Coated and uncoated paper

Coated and uncoated paper

Characteristics and uses of the two main families of paper substrates


Today the market offers many different types of printing paper, differing in their aesthetic characteristics, weight, method of use, surface finish and color tone. However, the most commonly used papers are coated and uncoated papers.

A question of finishing

After the pulp has been pressed and dried, the paper takes on the shape of the actual sheet. It is calendered, i.e. passed through horizontal rollers that give it a surface finish, and then wound onto reels.

During the final stages of processing, the coated paper is coated with a fluid mixture of pigments, binders and additives with a high refractive index. In addition to smoothing the surface of the paper, coating reduces ink penetration for sharper images and brighter colors. On the other hand, uncoated paper remains naturally more porous, absorbing larger quantities of ink. In the printing phase, this characteristic, which makes it much more tactile than the coated version, results in less vivid colors.

Coated paper: sharp images and brilliant colors

Coated paper is widespread and we all experience it every time we leaf through a magazine or any catalog: in addition to being extremely smooth and compact, it feels velvety, almost silky to the touch. Coating can be matt or glossy: the glossy version gives additional brilliance to colors and loads images with reflections; the matt version is more natural and suitable for products to be read and consulted more carefully.

Regardless of the finish, coated paper is used whenever a better color rendering is required, certainly for art and photography books and, more generally, where color images are the main feature, which will result vivid and bright: book covers, illustrated magazines, photographic catalogs, books with colored backgrounds or with many illustrations.

Uncoated paper: from handwriting to publishing vocation

Uncoated paper has a less smooth surface than coated paper because it does not undergo chemical treatments; for this reason it is also called "natural". It is commonly used for printing books and other publishing products in which the text prevails over the images. Novels, technical, assembly or maintenance manuals are printed on this type of paper (which can be white or ivory); since it has an excellent response to the so-called "stroke" (a drawing with clear lines, without shading) it is used for the production of letterheads and notebooks, notebooks and notepads. It is, in fact, the type of paper on which we have been accustomed to write and draw since our school days.

Unlike coated paper, usomania paper absorbs more ink, making the printed result less brilliant. Other critical factors to consider when designing graphics are the excessive use of black, the amount of undercolor in solid backgrounds and very small color spaces.

If unquestionably usoman paper costs less than coated paper, it would be wrong to think that its choice depends exclusively on the need to contain printing costs. In some cases it is the most suitable type of paper. In addition, there are many variations, including many recycled versions (for those who are more sensitive to environmental issues) and/or processed, for example with plant inserts or surface textures.

Don't underestimate the importance of paper for your printing project. Get in touch with us and we will be able to advise you on the one that can best enhance it.