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  • October 6, 2019

The Differences Between Gloss, Matte, Uncoated Paper

  • Written by Printing Professional

When using printing servies, one of the choices customers have is whether to use uncoated, matte, or gloss paper. These differences may not be apparent to someone who is not familiar with printing, however, but the finished result may not be what you expected when the wrong type of paper is used.

All paper starts uncoated; this paper is completely unfinished with no additional coating while matte paper actually has a 25% coating. Gloss paper has a 50% coating that does not absorb ink as much as matte or uncoated paper. The most reflective paper is UV gloss, which is actually an additional coating applied to paper that is matte or gloss.

As more coating is applied, paper becomes more reflective. Most people wouldn’t consider matte paper to be reflective, but it reflects slightly more light than uncoated paper because of the 25% coating. The two paper types are not interchangeable and one may be preferable over the other depending on the project.

Each of these types of paper has its best uses.

Uncoated paper works well for a large amount of text because it lacks glare. It also reduces pencil or ink smudges. However, uncoated paper absorbs more ink, which makes images more muted and colors less vibrant. Images printed on matte paper have higher contrast than those on uncoated paper yet remains softer in appearance than gloss paper. This paper is suitable for projects that do not require bold or flashy colors, and ink tends not to smudge on matte paper. The most common confusion that we hear is when customers interchange the terms matte and uncoated.

The shine of glossy paper makes it great for marketing material that relies on clear, colorful images. Glossy paper is the smoothest of these cardstock options but is more difficult to write on.

You can save time and money by knowing which type of paper you want when shopping for printing servies.

Clients in need of commercial printing services and who are unsure with paper type best suits their needs can ask the printing company for recommendations. Some commercial printing services even provide custom options such as silky or velvet paper, which may better suit your needs.