What’s the difference between coated and uncoated paper?


When you are choosing a paper for your project, what do all the paper terms mean? We are going to try to sort that out for you.

Coated Paper
Coated paper has been coated with a surface sealant. Paper with a coating is smooth and shiny while uncoated paper is flat with little or no shine. Gloss stock makes colors look smoother, deeper, richer, with great color-contrast. Photos and graphics tend to look better on gloss stock, while text heavy documents and artwork are often use matte stock (which is a coated paper).

Text is more easily read on paper with a matte finish. The softer looking dull surface of matte paper provides color contrast and clarity. Unlike glossy paper, matte stock is more forgiving of fingerprints, smudges and dust.

  • Gloss —gloss coated paper has a high sheen. Gloss papers have less bulk and opacity and are typically less expensive than dull & matte paper of equal thickness.
  • Satin —a satin coating is a less shiny coated finish. It has a lower gloss level than gloss finish, yet a higher gloss level than matte finish.
  • Matte —a matte coated paper is a non-glossy, flat looking paper with very little sheen. Matte paper is more opaque and higher in cost, but still provides an excellent surface for vibrant color.
  • Dull —a dull finish coated paper is a smooth surface paper that is low in gloss.

Uncoated Paper
Uncoated paper stock is paper that has not been coated with a surface sealant. Uncoated paper is very absorbent, and ink dots will tend to spread outwards (i.e., dot gain), leading to a less precise and darker image than when printed on coated stock. A similar effect happens when a paper towel is placed on a spilled drop of coffee. The drop diameter increases and gets a ragged edge as the liquid spreads in the absorbent fibers. This dot gain can be minimized using sophisticated printing techniques, but it can’t be eliminated. Coated paper is less absorbent and therefore dot gain is usually not an issue.

  • Wove or Smooth —these has a very smooth surface.
  • Laid —laid paper is created with textured lines on its surface. This finish is used frequently for business stationery elements, such as letterhead, envelopes and business cards.
  • Linen —similar to a laid finish, this paper has textured lines on the surface of the sheet, but they are finer. This paper is also used for business stationery.

Knight Printing has been producing the highest quality printing in the region for nearly 130 years. We have the expertise and knowledge to bring your business and brand to life. If you want to leave a lasting impression with your customers, our team can guide you in new and exciting ways. Learn more about Knight Printing at knightprinting.com

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