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The paper you choose should be consistent throughout all your marketing collateral. For example, if your business card is an off-white color, your letterhead should be on the same colored paper.
It sounds obvious, but not all businesses follow this simple rule. Before you choose your paper, let me give you a quick briefing on paper.
It’s pretty simple.
There are three core finishes of paper in fine stationery/printing:
Wove is by far the most commonly used paper professionals use today. It has a smooth finish and is used to optimum effect with a current/modern image.
Linen is not as common as Wove. With its cross-hatch texture, it has a more classic presentation.
Laid, which has a horizontal lined texture, is similar to Linen because it too has a classic look.
There are some random textures out there that are not widely used, and unless you order a high volume, they may not be practical for your purposes.
These three finishes are equal in quality and should all be 25% cotton paper. Which one you choose depends on how you want your company to appear.
- Do you want a modern appeal? I recommend Wove.
- Do you want a serious, classic appeal? I recommend Linen or Laid.
What about paper color?
Fine stationery (letterheads, sheets, envelopes, and business cards) comes in a variety of shades, but there are really only two widely sold colors – white and off-white. Off-white is often referred to as natural, while white could be called fluorescent or bright white, depending on the manufacturer.
The natural off-white color lends itself to classic images, and the white lends itself to current/modern-day images.
There are a few other papers that come in light blue and grey, but 99% of fine stationery comes in white and off-white, with a dozen different shades. Business card stock, on the other hand, comes in just about every color under the rainbow and can be ordered in a variety of thicknesses.
Does bond paper have to be 100% cotton?
No. Originally, bond paper was 100% cotton. Over the years however, the cotton ratio in bond paper has dropped to 25%. Some manufacturers produce 100% cotton paper. One of these is Crane, which has undergone dozens of changes in recent years.
Personally, I enjoy the feel and touch of 100% cotton paper. It costs more, but feels better.
How thick should my paper be?
Here are some standards.
- In fine stationery, the standard for letterheads and envelopes is 24 lb.
- In fine stationery, business cards are a minimum of 80 lb.
- In fine stationery, paper is always uncoated
- In fine stationery, paper is always made with some percentage of cotton
- Presentation folders are over 80 lb. minimum
- Note cards/folders are over 80 lb. minimumNote: this article refers to uncoated paper in the world of fine stationery for professionals, using offset, engraving, or embossing.