layer helps to achieve a smoother and high-quality finish. Some types of papers have an additional coating that acts as a protective layer. 

Printing on thermal paper will always give you high definition, durable and reliable images. Also, thermal paper printing is faster and quieter than other printing technologies. In addition, on top of being economical and having low energy consumption, thermal printers are flexible in terms of their size. 

16. Offset Printing Paper

bundle of offset paper on factory

Offset printing paper is wood-free paper, comparable to book paper. Many users use offset lithography for book printing, magazines, posters, catalogs, flyers, calendars, letterheads, brochures, envelopes, and publication interior sheets. The paper is used both in web-fed and sheet-fed printing.

The paper has an ISO brightness of more than 80%, with a grammage range of 40-300gms. In addition, the paper has a high sizing amount to withstand excessive moisture saturation in the offset dampening systems. 

Moreover, the paper has good dimensional stability, solid internal bonding, high surface strength, higher curl resistance, and a low linting level. Offset printing papers are coated and uncoated with a smooth, vellum, and pattern finish. Offset printing papers are suitable for smooth, rich, scalable with no streaking prints. 

17. Plotter Printing Paper

A [plotter paper is a type of paper used with plotter machines. Plotter machines are printing devices that use computers and can print vector-type graphics. This machine is familiar with house or building designers and architects to create their blueprints. 

Plotter paper is available in different textures and sizes. 

  • Roll plotter paper: to print on this paper, the plotter machine completes its drawing on a drum plotter, and then you wrap a paper around it to print. 
  • Flatbed plotter paper machine: to print, you need to place this paper on a machine flat service. An electrostatic plotter allows you to sketch on negatively charged plotter paper using a positively charged toner to print on this paper. 
  • Bond plotter paper: you can use it for both black and white inkjet plotting, making it ideal for architectural and engineering use. You can get the paper in 50 yards rolls with 24 to 36 inches width. 
  • Inkjet vellum plotter paper: this paper is suitable for printing large volume blueprints for its high quality. The paper is available in 24 inches by 150 feet.
  • Gloss presentation plotter paper: many users prefer this paper for pen plotter machines. The paper can capture all the sharp lines and high-contrast drawings you create. So you will end up with clean and professional prints. 

Types of Papers- Sizes

A Size Paper

A-Size papers are popular with many printers since they are the most common and easily distinguishable. Again, the paper sizes are easy to understand since they increase in subsequent orders. Whereby A1 is the largest while A10 is the smallest. 

Paper sizeWidth x Height in inches
A123.4 X 33.1
A216.5 X 23.4
A311.7 x 16.5
A48.3 x 11.7
A55.8 x 8.3
A64.1 x 5.8
A72.9 x 4.1
A82.0 x 2.9
A91.5 x 2.0
A101.0 x 1.5

A4

A4 paper is the most common for printing measuring 8.3 x 11.7 inches. You can get the paper in different weights and coatings, meaning you will always have a suitable paper for your printing job. Again, you will use A4 paper for your daily tasks and unique purposes. 

A3

A3 paper is twice the size of A4 measuring 11.7 x 16.5 inches. Large-sized paper allows you to print visual impact documents like large graphic pieces or high-resolution images. Again, large A3 printers are versatile, such that they can also support A3 and A4 with fast printing engines. 

Other A sizes

Size printing papers also include A5 and A6, great for flyers and other small media. In contrast, A1 and A2 allow you to print banners and posters. 

SRA Paper

You can also refer to this paper as supplementary raw format. This paper A range is slightly more extensive than A size paper. This makes it more popular for commercial printing since it allows bleeding, trimming, and gripping. However, the most common size paper is SRA3 which you can use in several digital print machines. Again, you can choose to use SRA3 paper to get; 

  • 1 x A3
  • 2 x A4 
  • 4 X A5
  • 8 X A6
  • 16 X A7
  • 21 X 85x 55mm per SRA3 sheet

The main reason why you would need to print multiple pages is cost. And now that paper costs don’t double with sizes, it is economical to print on the most extensive paper possible. Again, printers have maximum sheets they can print in an hour, which does not double with less paper size. This makes it evident that it’s better to use larger papers for maximum productivity. 

C Paper Size

This paper range is helpful for envelopes. This paper size varies from C1 to C10, mainly corresponding to a similar A range of paper. However, C paper sizes are slightly bigger in design. The marginal size difference allows a similar A size sheet to fit inside the envelope.

PaperSize ( width x height) inches
C125.5 X 36.1
C218.0 x 25.5
C312.8 x 18.0
C49.0 x 12.8
C56.4 x 9.0
C64.5 x 6.4
C73.2 x 4.5
C82.2 x 3.2
C91.6 x 2.2
C101.1 x 1.6

Tabloid Paper Size

Tabloid paper size refers to a paper measuring 11” x 17”. You can use this paper for brochures, newsletters, flyers, folded or oversized documents.

Conclusion

Getting the correct types of papers is the first step to optimal results from your printing job. Whereby different tasks and printers can require different paper types. Learning which paper suits your printing job is the most helpful task for your printing journey success. 

Hopefully, from this article, you will understand the different types of papers available in the market, their characteristics, and their use for the best results. However, it’s always good to follow your printer’s manufacturer’s paper use recommendation to avoid printer problems. 

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About Tom

Tom is a blogger and artist who also loves technology. He spends his days blogging about the latest developments in the world of art, and he enjoys sharing his thoughts with readers on what it means to be an artist today. Tom has always been interested in technology - but it wasn't until he was 13 years old that he discovered how much fun making websites could be! Tom is a fun-loving, adventure seeking creative type. He enjoys reviewing art products and technology gadgets on his blog and has been doing so for over 5 years now! He spends most of his time in the studio, at the beach, or out exploring new places.

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