Science of Paper Choice

Print, in the simplest terms, is ink on paper. If you consider ink or paper simple. Today, let’s focus on two points, weight and color, to narrow down the right paper for your market and message.

Feel of the Sheet

The power of touch is an extremely powerful communicator of brand identity. I can’t emphasize enough the consideration of sensory responses triggered by print. I’m not alone. Mohawk Paper’s Maker Quarterly takes readers, designers, and marketers deep into the visual and tactile effects of print.  And check out this video from Sappi’s Neuroscience Shorts  explain the power of the weight and finish of paper choice in relation to the final impression of trustworthiness perceived (or not perceived) by the user.

“How the Medium Shapes the Message”

Psychology of the Color

Color psychology is a common tool in marketing. Theories like red equals action and black infers sophistication show themselves repeatedly in design. Luxury car marketing inevitably includes some combination of black and silver. Deep blue relays “power,” so attorneys and banks commonly use dark blue stocks, often adding to the sensory experience by utilizing linen or other textured options.

Also, the color of the sheet is the first important factor when choosing the best production processes to utilize. For example, conventional, metallic foil remain the most popular process utilized on deep shades of uncoated sheets. Again, promoting the psychology of stability, security, maybe even wealth. Or, once the holiday season approaches, foil effects are often used with rich colors to convey festivity and celebration.

So Many to Choose

Although paper mills have converged and combined over the years, there are still dozens of finishes, from smooth (with many variations of smooth) to felt (with each brand having a unique embossed pattern) to columns/grooves and more. Even whites vary from pure white to bright white to, well … white.  We keep a wide array of inventory, plus work with our paper vendors daily, to meet the variety of stock requests.


All of this is better to see and feel than discuss; reach out to our team to help you convey your best message on your next project.