How to decide what type of paper to use for a flyer to hand out at a tradeshow?


I'm printing a tradeshow flyer and was wondering what type of paper I should print it on. I don't want anything glossy so I'm trying to decide on the following:

  • 100# text weight matte
  • 80# cover
  • 80# matte

What is the difference between the types above? And how can I make a decision?

7/22/2014 5:23:00 PM

Accepted Answer

There are basically 3 or 4 types of general finishes on stock without getting into texture finishes such as laid or linen...

  • Newsprint/Craft/etc. : These are low-end raw papers used more for utility purposes. Customarily not used for consumer level marketing materials. Newsprint obviously refers to newspapers to give you an idea of quality.
  • Offset : a general uncoated raw paper. This is sometimes referred to as "bond" at the consumer level and would be in line with average every day copier or writing paper. It's got some teeth in the finish and would not be considered smooth to the touch.
  • Matte : Sometimes referred to as "Dull coat" - a dull semi-gloss coating on the stock. Basically it's like a no-glare gloss but not as slick and shiny. Think of laser printer paper, where it's smooth but not particularly shiny. That would be close to a matte stock.
  • Gloss : Slick and reflects light (glare). Gloss is the shiny stock.

The weights vary considerably and refer to the weight of 500 sheets. Note that that this refers to the basis size - meaning the large, untrimmed size, generally 24x36 inches or thereabouts. It does not mean 500 sheets of copier-sized paper weighs 100lbs. So 100# means every 500 sheets of stock at the basis size equals 100 pounds. This is designed to give an indication of the thickness or heft of the stock. A 100# stock will be roughly twice as thick as a 50# stock.

Weights are generally in 3 categories:

  • Book : These are very light weight papers designed for, you guessed it, books. They can be coated or uncoated but are generally just all purpose inexpensive papers. Think of bible pages and how thin and lightweight that stock is... that's a book weight.
  • Text : Text weight stocks are generally better quality paper than book weights and come in slightly heavier weights designed to hold details a bit better (like text). Magazines or novels most often use text weights for their interior pages.
  • Cover : Cover weight papers are thicker in nature and more rigid. Covers are designed to have a bigger "snap" to them and are designed to rip less than lighter weight papers. Postcards are often printed on cover stock, just to give you an idea.

When considering stock weights there are a couple things to think of.... Heavier text weight stock will help ensure you can't read through the stock (you know you read side A but can also slightly see side B on the back at the same time). Lighter weight text stock will fold and crease better.

As for your list.....

  • 100# text matte would refer to a relatively heavy paper with a dull finish. A good all-purpose finish and weight to use for any flier. Although a 60 to 80# text stock would work well also. 100# just means you'll have a "thick" flier that feels heavier than average copy paper.
  • 80# cover refers to a thicker stock with some additional rigidity when compared to average text weight stock. (there's no mention of finish here) I would not use a cover stock for a flier. You'd essentially be creating a large postcard with the same rigidity making it difficult for people to fold it and put in in a pocket. But, if that's your goal, this may be an option.
  • 80# Matte is exceptionally ambiguous. 80# matte cover will be much different than 80# matte text. See above to text and cover differences. The only thing which is clear here is that the finish is a dull coat (matte).

Realize that 100# text will be in the neighborhood of a 80# cover in terms of thickness depending upon the stock. The cover stock will simply be more rigid.

1/31/2019 12:50:00 AM

The 'pound' of paper (paper weight) refers to (supposedly, though I think this is a loose rule of thumb) the weight of a ream of said paper.

The heaver the pound, the denser (typically, thicker) the paper.

20# paper is your typical copier paper.

80# and 100# are thicker/sturdier and (literally) 'heftier'. Most paper above 50# is considered 'card stock' and is suitable for things that require a more substantial presence.

So, in terms of 80# vs. 100#, 100# paper will be a bit heavier than 80# paper.

'Cover' is just a term to mean thicker paper--suitable for things like the cover of a paperback book or report. This is opposed to saying 'text' which is for lighter weight paper used for letterheads and the like.

'Matte' refers to the finish. It's not shiny, as opposed to say 'gloss' which would be a shiny finish.

Where things get confusing is that you can have 100# cover and 100# text. WHen you see weights like that, you can assume (but always check with your printer) that cover vs. text now refers to thickness. Both are heavy papers for their usage, but the cover paper will be much thicker akin to business cards.

Bottom line: Pick your paper by seeing the actual paper. Get samples from your printer before committing to a print run. In the end, it's going to be a personal decision as to what you think works best for the particulars of your project.