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Should I use coated or uncoated stock?

You donít have to be a printing expert to realize that some papers have a glossy coat while others donít. But, it is important to understand the differences between these two stocks and how they can affect your print job.

Uncoated papers have a rough, more natural feel to them. Examples of uncoated stock are newsprint, cheaper catalogs, many recycled papers and most papers available in a local copy shop. Think of the type of paper you put in your home printer or what is in the copy machine at work. These papers tend to be more porous and soak up ink. Depending on the quality of the paper, they can soak up a LOT of ink.

Uncoated stocks are ideal for quick and less-precise printing. They are used for job that will be used for people to write on or read for an extended period of time. This is because uncoated paper does not give off a glare that would irritate a reader's eyes. Uncoated stocks tend to be less expensive than coated papers and are perfect for newspaper and flyer printing.

Coated papers, by contrast, have a smoother finish and are not very porous. Ink will sit on the surface of coated paper, giving type and photos a sharper look when compared to uncoated stock as the halftone screen. is not blurred because the ink does not bleed into the paper. It will also take longer for the ink to dry when printed on coated stock. Keep in mind though that some coated stocks are very difficult to write on or to read from. Especially if the document is meant to be read for a long period of time. Coated papers also tend to be more expensive than uncoated stocks.

Coated paper can come in a dull or glossy finish, but this shouldn't be confused with a varnish or a plastic lamination. Those are separate processes that are added at the end of a job. Varnish or lamination can add an extra bit of gloss or durability to a printed piece that regular inks can't provide. Though a lamination can work well with either a coated or uncoated stock (make sure you don't have too much gloss), varnishes are only effective on coated stocks. A varnish will soak into an uncoated stock, which effectively wastes the varnish.

So, if you are looking to print in very large quantities and mean for your print job to be written on or read from (books, newspapers, forms, flyers, etc.), then you should choose an uncoated stock. But if you want to create a high-impact piece (a brochure, catalog, or mailer), then a coated paper would be the ideal choice.

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