Stock up: Picking the best paper stock for your print marketing piece

July 17, 2019

Which paper stock should you choose for your next print marketing project? The answer depends on the type of marketing tool you’re printing and its purpose, your design style, budget, and other factors. The following details how to pick a paper stock for popular print marketing pieces.

Best business card and postcard paper stocks

Business cards are held in the hand, so paper stocks with pleasing tactile qualities can help you make a strong first impression on potential customers.

Postcards aren’t protected by envelopes, so paper stocks must be durable enough to survive mailing and striking enough to command attention at the mailbox.

Options include:

  • 16-point C2S gloss cover stock: Coated on both sides, this paper stock offers a sleek, glossy finish that feels smooth and helps your design pop off the paper. Thick paper stocks are ideal for die-cut business cards and folded business cards, and offer supreme durability for postcard mailing
  • 15-point velvet cover stock: Velvet paper stock offers an ultra-smooth finish for a luxurious feel. You can opt for a soft touch coating to print memorable business cards and postcards customers will want to hold onto. Velvet paper stock can be written on with ink pens, so they make excellent appointment cards
  • 14-point cover stock: A great standard-purpose paper stock that’s thick and durable. The glossy coating helps your design shine and lends a beautiful presentation. You can have your business cards and postcards coated on both sides or just one side if you need to write on the back
  • 14-point uncoated cover stock: A classic paper stock with no coating that can be written on with both ink pens and pencils
  • 13-point matte cover stock: The perfect choice for a subtle, sophisticated look. The matte coating adds an elegant touch to your designs. Want to go eco-friendly? You can opt for 13-point, 100 percent recycled matte cover stock, which is made entirely from post-consumer waste
  • 100 lb. linen paper: Available in textured brilliant white for a classic tactile sensation or an ultra-smooth natural white, linen paper stock is a fantastic option for high-end business cards and postcards that need to impress prospects
  • Ultra card stock: The ultimate postcard and business card stock for a powerful presentation, ultra cards sandwich a colored core between 120 lb. textured paper layers to add a visually exciting band of edge color
  • Colored paper stock: Take advantage of white ink technology to print unique business cards and postcards that stand out on your choice of paper color, including kraft, silver, gold, red, blue and deep black

ultra business cards

Business cards printed on ultra card stock

Best brochure and sales sheet paper stocks

Like business cards, brochures and sales sheets are handled by customers so they must look and feel amazing to make the best possible impression. Options include:

  • 100 lb. gloss cover: A thick paper stock that maintains brochure folds and features a high-gloss finish that helps the product images pop
  • 80 lb. recycled matte cover: An eco-friendly alternative with a subtle, elegant matte finish that’s perfect for service-based businesses
  • 100 lb. gloss text: A good all-around brochure paper stock that looks beautiful and is affordable
  • 70 lb. matte text: Lightweight, affordable eco-friendly option for companies on a budget
  • 13-point matte cover stock: A thicker paper with a matte finish that’s available in 100 percent recycled cover stock; it’s an eco-friendly option that doesn’t sacrifice presentation
  • 80 lb. uncoated text: Made from 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste; this thinner paper stock is both budget-friendly and eco-friendly
  • 80 lb. linen text: Choose between a textured brilliant white for a pleasing tactile sensation or a creamy, smooth natural white for brochures that stand out from the competition
  • 100 lb. gloss cover with UV or AQ coating: Ideal for sales sheets, this thick paper stock lends vibrancy and durability with a high-gloss UV or aqueous coating

sales sheet printing

UV and AQ coatings protect sales sheets and add a glossy sheen to your designs

Best booklet and catalog paper stocks

Booklets and catalogs can be printed with thick, durable covers and thinner, affordable interior pages. Or, you can print booklets and catalogs entirely from interior paper stocks for a budget-friendly option.

Cover paper stock options

  • 100 lb. gloss cover: A popular option that combines the heft of a thick paper stock with a beautiful high-gloss sheen
  • 13-point matte cover: This cover stock features a sophisticated matte finish and the durability of thicker paper. You can also choose an eco-friendly 100 percent recycled matte cover
  • 15-point velvet with soft-touch coating: A luxurious paper stock that will make your catalogs and booklets stand out. The coating adds a fine, ultra-smooth, soft finish that feels amazing in the hand

Interior paper stock options

  • 100 lb. gloss text: A thick paper that lends a sense of quality to your catalogs and booklets with its glossy sheen
  • 70 lb. matte text: A standard option that lends a classic look and feel to your catalog and booklet interior pages, perfect for budget-friendly printing
  • 80 lb. gloss text: Affordable and beautiful, this lighter paper stock makes for easy page turns and produces crisp, clear product images
  • 80 lb. uncoated text: Made from 100 percent post-consumer waste, this uncoated option is both eco-friendly and easy on the budget. It’s a great choice for booklets that need to be written on

catalog printing

Catalog cover and interior paper stocks

Paper stock selection tips

Use these tips to help you choose the perfect paper stock for your next print marketing project.

  • Presentation: Your paper stock should match the tone and style of your design. Do you want a sophisticated or luxurious look? Pick a paper stock with a velvet or matte finish. Want a bright, exciting aesthetic? Go for gloss
  • Feel: Consider how your printed materials will feel. If you want a soft, luxurious feel, velvet paper stock is a great choice. Want a sleek finish? Gloss is best. Need a classic textured sensation? Try a brilliant white linen paper stock. Don’t forget you can add a UV or AQ coating to many paper stocks to amp up the gloss factor
  • Durability: Thick, coated paper stocks offer the best durability, which is particularly important if you’re mailing postcards and brochures. Add an extra layer of protection with UV or AQ coating
  • Purpose: Do you or your customers need to write on your business cards, appointment cards, booklets or postcards? If so, an uncoated paper stock might be your best option; or, choose a paper stock that’s coated on one side only
  • Budget: Thinner paper stocks are cheaper, though they don’t look or feel as amazing as thicker paper stocks. Find a balance between your budget and presentation to maximize your ROI
  • Eco-friendliness: Does your business have a green agenda? If so, choose eco-friendly paper stocks that are made from 100 percent post-consumer waste
  • Ask for samples (and help): If you’re still having trouble choosing between paper stocks, ask for a sample swatch so you can see how different stocks compare firsthand. You can also ask your printing company for advice — they’re happy to help!

Ready to bring your artwork to life on beautiful paper stocks that get noticed and lend an impression of quality? Get started today with premium printing at discount prices!

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.