Paper choice is an important aspect in order to make sure your marketing materials (i.e.; business cards, brochures, postcards…) are professional and attractive when printed. Most business owners and individuals don’t want a flimsy business card or a brochure with ink that bleeds through to the side. Sound familiar? We’re with you.

There are many different phrases and numbers that may be confusing when talking about paper, but stick with us to get a general understanding of what you’re looking for. Check out the guide below on how to pick the right printer paper for your next project!



It’s important to understand that different projects require different kinds of paper. Ink coverage, weight, finish, color, brightness, and even moisture in the air all have an effect on the paper for your project. You want your business cards to stand out and make a statement, right? A business card can be one of the very first impressions of your business, so it’s important to make sure its a good one.

The lifespan of your product is something to consider when choosing the right paper type. Direct marketing pieces such as a mail flyer or EDDM postcard will generally have a much shorter lifespan than a product catalogue. Catalogues are usually meant to be used multiple times and even shared with other people so they should be durable enough to handle that usage.



Paper weight refers to the thickness, or sturdiness, of your paper. It does not mean the actual weight of the paper. Heavier paper is used to prevent opacity concerns, especially when there is heavy ink coverage involved. For example, if your entire flyer has a color block or image that goes from edge to edge, you might want to opt in for the heavier paper. I mean, you don’t want to see the image from the front bleeding to the back, right?

If you’re printing on both sides of the paper, pay extra close attention to the opacity of the paper. Heavier paper will solve your ink bleed problems in most cases, but be aware that the finish of your paper may also be contributing to the problem. We’ll discuss paper finish next. 

Check out our article Does Paper Weight Really Affect Printing? To learn more



With paper weight, comes paper finishes. The multiple types of paper finishes offered include gloss, UV gloss, silk, matte and uncoated. The difference between these are the percentage amount of coating.  A gloss coating has a 50% coating percentage, making it shine and gives your content a high contrast. UV gloss coating is similar except it has a 100% coating making it shine and provide even more contrast than regular gloss coating. 

A matte coating has a 25% coating which is considered a light gloss however its shininess is almost the same as uncoated paper. Matte paper has a smoother finish than uncoated paper and gives a contrast boost to images in your project. Silk is very similar in paper finish as matte as their percentage is almost identical. Uncoated finishes, however, leave the paper how it is, porous and absorbent. Think of your average computer printer paper, that’s uncoated.



Paper brightness is divided into 5 grades. Grade 1 paper is the brightest and grade 5 paper is the least bright. Choosing the correct brightness or color comes down to being aware of the mix of colors you are already using within your project. Before you upgrade to the grade 5 extra white paper, be aware that the additives in extra white paper can negatively affect overall stability of the paper.

There are many options when choosing paper color, warmer colors are usually for better reading ability for projects with large amounts of text. While projects with large amounts of color could benefit from blue white paper, due to the large amount of brightness this type of paper offers.

Pro Tip: If you are looking for a specific texture or color to go on the background of your print project and don’t know how to choose that perfect paper, work with a designer to include your desired background color on your actual design file. Many businesses do this to save cost on textured paper.


Not sure where to start with your printing project? We get it. Determining what paper you need can be complicated. Our goal is to have your project, that you spend hours developing, to be printed exactly how you were envisioning it to be. There are plenty of printing professionals available to help you choose the perfect idea for your project, so you don’t have to worry about experimenting with different paper.

Looking for print and design help? Visit Tepsi on our website or give us a call at 1-888-338-1204. Design and order custom business cards, flyers, menus and more!