Paper comes in a wide variety of options that are designed to suit specific purposes. When it comes to commercial printing, there are three main terms to know: paper weight, paper thickness, and paper finish.


This is sometimes confused with paper thickness. Paper weight is determined by weighing 1000 sheets at a given size. There are also two modes of measurement: text and cover weights. Text weights are thinner compared to their counterparts. It is improbable to conceive a single sheet’s weight unless using relativity. For instance, a letterhead sheet of paper is 70lb Text, compared to a Business Card that is 130lb Cover. By feel, the difference is obvious. Cover weights usually begin at 65lb Cover which is about the same as 100lb Text. 100lb Cover is close to twice the weight of 100lb Text.


This category is very straight forward. All paper companies use a measurement called points which is unique to the printing industry. 10.5pts is the same as .25mm. Thickness can vary between weights. Some 130lb Cover stocks (used for business cards) are 16pt and some are 13pt. Typically, coated sheets are less thick because there is more clay coating that makes the sheet heavier. It’s a combination between the weight, the thickness, and stiffness that helps generate an overall feel of thickness.

Paper Basics - Thickness and Finishes 2


Matt/Satin Coated

This is the most versatile finishes as it is best for image heavy pieces. Clay finish is always better for print quality and clarity. This can be ideal for both photographs and text. The advantage of little to no sheen, means while reading, there is no glare to disrupt the experience.

Gloss Coated

This paper is as good as Matt/Satin for Images. It has excellent print quality and clarity. However, it does create glare and is not best for type. Its main appeal is its overall shiny countenance and is slightly easier to clean. It also feels slightly nicer to the touch to the matt counterpart.

Smooth Uncoated

This paper has no clay coating and is best for writing and feel. Our smooth uncoated stock still prints very well but also allows for a pen’s ink to be absorbed by the surface. We use uncoated for letterhead, notepads, flyers, cardstock and brochures. Digital Toner based printing on uncoated is more “matt like” then any of the coated mediums. It also chips less on the edges then coated paper from constant handling. This paper is superior in feel and has a more natural appeal.


Let us know if you would like some paper samples before your next project. Contact Us

We can also custom quote any other types by request Custom Quote

Below is a a link to a more detailed description from the Mohawk paper manufactor.