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How To Choose The Right Paper for Your Next Advertising and Marketing Print Design

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When designing your next advertising and marketing piece, choosing the right paper to use can be just as important as choosing the right artwork or typeface.

The type of paper you select, along with its color and texture, can greatly improve your effectiveness and truly accentuate your creative print design skills and talent.

Paper Can Differentiate Your Print Design

We all know that white glossy paper printed with color pixels has become common and fashionable among graphic designers. The problem is, this color-on-glossy-white paper approach is a very cluttered place for your masterpiece print design work. You end up looking like everyone else and not standing out from the crowd.

How can you stand out? With smarter paper choices. Using color and texture in paper can help you in ways that pixels and coatings cannot.

Pro tip: before you start designing, consider your goals and objectives, what your message will be, and what sort of assets you will be incorporating into the design. Then select the actual shade of color paper or paper texture to print with as an intrical part of your print design.

Here are some things to consider when planning your next print design:

  • Absorbency and Range of Brightness. Key factors impacting color on paper products are absorbency and range of brightness.  Paper surfaces range from dull, uncoated stock to shiny, glossy coated materials, and the finish of material can have a direct effect on the color quality of your print designs.
  • Color Density and Opacity. If your project is being printed offset, the amount of absorbency affects the color density. The true color of the paper — particularly its cast from absolute white — is a key variable, as are opacity and texture. CMYK inks are transparent, not opaque. This means that the color of the paper will show through the printed design.
  • Smoothness and Texture. A paper’s finish also has a huge effect on how the end-product feels. Take advantage of this when designing pieces that will be handled a lot. Adding a felt or laid finish to a sheet can add a higher sense of quality by means of “touch” to your projects.

“We recommend that our print design clients understand the difference between coated and uncoated stocks and how a paper’s finish (matte versus gloss), can affect color. Then we use that knowledge with design intention,” says Hatteras VP of Sales and Marketing, John Orlando. “While printing on uncoated stocks can look duller, sometimes that is exactly what is needed to accentuate the look and feel of the brand or the customer experience. 

Paper comes in many color ranges, from the softest of pale shades to the darkest and brightest colors imaginable. A paper’s color can also be used to create highlights. 

When designing with colored paper, it is important to take the shade of your paper into consideration. This reason goes back to the basics of mixing color palettes. Blue ink on white paper will always look different from blue ink on pink paper. An image with a green base will appear greener when printed on green paper. This can be a huge print design advantage!

Some people even say that using colored paper or text rather than plain white paper or black font can improve learning and performance. One claim is that printing text on green paper helps students read better, while another is that yellow paper helps students perform better on math exams.

Pro tip. Ask your print service provider to create printed color sample options of your next print design project.

Many designers and art directors overlook the importance of paper in print design. That is to their detriment. “It means they are missing out on such a cool part of the print design process!” says Orlando. “I absolutely love paper! I always have. I love selecting papers; I love looking at and touching all of the color and texture options.”

While you may not need colored or textured stock for every print design project, making smart paper stock decisions and necessary color adjustments in your print design work, for different papers, can produce unique and very interesting work.

Sure, it can cost more for colored text and cover papers; however, there have never been bigger opportunities to use them in the print design channel than right now,” Orlando says.

Creating differentiation in color and texture in the printing that you produce with your print service provider will mean more people paying attention to the messages you deliver through the print channel.

Curious About How Paper Can Improve Your Next Print Design? Contact Hatteras. We are Paper and Print Experts. 

Learn what we can do with colored and textured papers to turn your next printing project into a printing masterpiece!

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Contact Us and a Hatteras paper expert will be in touch right away. Or call (313) 624-3300.