Finding the right paper stock isn’t simply about choosing the most expensive or highest quality available. To help, SM1 Print Studio has put together 8 top tips to help you select the most suitable paper for your project:

Specify your paper stock requirements before asking for your print quotation

At SM1 Print Studio, we are always happy to discuss your requirements and provide suggestions and samples. The price of the paper will always affect your quotation, so it’s best to look at the options first. Paper orders can also affect delivery time.

Identify your paper

Paper comes in all sorts of guises and the type of stock can reflect on the personality of the printed piece. For example; is it a simple flyer that will be looked at briefly? Or will it need to demonstrate ‘quality’ or have a ‘professional’ feel – such as an annual report, brochure or stationery?

Considerations should be made on:

  • The life span of the finished article
  • Texture – Plain, Metallic, Iridescent, etc.
  • Colour
  • Coating
  • Weight
  • Price Range
  • Environmental Factors

Decide on your finish

At SM1 Print Studio we can offer a variety of finishes – gloss, matt, silk, non-coated or spot-coated. Some finishes can significantly enhance the design. For example; gloss can bring to life images, whereas uncoated can give a more misty, romantic look.

Paper colour

White paper
Even when choosing ‘white’ there are various ‘whites’ available – so please always ask us for samples. Blue whites have a cooler brightness and naturally make other colours zing, whereas the warmer tones create a more relaxed feel. Good quality brightness is often more expensive, but there are a variety of grades available – with very little noticeable difference, so please ask our team for help.

Coloured paper
Colour can enhance a one-colour print project and provide an interesting background; however, it can also affect the appearance of any colour images or print. For example, red ink on yellow paper can look orange. If you are considering coloured paper, please ask us to print you a one-page sample to see what the result will be.

Coloured paper is mostly used to provide a cover to presentations, or bound literature and can be embossed, foil stamped or die-cut to provide impact.

Weight of paper

The weight of your paper not only affects the price of your printing but also can affect the cost of any mailing.

Heavier paper stock is often suitable for brochures or collateral that needs to demonstrate ‘quality’ or perhaps needs to make up for a lower number of pages.

If the printing is to be on both sides of the paper, then you will need to think about a heavier stock to ensure that the pages don’t allow any show-through.

For business cards etc. you will require less flexibility in your stock and therefore the level of thickness and rigidity will play an important part in your decision.

Environmental issues – recycled paper

All of the papers available are environmentally friendly, with many having some recycled content. We take environmental issues very seriously and all papers we use are FSC Approved, meaning that at least three trees are planted for everyone that is harvested, along with a large number of other environmental safeguards. Another consideration is the level of bleaching. One of the most environmentally friendly papers is unbleached stock. Recycled papers have been developed over the years so that there is very little difference in their performance. Please ask the team at SM1 Print Studio for examples.

Printing on paper

Certain digital papers are now suitable for both digital and lithographic printing, but we can advise you on the best paper to choose to suit both the print process, the resulting impact and any subsequent processes the paper may be subjected to. The paper you choose needs to suit the printing process. For example, certain finishes need paper to suit the techniques.


The cost of paper significantly impacts the cost of a printing project. There are a lot of ways that you can save on the paper cost, so if you feel your quotation is a little on the high side, please speak to us for alternative suggestions.