Collateral Materials

Paper Choices for Collateral Materials

You have a dizzying array of paper choices for your brochures and printed collateral. Should you go with the 8# premium matte finish or the 100# gloss option? We'll break down your choices and help you decide which paper choice makes sense for your collateral materials.

What's the best paper choice for your brochure?

Paper Choices for Collateral Materials

There is no easy answer to that question. There are a lot of paper options for brochures and other forms of marketing collateral, and the right one depends a lot on what you're trying to accomplish.

Although there are no hard and fast rules about paper selections, here are some considerations to help you survive your next trip to the paper store.

Paper Weight

Paper comes in different weights or pounds, usually expressed with the # sign. The heavier the weight, the thicker the paper. Thinner paper selections are usually not considered to be optimal for brochures and other forms of collateral. In fact, the majority of brochures are printed on just three paper weights:

  • 80# - This is a very common paper choice because although it has substance, it isn't difficult to fold or mail.
  • 100# - About 25% heavier than 80#, this paper option feels even more substantial and is also a popular option.
  • 80# cover - Twice as thick as 80# paper, 80# cover is rugged stuff. It can be used on ordinary brochures as well as collateral that will be required to stand up on its own (e.g. table tents).

Paper Finish

You have two choices in paper finish: Matte and gloss. Matte finishes are duller than glossy finishes, but don't let the name fool you. In many cases, a matte finish can communicate a more professional appearance than a glossy one. Glossy finishes, however, are the preferred choice for materials that feature a large amount of images, photos, or artwork.

Paper Size

Brochures are typically designed to be either three- or four-fold creations printed on standard paper sizes including 8½x11, 8½x14, 11x17, and 11 x 25. Keep in mind that 8½x11 and 8½x14 are the most common choices because larger sizes require special handling and more postage.

Regardless of how many pieces you are printing, your office printer or copier may not be able to handle the job, especially if you are using a specialty paper choice. Instead of trying to struggle through it with your hardware resources, seriously consider turning the job over to an outside printer.

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