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Expert Advice

Ask a Smartpress Expert: Paper Styles

The idea of fulfilling my digital printing needs with an online service sounds so convenient and easy, but I feel a little intimidated when I start looking at the different paper style selections. I don’t know if I should choose smooth, semi-gloss, or glossy. What are the major features of each, and how are they different from one another?

Here’s everything you need to know about paper finishes:

Uncoated Smooth

Uncoated Smooth Paper Styles

If you’re looking for a paper stock that will add pop9 to your design, uncoated smooth is the option for you. Uncoated papers have a soft look and feel to it. It’s great for producing flyers or invitations. It’s also an ideal paper selection for writing on. With a 96 brightness for sharp contrast, a pleasing blue-white shade, excellent opacity for minimal show-through, and a smooth uniform surface for better resolution, the uncoated smooth paper stock is sure to impress.

Premium Matte

Premium Matte Paper StyleMatte paper has a dull and lusterless finish. It is used to produce quality photos and similar marketing materials as premium gloss but without the vibrant color finish. Like the uncoated smooth paper, a premium matte stock is a good option if you need to write on it. Glare and fingerprints are much less of a problem on matte stocks. Because matte papers soak more ink into the paper, thus reducing the sharpness of anything printed on it, glossy papers are the better choice for highly detailed pieces.

Premium Gloss

Premium Gloss Paper StylesPremium gloss paper stock delivers superior quality paper with a nice, glossy shine that can be somewhat reflective. Premium gloss paper is not just perfect for printing photographs; it’s great for printing brochures, catalogs, magazines, flyers, sell sheets, business cards, postcards, direct mail and other high-end marketing materials. Keep in mind that premium gloss is susceptible to glare or dust.


Semi Gloss Paper StylesSemi-gloss paper, sometimes called “luster paper,” offers a good compromise between matte and glossy, as it reduces glare and potential for smudges, has a broad color range, and is quite durable. For a versatile, consistent, high-quality paper, semi-gloss is the best option. Manufactured with 10% post-consumer recycled fiber, this option is ideal for multi-component projects that include direct mail, as well as brochures and other printed materials.

Felt Weave

Felt Weave Paper ExampleIf you are looking for a quality paper that will leave an impression, felt weave is a fitting solution. Felt weave paper is meant to be handled, with a texture that can be easily seen and touched. Its rich sheets are ideal for printing invitations and high-quality brochures and provides the perfect surface for embossing. Felt weave is the ultimate paper for tactile properties, high-end finishing, and adding a touch of luxury to any stationery.


Linen Paper ExampleIf you want elegant paper without quite the statement of felt weave, opt for linen. Linen is a classic finish and probably one of the oldest as well. A subtle embossing imprints the paper with fine lines in a pattern similar to linen cloth. Depending on what company produces the paper, some linen stock will have deeper and more pronounced “threads” than others. Often used for letterhead and stationery, linen paper has a dull finish, but it gives your correspondence a quiet, classy canvas on which to paint your message.


Eco Paper ExampleFor the environmentally conscious consumer, we offer green printing through eco-friendly paper and FSC Certified Paper. Our eco-friendly paper consists of 50% recycled pulp. FSC Certified Paper isn’t made of recycled materials, but the Forrest Stewardship Council of the United States has verified that the materials have been sourced in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. Providing a beautiful matte finish, our FSC Certified Paper and eco-friendly paper stocks are ideal for responsible design.


Kraft Paper ExampleKraft paper stock is a classic brown toned paper that boasts visible flecks and shives for a look that truly has character. It is relatively coarse compared to typing paper, with a slightly rougher feel. Kraft paper is sturdier than most other paper and holds up well to wear and tear. It is a great material out of which to create invitations, particularly for people who are concerned about the environment. Our kraft paper stock is made from 100% recycled content, with 30% coming from post-consumer waste. Additionally, it is made with 100% green hydropower and processed chlorine free.


Metallic Paper ExampleTo make your work stand out, choose metallic paper for eye-catching shimmer and shine. Metallic paper looks almost like a sheet of stainless steel or dull chrome. When the paper is allowed to show through as negative space, it can add depth and detail to a great design. Our Metallic paper is recycled so you can feel good about adding that extra zest to anything you are creating. It’s ideal for holiday cards, invitations, formal events, and more.

Want to know which paper is perfect for your printing project? Request a free paper sample book from Smartpress! 

One Response

  1. […] about the type of paper you’ll be using for your brochures. If you’re mailing, a paper with a glossy finish is best. If […]

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