Guidelines on Choosing Paper

Choosing a paper that looks and feels good, is appropriate for the tone of your promotional material and has good green credentials, may seem a bit overwhelming! Here is a guideline to decode some of the jargon and help you choose a paper that is environmentally sound as well as meeting the aesthetic demands of your printing. We’ve also included some paper price comparisons* to assist you with your choice of recycled papers.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

Whether you choose coated or uncoated, recycled or virgin paper, make sure it has been endorsed with the following certifications:

FSC: Forest Stewardship Council (What is this?)
PEFC: Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes. (What is this?)
Both PEFC and FSC are independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisations.


WHAT IS COATED PAPER?

It is paper that has a thin layer of fine clay on its surface giving it a smooth waxy feel which can be both matt or gloss in appearance. Litho printed colour images reproduce much more vividly on coated paper than on uncoated paper on which the ink is readily absorbed. With digital printing however, the difference is negligible as the toner sits on the surface of each equally well. While coated papers are generally more cost effective, if it’s a really matt finish that you are after then uncoated paper will be the way to go.


RECYCLED OR VIRGIN FIBRE?

Is recycled paper better than non recycled? (detailed answers here). Some recycled papers contain only partially recycled fibres, so do check the percentage. Recycled paper comes from two sources: pre consumer waste – spoilt sheets and trimmings from the paper mill, and post consumer waste – paper that has already been used in the marketplace. Recycled paper varies in look and feel from earthy and natural to corporate and white, depending on what you require. Although they are mostly uncoated, some ranges are available in a coated version too.


IS SYNTHETIC PAPER RECYCLABLE?

PolyArt Laser synthetic paper used at Hot Ink is 100% recyclable. This makes it a great alternative to printing your promo material on paper and laminating it which renders the combined result unrecyclable. Both PolyArt and Rock Paper are waterproof and tear proof, plus Rock Paper is unique in that it uses no water during it’s production and is completely biodegradable.


WHAT IS GRAMMAGE?

Paper weight is listed in grams per square metre. However, some papers may feel thicker than others even though they may ‘weigh’ less. This is due to the production process and the resulting ‘bulkiness’ of the stock. Here’s a rough guide to appropriate weights for basic stationery (which of course may vary depending on your personal choice):

Letterheads: 80-120gsm

Flyers: 115-150gsm

Brochures: 150-250gsm

Business Cards: 300-450gsm


PAPER SIZES MADE SIMPLE

Read our handy guideline on standard paper sizes.


One of the bigest advantages of digital printing is that you only have to print the amount that you need, when you need it, thus saving you on storage space as well as protecting this resource from unnecessary wastage. Feel free to chat to us about choosing the right paper and how to make the numbers work for you.

*This paper price comparison is a rough guideline to the relative cost of recycled papers from the least expensive to the most expensive. It also shows which papers are wholly recycled and those that are only partly recycled – these are generally more affordable.

Nice Things People Say About Us

“The most creative, accomodating, helpful design team around! Just the BEST!!! Thanks Jurgens!”
Alison Geduld

“Just had business cards designed and printed by you guys! Best looking cards I ever had! Can’t WAIT to hand them out!”
Weddings By Nicolette - hair & make-up

“Very seldom do you get outrageously good service in Cape Town! Garth at Hot Ink continues to impress and amaze me! Thank you!”
Laeni Gittins-Spiers

“I just wanted to send a quick email to say thanks so much for sending my business cards to Hout Bay yesterday.
I really appreciate Hot Ink going above and beyond in their already impeccable service department.
Not only is the product of such excellent quality, but the service is uniquely reassuring.”
Kim O’Hanlon - Kim O’Hanlon Media

“Thank you very much Nicola, really appreciate the excellent service from Hot Ink.”
Dave Barnes - Westlake United Church Trust

“Thank you so much for the quote and your help with deciding on the paper types, etc.
It made all the difference as this is the first time I’m dealing with these things. I’ve been to a few other places as well which just doesn’t compare to the open, honest, friendly and helpful support you provide me. So thank you for that!”
Carl Swart

“It was great working with you. You really helped us in a pinch. We’d love to use you again and won’t hesitate to contact you next time we have to print something for our office in South Africa.”
Judy Edgehill - Levi’s USA

“I just wanted to say thanks so much for your brilliant service and personal attention. You and your team have exceeded expectations.”
Chris Rowland - The Miracle Book

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