What is the Best Paper for Printing Flyers?

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Flyers are a great way to extend your promotional reach. You might have a really small sales team, yet flyers can be out there working for you, putting your message in front of potential customers. So, you design a great flyer, only to choose the wrong kind of paper, making your flyer dull and mediocre. It disappoints and leaves you cold, the complete opposite of the effect you hoped for. Choosing the right type of paper can make a significant difference.

So, what is the best paper for printing flyers? Print industry experts say choosing papers with the following features can make great flyers that pop:

  • An 80-100 gsm (grams per square metre) text stock
  • Matte or glossy finish
  • White or colour paper, chosen to fit your brand and specific flyer.
  • Textured paper

Getting the right type of paper for your flyer depends on several factors you may not be familiar with. Read on to sort out the confusion and choose papers that create the best flyers possible for your project.

What’s the Difference Between a Gloss or Matt Finish?

The paper finish you choose should convey the right mood and message for your company.

Gloss paper is best for photos or artwork, as it does not allow colours to absorb into the paper fibres, giving the appearance of depth to your photos. Text-heavy projects printed with a glossy finish makes it difficult to read because of the glare from reflected light.

Matt finishes create a softer mood and are great for a mixture of text and photos. While there is still some shine to make your photos beautiful, a customer can read the text as there is not the same glare there is from a high-gloss finish.

The finish you choose also depends on the feel you want to give your flyers. For example, gloss might be the right choice if you are advertising an upcoming gala or flashy event. If your design is photo heavy, a glossy finish will help your flyer stand out and get noticed.

Conversely, if you’re aiming for a more relaxed vibe you could opt for a matt finish. For example, if you’re promoting a retreat of some sort, a matt finish will convey the calm and peaceful atmosphere you intended. Matt is also a good choice if your flyer design features a combination of photos and text content, as it’s easy to read.

Choosing between a gloss or matt finish depends on your end goal for your finished flyers, and what message you want to give potential customers.

Should You Use Textured or Smooth Stock?

As with the paper’s finish, choosing between a textured or smooth stock also conveys a certain message to your audience. 

The paper used in office printers and copiers is a “wove” type of paper, which has a semi-rough texture. Smooth paper, however, has a soft and even feel in contrast to the wove paper. Vellum paper is smooth as well, but with an eggshell feel to it. These types of stock are standard for most flyers.

When your project calls for a luxurious high-end feel, using a textured stock can add that air of sophistication. You might use a textured paper for wedding announcements or a black-tie event. Linen stock is a common type of textured stock you might recognise. It has subtle woven lines and looks a lot like cloth. You might choose to use this for announcing a wedding, or maybe a country fête.

A felt stock has a smooth texture and resembles cloth with no visible lines. When you want to impress a potential client or customer, felt stock can lend a feeling of elegance. When printed, the ink is highlighted in a way that flat paper does not.

A carefully chosen textured stock can show sophistication. While smooth stock shows off your photos or text better. Your event or marketing angle will help determine what type of stock to use.

What Colour Paper Should You Use?

After deciding on the paper finish and texture to use for your flyer, think about the paper colour you want. Should you use plain white paper or coloured paper?

The answer to that lies in your design, preferences, and intended audience. 

When creating a sales flyer, different colours highlight different messages. For example, if you want to catch impulse sales, using red would be your perfect choice. But do so sparingly, as red can overpower your message.

If you are selling high price items, blue paper could help you create a feeling of calm and peace. That might be one way to reassure potential customers and convince them they are making the right choice. To create a sharp contrast and make your message stand out, use black paper and white ink, which shows boldness and confidence.

Of course, typically you can print regular white stock any colour you require. Your graphic designer or studio will have a specific reason to choose a coloured stock. A white stock can highlight bold ink colours or beautiful photos. You can also use any number of different colours on white paper to create a unique message.

Whichever colour you choose, make sure it fits the message and statement you wanted to make.

 What is the Best Stock Weight to Use?

If you have all the other factors right, but you use cheap, flimsy paper, what message are you sending to your audience? 

The perfect range for most people is between 80gsm stock and 100gsm stock. While 70gsm stock will work, it is on the shallow end of quality, and your flyers may not stand up to the conditions you need it to perform in. In most cases, 80gsm stock is the minimum that you should go to for practical reasons. If you’re willing to spend more, heavy stocks can lend the correct weight desired for higher-end projects.

100gsm stock is sturdy, yet still flexible enough to fold if needed. It’s weighty enough to be high-end without being too stiff. However, any stock weight between 80gsm and 100gsm is appropriate for flyers.

Project Considerations

After choosing the types and colours of paper for your project, how do you make the final choice? There are three considerations you need to think about before sending the final design to your print company.

What is the Purpose of Your Flyer?

If you need a basic flyer meant for posting around town, then choosing normal “wove” unfinished stock should be perfect. And your stock colour should reflect your message.

However, if you’ll be handing flyers out to people coming into your office, you want to choose paper that sets the right tone. A photographer might want to use a matte finish for photo samples using a lot of text, but a glossy finish if very little text is part of the finished design.

What is Your Budget?

Your budget will more than likely determine what type of paper you use. If your budget allows for only an 80gsm, wove, unfinished paper stock, then that’s likely what you will use. Of course, If your budget is a bit higher, you can then splurge on better paper.

How Will Your Message be Conveyed: Text or Visuals?

Does your content call for great legibility? A text-heavy design on glossy paper is not recommended, as the glare makes the text difficult to read. If your flyer design is light on text content and uses large type and more photographs or artwork, gloss might have greater impact.

Likewise, printing a flyer heavy with photographs on a matte finish might result in a dull appearance and lost customers. But if communicating via text, printing on a matte finish helps push your message forward much better.

Conclusion

The best paper for your flyer depends on your project and budget. You might consider choosing your paper before working on your design, if it makes your process that much smoother.

Printing some simple flyers at home for a personal project? If you aren’t working with a commercial print supplier, you’ll need to choose your paper size too. Printing News has an excellent guide for determining the proper size paper for your project. They say that if you have a lot of information to put in your flyer, an A4 (11.7” x 8.3”) (297 mm x 210 mm) size will be best. While a postcard flyer will be better on an A6 (5.8” x 4.1”) (148 mm x 105 mm).

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Haskins Design is based in South-West England. We bridge the chasm between freelance designers and big-budget agencies, to bring you a more sensible, agile, and efficient set of creative services.