The number of different types of available printer paper can be a bit surprising. Who would have expected the size, quality, and color of a simple sheet of paper to make such a difference? While it may not seem too important, the business world recognizes different types of paper as more “professional” than others in certain contexts. As a business owner, it’s important for you to know the difference for your own printing jobs.
Finding the Right Printer Paper
The same size, weight, and color of paper won’t work for every assignment you need to print. Some clients will want more, while even for private use, you may want something different from time to time. Each of the most common types of printer paper has its own usage:
- Coated paper
- Colored paper
- Thicker paper
- Bright paper
- Paper for general use
1) Coated Paper
Ideal for graphic design companies, coated paper looks and feels similar to a glossy-finished printed photograph. This type of paper is an excellent choice for professional handouts during presentations or for printing elaborate graphic design projects. Clients will also appreciate the professional appearance coated paper gives printed charts or graphs. However, using coated paper for more mundane uses may be overkill.
2) Colored Paper
Certain handouts or large print jobs work well with colored paper. However, the exact color of the paper certainly matters! Bright colors will catch someone’s eye as a poster in a window, but may be too bright if used as a form. Consider the context of your print job before opting for colored paper.
Pro Tip: Printing a resume on beige or off-white, slightly thicker paper could give it a more professional appearance and help it stand out in a stack.
3) Thicker Paper
Higher weights of paper work well in more professional contexts. For instance, most professional-grade print jobs should be on paper weighted 28-32 lbs or higher. (Printer paper weight is measured as groups of 500 pages, so a stack of 500 28-weight papers would weigh 28 lbs.) A thicker paper with higher weight gives a more sturdy, respectable appearance and works well for corporate or office printers.
4) Bright Paper
Brightness of printer paper refers not to its color or glossiness, but to how much light it reflects. The amount of brightness you need, like many things, depends on the purpose of your document. A more vibrant, colorful look could benefit from a brightness level of 100. However, pairing bright paper with low-quality images could make your images look even less impressive. In this case, stick with a brightness of 80-90.
5) Paper for General Use
Standard printer paper works well for most general or personal use. Generally, standard printer paper has a weight of 20-24 lbs and relatively low brightness and coating. While this paper may not be too impressive for really nice handouts or professional settings, it works for most casual print jobs or notes.
Using the Right Paper
Printer paper may seem like the last of your concerns on many workdays. However, maintaining high quality for your clients and for your own work is crucial. Choosing the right type of printer paper for the job can make a bigger difference than you think.
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