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What Type of Paper Should I Use for My Print Campaign?

What Type of Paper Should I Use for My Print Campaign?

If you are creating a print marketing campaign to mail out to your locally or nationally targeted customers, one thing you should consider is the type of paper you use. Depending on things like the type of marketing campaign you are planning and what your budget is, some varieties of paper will make more sense than others. We wrote this quick guide to help you choose the best type of paper to suit your budget and your print marketing campaign.
For Brochure & Booklet Ads
If you're designing a booklet or brochure-style ad, there are two questions you need to ask yourself:

What exact form do you want it to maintain?
How sleek do you want the design to be?

In general we advise our clients to go with a slightly thicker and more glossy type of paper, for the following reasons:

Thicker paper is more durable and it’s easier to maintain the folded configuration of a brochure-style ad
More pages or number of folds in your booklet or brochure-style ads requires thinner paper to make sure they're not too bulky
Glossy finishes look more sleek and allow for designs, graphics and text that look more crisp and professional

The general rule is that the more thick or glossy a type of paper is, the more expensive it is. So if you are on a really tight budget you can you can go with a thin paper, with less gloss. If your ad is heavier on text than on pictures or graphic design, it may be more affordable to use less glossy paper.
For Flyer & Poster Ads
Poster and flyer-style ads can have greater range of selection to choose from when compared to brochure and booklet styles because they do not have to worry as much about the bulk or durability of folds. Since they are simpler ads, they can also be much cheaper to print and are also best for businesses who might have a limited or set budgets or want to have greater reach with the campaign. So, when you are deciding on what type of paper to use, you should consider a few factors:

Bigger sized ads need a thicker stock of paper so they aren't so floppy and prone to rips and tears
Paper with glossy finishes are best for more design-heavy ads or ads that you want to look high quality but are more expensive
Whether the nature of your business or brand lends itself more to durability and reliability, to aesthetics and luxury, or something else

As an example of the third point, if your business is a non-profit then using paper that looks high quality and expensive might send the wrong message. Alternatively, if your business is a high end beauty salon then having great quality images of your style and your work sends exactly the right message you want. In general we recommend matte or uncoated finishes that still look aesthetically pleasing without being as expensive as high gloss-finishes.
For Business Card & Postcard Ads
Business card or postcard-style ads are a bit of a different game than the poster and flyer-style ads mentioned above. When it comes to picking the right type of paper for them, here are some guidelines:

Choose a paper that is thick and stocky such as cardstock paper that is on the higher end of weight and thickness for great durability
Avoid any glossy finish both for being expensive but also for being necessary to how postcards normally look and feel
Pick a matte or recycled stock finish that goes better with print ads that have more text and simpler graphics and design

The good thing about postcard type ads are that they tend to be simpler than flyers or brochures, with less text or design elements making them a great option for a business event invitation or to raise awareness of a special sale. For businesses that want to be perceived as reliable and durable, such as a hardware store or car mechanic, it is also a good way to convey that message in your print ads.