Tips for Picking the Perfect Paper for Your Project and Printer

In today’s world, it seems every kind of business has its own needs for paper products. For general office work, standard copy paper is sufficient. There are a lot of other industries where this is not enough. For people working for advertising businesses, architectural firms, engineering companies, or who are photographers or artists, more specialized printers and paper is needed. For example, if your business or project requires the use of inkjet plotter paper rolls or engineering bond paper in bulk, getting the right paper is crucial to success. Here are some tips for getting the right paper for your printer and project:

  • Look at the brightness. When people talk about the brightness of paper, or another material, they are most often talking about the way light works with the material. It can also be defined as the way the material reflects blue-spectrum light. The reason this is so important is that it has a direct impact on how sharp images and text will appear on the paper. In measurements of brightness, 100 is the most bright. Artists typically need the brightness to stay between 90 and 100.
  • As you may imagine, this is extremely important for photographers who use color. The brightness level does not only impact the sharpness but also can interfere with the colors of the images. For these professionals, there is no one hard and fast rule when it comes to the brightness level. Picking the paper with the right level of brightness depends more on the specific project being worked on.
  • Get the right weight. When people are talking about the weight of paper, they are referring to both the thickness as well as the heft of the material. This is measured by each piece of paper. This does not refer to the weight of the ream or of the inkjet plotter paper rolls. The weight is measured as grams per square meter or GSM. Getting the right weight will impact how it feels as well as how the images and text look.
  • When it comes to general office use, standard weights work just fine. When you are dealing with inkjet plotter paper rolls and more artistic or commercial projects, the weight of the paper needs to be adjusted. Lighter papers are also thinner so they are not the best for absorbing ink. If you need a paper that will be able to hold onto ink or will last longer, you are better off getting a heavier paper.
  • Give some thought to the brand of ink and paper you are using. Often this gets overlooked but it can make a big difference in the outcome of your projects. Some ink brands react differently will different kinds of paper. Knowing how the two will work together can make a big difference in getting the result you want. If you are looking to create something that will last, your best bet is to go with ink that is pigment-based. When you use that ink with paper that is artist-grade, your images and text should last a long, long time.
  • Think about the finish on the paper. You have several options here, gloss, semi-gloss, and matte. Here is an overview of all three:
    • Glossy paper has a coating that is very reflective. This can work well when the results will need to be vivrant in color and the images need to be very sharp. If the final product will be displayed in a public space, this paper type works really well. This is the preferred paper for formal portraits.
    • Semi-gloss paper has some gloss but not as much. Some typical finishes with this are pearl, lustre, and satin.
    • Matte paper has no gloss. The lack of the coating that makes the paper glossy means you can opt for a number of textures that range from thick paper that is dimpled to a soft velvet type texture. One of the best features of this kind of paper is that it works great when the desired result is deep colors or black and white images.

If you use inkjet plotter paper rolls, any time spent getting the right paper is time and energy well spent.

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