Grades Of Commercial Printing Paper

Grades of Paper:

Believe it or not, the type of paper you print on matters. When you hold a piece of paper, you can tell whether it is a light or heavier stock. When you print on it, the printer takes into consideration the paper choice you’ve chosen. Here at CMYK, we print on all different types of paper depending on the job. When it comes to different types of paper, the grade and weight of the paper are determined by the type of the print job. Let’s take a look at the common differences in paper and what it means.


When it comes to commercial printing papers, there are seven grades (types) of paper. These types are:


Bond: Also known as writing paper, this type is used in most copiers, forms for a business or letterheads.
Book: This is the most commonly used paper for printing. This is either coated or uncoated paper.
Cover: This type of paper is used when a greater bulk (heavier paper) is required. This is usually found on postcards, mail inserts or book covers. Cover paper has a variety of colors and surfaces as well.
Text: This type of paper comes in a number of colors and surfaces and is a high-quality grade of paper.
Tag, Index or Bristol: These types of paper are uncoated, except for bristols and are a smooth surface. These types of papers are commonly found on tickets, file folders and in displays.

Within each grade of paper lie other variances and distinctions. For example, the brightness, fiber content and opacity can be different depending on which stock of paper used.


To break it down even further, a common practice to determine paper is by their weights. Coated paper is a more condensed paper so when you switch from one grade to another, you cannot always keep the same weight. Let’s look at the different grades of paper and the weights that they use:


• Bond: When printing forms the weight is normally 16#, copy paper is 20# and stationery is 24#.
• Text: The most common weights for text are 70# or 80# but text ranges from 60# to 100#.
• Cover: Varies in weights from 65#, 80#, 100#, 111# and 130#.
• Offset and Opaque: Ranges between 50# to 100#.
• Coated Book: For web, the grade is between 30# and 70# and for sheet fed paper; the grade is between 60# and 100#.


In today’s high-speed society, laser printing adds toner on a substrate, whether it’s black and white or full color. With laser printing, whether it’s a digital web press, digital copier or a sheet fed machine, printing requires that the paper can withstand the heat used to print from the machines. This is why it’s important to pick paper that is compatible with the machines.


At CMYK, we have clients that have used all different methods of printing with different grades and variances of paper. It’s important to know what type of paper you want to use for your printing needs. If you aren’t sure which type to use, please contact us and ask. Make sure that you make an informed decision, as we only want the best for our customers. CMYK appreciates your business and we look forward to working with you on your future projects. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Robert, Charles or Tom at 201-458-1300.