All paper starts out as uncoated and is made out of bleached wood fibres, fillers, clay and caulk fillings. At the end of the papermaking machine, it‘s sometimes covered in a white clay or clay and caulk filler which covers up the small crevices, making it smoother.

This coating creates a less porous sheet than uncoated paper stocks. A coated paper, therefore, doesn’t absorb inks as much as an offset or uncoated stock during the printing process. When the inks aren’t absorbed as much into the sheet, they stay on the surface of the paper, making it look glossier which then, in turn, makes the imagery, type and photographs look sharper.

Coated paper stocks are however not always glossy and can be found in a variety of finishes including matt or silk. These finishes make it easier on the eye for reading text-heavy content and have less sheen but can look less glossy as a result.

Uncoated papers can feel rougher in comparison to coated stocks due to the fibres of the wood and other smoothing fillers. Uncoated stocks are also known as bond, offset, card and newsprint. These paper stocks are very porous and soak up much larger quantities of ink. Uncoated stocks have a tendency to dry faster to the touch, as the ink is absorbed into the porous paper. Uncoated stocks are easier to write on as the surface, which accepts the ink more readily than a coated stock. Generally speaking, you can’t write on coated stocks very well without smudging and would need to use a Biro style pen.

From a print/design point of view, we would recommend using glossy stock for brochures, marketing leaflets etc. with pictures and other eye-catching design elements that you want to draw attention to. A matt or silk stock is best for literature that needs to be read, as it is easier on the eye. That said, design style can mean using a completely opposite scenario to this and it all really comes down to your overall requirement and what you want to achieve.

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