Paper Coatings FAQ

We use recycled, bright white, satin aqueous coated paper for our postcards, door hangers, palm cards, business cards, rally signs, and brochures.  This coating is our standard for acheiving the highest print quality and brilliance of color, while providing a great soft sheen and feel in the hands of your constituents.  This process also holds up to sun and the elements, making the effect of the piece long lasting.  For our letterhead and envelopes, we use a uncoated 100% recycled pulp stock.  This durable and substantial paper is perfect for taking ink for addressing, desktop printing, labeling, and handwriting.

 What is uncoated paper?

uncoated paper
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All paper stocks start out being uncoated. Uncoated paper is porous with an uneven, rougher surface. As a result, uncoated paper is easier to write on as it absorb ink readily and dries to the touch faster. However, the heavier amount of ink uncoated paper absorbs may result in less rub resistance. Uncoated stocks include bonds, offsets, card, and newsprint.

What is coated paper?

coated paper
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After manufacture, the uncoated paper surface may be coated with white clay materials. The clay gives the paper a smooth feel by filling minute valleys in the paper surface. The coating also limits the absorption of inks into the paper. Because the inks stay on the surface of the coating instead of soaking in, the ink looks deeper, sharper and glossier. However, writing and ballpoint pen inks may take longer to dry on coated paper and can smudge more easily. On coated stock, less ink is need to achieve the desired visual richness for text, images and photo's.

Coatings are offered in a range of reflectivity values including dull, matte, silk, satin or glossy. Reading long areas of text is easier when printed on dull or matt finishes. After printing images on dull or mat stock, a varnish can be applied to the picture areas to add gloss and make the pictures pop.

What's the difference between coated and uncoated paper?

Paper with a coating is smooth and shiny while uncoated paper is flat with little or no shine. Gloss stock makes colors look smoother, deeper, richer, with great color-contrast. Photo's and graphics tend to look better on gloss stock, while text heavy documents and artwork are often use matte stock.

Text is more easily read on paper with a matte finish. The softer looking dull surface of matte paper provides color contrast and clarity. Unlike glossy paper, matte stock is more forgiving of fingerprints, smudges and dust.

Uncoated paper is very absorbent, and ink dots will tend to spread outwards (i.e., dot gain), leading to a less precise and darker image than when printed on coated stock. A similar effect happens when a paper towel is placed on a spilled drop of coffee. The drop diameter increases and gets a ragged edge as the liquid spreads in the absorbent fibers. This dot gain can be minimized using sophisticated printing techniques, but it can't be eliminated. Coated paper is less absorbent and therefore dot gain is usually not an issue.

What is uncoated finishing?

A protective coating or varnish will not be applied to the printed piece.
uncoated paper printed, no coating finish coated paper printed, no coating finish
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Printed paper, no finishing coat.
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Printed coated paper, no finishing coat.

What is aqueous coating?

An aqueous coating is a water-based coating applied to a printed piece to enhance the graphics with a matte or gloss finish and to provide added durability and protection. Aqueous coatings provide good rub and scuff resistance. Like other finishes applied to printed paper, it protects the surface from scratches, fingerprints, dirt, and smudging.