Three things to check when switching paper

Photo: Holmen

One of the most common ways to save money on a printed product is to switch to a paper of lesser grammage or different quality. It can be an effective way to reduce costs, but there are a few things you need to keep an eye on when switching to a different paper.


Lower grammages normally have lower opacity, which means you risk having your content showing through to the other side of the paper. This is especially true when it comes to LWC or SC grades. What you can do is look into high bulk papers made from fresh fibre, they basically have more space between the paper fibres which gives the paper higher opacity, so you can use a low grammage without sacrificing opacity.

Too thin

Another thing that you need to consider if you go for a lower grammage, is that your product may be perceived as too thin if you make drastic reductions in grammage. There are however options that can counteract that phone book feeling. One thing you can do is to reduce the format of your magazine. A smaller format can sometimes counteract the floppy feel of a publication with fewer pages. If you want to keep your format, you can again look into high bulk papers, the fresh fibres (first use) are long and rugged and makes the paper sheet thicker and stiffer.

Coated or uncoated?

Coated paper grades have been around a long time and they are often used to signal classic high-end luxury. If that is the look you are going for and that is what your target group wants, perhaps you should reconsider downgrading the paper quality and find savings in some other area. If you do want your publication to stand out from the competition or perhaps your brand has evolved, and you want your paper choice to reflect that, then there are some really cool uncoated options for you to choose from in the market. Some arguments for using an uncoated matte paper are that the surface is very pleasant for the eye and improves readability. You avoid glares and reflections, and not to mention the inevitable fingerprint marks that you get on coated grades. Some uncoated paper grades also have more of a rough surface that gives the reader a different tactile experience.

Taking it to the next step

OK, so what’s next? Most paper suppliers offer samples, plain unprinted sheets but also sample magazines or real printed samples from other customers. Order a bunch of samples, sit down and have a think about how you want your printed product to be perceived. Once you have narrowed your options down, having a dummy made is a really good way to get a feel for how your end product would look and feel with your new paper grade. Some paper manufacturers and PMCs offer this service for a fee, if not, you can order sample paper and have a specialized dummy maker make you one. It may feel like an unnecessary cost, but it really helps you to visualize how your end product will turn out.

Source: Holmen