Paper Types


Paper isn’t just paper. There are many varieties of paper that are defined by numerous characteristics. Below are a few defining qualities.


Uncoated paper does not have any coating of any kind, so ink absorbs into the sheets. It is most commonly used for letterheads, with comps, etc. as it is easier to write on as well.


Coated paper

Coated paper is paper which has been coated by a compound to impart certain qualities to the paper, including weight, surface shine, smoothness or reduced ink absorbency. There are many different kinds of coated paper to choose from.



Matte coated paper is smooth to the touch and somewhat lustreless, with sheen-less surface that does not reflect light.



Gloss coated paper is also smooth to the touch but has a glossy, more light reflective surface than matte coated paper.


Cast Coated

Cast coated paper is often coated with clay or latex which affects the absorbency and appearance of the sheet. The coating is applied in different ways during or after the papermaking process. Cast coated paper is created by pressing or ‘casting’ the still wet coated paper against a polished and hot metal drum. Some cast coated papers can be so smooth and shiny that you can achieve an almost mirror-like reflection on the paper. Cast coated paper also holds ink well to produce sharper and brighter images.



Satin coated paper is quite similar to matte; however it is slightly more reflective.



These stocks are textured, or slightly rough to the touch. They add dimension and an interesting aesthetic to the print. The types of textured coatings can include bubble coatings, sand texture, flocking, a felt-like touch, leather grain and rubber-touch. Again there is constant innovation in this area to “capture” people’s attention.



Recycled paper is paper which is either wholly or partly manufactured from recycled materials.


FSC Accredited

FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an international not-for-profit organisation that was established in 1993 to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. The FSC’s main objective is to set the standard for forestry management, have independent certification and to label forest products, in an effort to offer people around the globe the ability to choose products from an environmental, as well as social, responsible and maintainable forest.


There are many strict standards that must be met in order to be FSC certified or indeed to gain accreditation from the FSC. Basically, to have FSC certified paper stocks, means that the paper was sourced from a sustainable forest, and has had to adhere to these strict principles.


  1. Compliance with all applicable laws and international treaties.
  2. Demonstrated and uncontested, clearly defined, long–term land tenure and use rights.
  3. Recognition and respect of indigenous people’s rights.
  4. Maintenance or enhancement of long-term social and economic well-being of forest workers and local communities and respect of worker’s rights in compliance with International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
  5. Equitable use and sharing of benefits derived from the forest.
  6. Reduction of environmental impact of logging activities and maintenance of the ecological functions and integrity of the forest.
  7. Appropriate and continuously updated management plan.
  8. Appropriate monitoring and assessment activities to assess the condition of the forest, management activities and their social and environmental impacts.
  9. Maintenance of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVFs) defined as forests containing environmental and social values that are considered to be of outstanding significance or critical importance.
  10. In addition to compliance with all of the above, plantations must contribute to reduce the pressures on and promote the restoration and conservation of natural forests.


There are many certificates associated with the FSC including Forest Management, Chain of Custody, and accreditation from an independent auditing operation (so as to maintain independence between the standards) run by a certification body, watched over by the FSC’s wholly owned and controlled subsidiary, AS1 (Accreditation Services International).