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By: Maricon Williams
When choosing a paper for a project, it is important to make your selection cleverly. Paper influences all the aspects of a print project, together with overall perception, reproduction quality, durability and mailing cost. Choose defectively, and you can spoil an otherwise great product.

Choosing the most appropriate quality paper for your project can be a very complicated task. Paper has many features to consider and new sheets are continually coming into the market. The paper does not only exist to provide the ink a foundation, but to enhance the design of the image you want to depict. First you have to consider the availability of the product early on. Next is the personality of your piece, its life span, texture, color and coating and your budget, of course.

For projects that advocate luxury, metallic, suede, leather and other specialty papers create a stunning first impression. If color and crisp image or photographic reproduction is your concern, a coated gloss, matte or silk sheet is always a great choice. If you are printing a job that mirrors environmental issues, you can use papers with recycled content, visible fibers or a mixed composition with a lower brightness and a texture that conveys the environmental feel. In connection to brightness, blue-whites, which are very popular at the moment, have a higher-brightness and allow colors to stand out, while warmer whites, which have a lower-brightness, are more pleasant to the eyes.

As for colored paper, it can enhance a one-color job and serve as a background cover, but it can also affect the appearance of the printed text and images. Blue ink on an ochre-yellow sheet will look green. If your job requires rigidity, such as business cards, make certain that the paper is manufactured and guaranteed with specific thickness and stiffness.

If your budget allows for specialty printing processes, such as embossing, foil stamping, letterpress and the like, make sure your paper is suitable for these techniques. Ask for some printed samples from the printing company.

Digital printing papers are made especially to perform under the high heat or low moisture conditions of a digital printer or press. Offset papers are manufactured to perform at low temperatures and with liquid inks. When it comes to specialty papers, especially those manufactured overseas, take into consideration the availability of the paper.

There are a lot of ways to save on the general paper cost, but this would make for a whole article in itself. Keep in mind that not all expensive paper are beautiful and suit your project.

When making an allowance for the purchase of a new or unusual paper, work side by side with the supplier. Paper suppliers can help in picking the best possible weight, texture, tear strength and color for the printing surface. Always discuss your paper needs with your paper supplier and your printer at the earliest possible opportunity!

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