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Tuesday, 23 February 2016 16:52

Lock Stock Trend Spotter: Uncoated Paper

When we were at school paper was paper. It was A4 or A3 and any coloured or textured variants were locked away in the art cupboard for Christmas or Easter.

Fast forward a few decades (we won’t tell you exactly how many) and paper has taken on a whole life of its own. Textures, coatings, weights, surface treatments – you name it, we’ve probably dealt with it.

We strive to keep our customers up to speed with the latest trends, especially if they’ve worked with us for many years and are looking to freshen up their magazine, catalogue or promotional offering.

So what’s the latest trend to hit the printing press?

Uncoated paper. Now it might not sound like something to get excited about, but believe us when we say it surpasses its rather bland name in look, feel, weight and overall aesthetic appeal.

Why is it so popular? There are a few reasons. Firstly, thanks to its unrefined, natural texture and softer printing finish, uncoated paper embodies the nation’s trend for eco products, even though as a material it stakes no such claim. Secondly, it feeds our new found hunger for heavier paper stock and is, in fact, already mainstream on the continent.

Using uncoated paper says something about your brand which standard coated paper simply doesn’t. In addition to that ‘organic’ connotation that we automatically make with this sort of material, uncoated paper has become a symbol of understated style and of unquestionable quality – making even thinner brochures or pamphlets feel heavier and more credible.

Sitting within the umbrella of uncoated paper, you have a number of options to choose from:

  • Smooth and super smooth the most popular sort, delivering a strong ink holdout and crisp dot resolution for sharper images
  • Felt and embossed linen finishes which are the most textured
  • Vellum which is a translucent paper with a subtle rough surface
  • Linen and compressed laid finishes which are more conservative choices for a quality corporate feel
  • Wove which is popular for laser printing because of its bulk and slightly rough surface

Now you may have noticed we mentioned the popularity of smooth and super smooth uncoated paper because of their printing compatibility – this is an important consideration for anyone who is thinking of switching to uncoated paper for their printed marketing. Let us explain.

In a nutshell, uncoated paper is more absorbent than its coated counterpart, which means it accepts and holds ink differently and if left unmanaged, you may see dot gain, ink bleeding and cracking. But fear not uncoated paper converts because Adobe Photoshop and new colour-management systems make it easy for designers and printers to create consistent, predictable results on uncoated paper stock. Phew!

Outside of that nutshell, there are of course a whole host of other complexities to using uncoated paper and yes, that comes at an additional cost above and beyond what you’d pay for standard coated paper. We think the finished product is absolutely worth it and using Lock Stock for your printing requirements means you won’t need to worry about all those additional complexities anyway.

If you think uncoated paper could be just the ticket for breathing life back into your printed marketing, but you can’t tell the difference between your linen and your wove, drop us a line today.

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