What’s the right printing terminology for glossy and matt?

Paper and card fall broadly into two categories: coated and uncoated. Coated papers and cards are commonly used for leaflets and brochures, and are often called ‘art paper’. The surface of the paper does not absorb ink, which dries instead by oxidisation. Colours tend to be brighter and the definition sharper on coated paper. Within the heading of coated paper and card are gloss art, silk art and matt art.

When printing on any of these art papers, the ink will appear glossy, as it sits on top of the paper; however, the background can be different. With gloss art the white background will also be glossy; with silk or matt art it will not, so there will be a greater contrast between the background and the printed areas. Gloss art is not recommended for items which need to be written on, as pen is likely to smudge; it will also smudge slightly on silk art, but skids less and dries more quickly.

Uncoated papers and cards are commonly used for business stationery (e.g. letterheads and business cards) or any items you want to write on (e.g. forms, delivery notes and order pads). They are often called Bond or Cartridge papers. The surface absorbs ink and, depending on the grade and quality of the paper, very fine images may loose their sharpness. However, modern papers (even recycled brands) can hold quite a small ‘dot’; the most notable difference (set against coated papers) is the reproduction of colours. If you have your business cards printed on coated and your letterheads on uncoated, the same colour ink will look different. Ask Fulprint – we can advise!

Coated papers are denser than uncoated papers, so a 115 gsm coated paper is thinner than a 115 gsm uncoated paper. Feel free to ask us for a printed sample so you can see and feel the difference. For greetings cards we print on a card stock that is coated on the outside (to show off your artwork) but uncoated on the inside (so you can still write on it).

Posted in: Printing Process Questions

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