Choosing the correct paper stock for printing marketing materials, such as brochures, magazines and flyers, can be as baffling as looking for the right tog on your duvet. Just as a high tog rating would be too warm for camping in the jungle, an increased paper thickness is not always the best choice in every instance. 

By Carla Stanton, graphic designer at Stone Junction.

If you are just running something off the printer, like an agenda for a meeting or draft designs to give you an idea of layout, standard copier paper will do the job. However, if you want to make something stand out, then you should use something heavier, such as 120gsm (grams per square meter) which will look and feel nicer, giving you a better impression at a lower cost.

Booklets, handouts and trade show marketing material, for example - can make or break your brand reputation. It is worth spending a bit more to buy a better quality stock and print finish. Matt satin finishes always look sleek and stylish while a high gloss on a thicker paper weight will suit you best if you are looking for something sturdier with clout.

If you are printing something in the office, it is also down to the printer you use. In some instances, the same quality of paper can be used, but if your printer isn’t very good or reliable, then the finish can look awful and you could end up having to pay again for something that would have only cost you a further 20 pounds if you had gone for a reputable printer in the first instance.

When printing in bulk, particularly posters, brochures or magazines, it is always best to use a commercial printer who will often suggest an array of options you may not have considered - such as printing on translucent or metallic stock or maybe having a laser cut added into the finish. He will also be able to give you a variety of cost options to suit your budget as well as advise you on any issues with your design or colouring. 

If you really want to reinforce your brand, then good quality marketing collateral is a must. If you really are out of your depth then a good place to start is by collecting samples of different stocks, so as you can see and feel what options you have, as well as helping you understand the difference in cost.

The sample collection I love, and use the most, and which showcases the best paper and card stock selection as well as print quality, is called The Print Guide and is available from Technique Print Group – you can sign up for a free sample here.

Paper and printing doesn’t have to cost the earth – just as you would shop around the right sheets or duvet, it really is worth getting multiple printer’s quotes to compare as well as sample prints to try before you buy.

For advice on design for print, or help understanding paper weights, get in touch with the team at Stone Junction on 01785 225416 or e-mail me directly at
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