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What does paper stock tell your customers?

The paper you use for your sales material says a lot about your company. There is a huge choice of paper stock out there from 100 gsm glossy art paper, popular for pizza leaflet drops, to heavy 350gsm uncoated paper stock that is popular with upmarket businesses looking for real quality in the feel of their brochures or leaflets as well as the design and print being top notch.

So how do you decide which to use?

Cheap paper. The cheapest and most commonly used paper stock is the stuff most of us use in the office printer or photocopier. It’s thin and feels cheap but is fine for printing in house copies for internal use. It should never be used for your marketing material. It can be used for invoices and perhaps some low budget stationery but never for sales material. It will not give the right impression to your customers.

Not so cheap paper. For printing the minimum paper stock of choice is normally gloss art paper. This comes in many weights from about 80gsm up to 300gsm and has a coated finish. This allows the printing ink to stay vibrant on the paper surface as the coating prevents the ink from being absorbed into the paper, thereby retaining its colour strength. Because it has been used by many businesses for cheap leaflet drops it has become synonymous with the cheap end of the marketing spectrum. So anyone looking to present a strong upmarket and quality feel to customers should not use this paper stock.

Middle range of paper. In the mid-quality range of the printed paper market is silk or satin paper stock. This offers a much better feel to the paper. Anyone picking up a leaflet or brochure made with this paper stock will immediately gain a feeling of quality compared to glossy art paper. It also retains ink vibrancy quite well so your colours will still be vibrant but with a better message being sent to your potential customers simply in the feel of the paper used. This is probably the most common paper for leaflets, mailers and brochures. We use it a lot for our clients and it offers a happy medium between expensive uncoated paper and cheap glossy art paper. If you are on a low budget you should at least consider this option. It gives your customers a good perception and is not too expensive.

The high end of paper stock comes in the form of heavy uncoated paper. This simply oozes quality when touched. If you want to set your business apart from the rest and present an unrivalled feeling of superiority in your goods and services this is the paper stock for you. We have designed leaflets and brochures of all different styles and opening and folding methods. It is without doubt the market leader for high end companies and businesses. If you have stayed at a luxury hotel you have probably seen their sales brochures and they are most likely to be printed on this paper stock. It is a little more expensive but the return in brand awareness and perception is unbeatable. You will be telling your customers you are the best.

Of course there is no reason why you can’t mix your paper up a little. Choose the cheapest stock possible for your in house invoicing, note pads or NCR sets. Your stationery should be better quality and so should be printed onto 120gsm uncoated paper stock so it can be fed through your laser printer. Your business cards should be printed onto at least 350gsm board if not 400gsm board. This will give you a business card that is actually stiff and resilient rather than just a pathetic floppy piece of paper. This is important if you are giving them out and expecting them to last a while. Your compliment slips should match your letterheads for consistency so 120gsm uncoated would be fine.

For your leaflets you should be looking at mid range at least. These are going to be seen, and judged, by your customers. If you want to impress them get the paper stock right. Remember – cheap is always cheap. A customer getting a cheap looking leaflet is going to think you are a cheap company. Is that the image you want?

So, all in all, there is a very wide range of paper out there waiting to be printed on. It will all work, but it will undoubtedly convey a particular message to potential customers. So make sure you get it right.

And before you choose your paper stock make sure you have a good design to go on it. It would be incredibly pointless to send out amateurishly designed leaflets or brochures on a quality paper stock.

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