According to ecology.com, the world’s paper consumption has grown 400 percent in the last 40 years with the U.S. being the largest per capita consumer. Each person in the U.S. uses on average 749 pounds (340kg) of paper every year (adding up to a whopping 187 billion pounds (85 billion kg) per year for the entire population. With stats like that, you’d think most people would have a good idea about picking the best paper type for their business’ print media needs.
I’ll never forget when our department finally received our order of direct mailers to send to our customers at a previous employer – the mailers were so glossy no one could write their information on them! They had to be reordered in the correct type of paper so customers would be able to write on them. Having to reprint thousands of mailers put us behind deadline by at least a week. I suppose we were more concerned with making sure our mailers looked pretty, that we didnt think much about the actual functionality of them.
Paper varies in thickness, weight, and materials used in its creation. Taking a look into history, here is an alphabetical list displaying many different paper types for books and manuscripts from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Today, most of us are probably more comfortable using the generic term, “printer paper” for personal or professional needs.
It’s important to note that most personal printers don’t have the same print media production tolerance for many variations in paper thicknesses, weight, and type -- like commercial ones do. Just like paper, print devices are specifically designed to produce specific projects. We learned our lesson the hard way to make sure you’re using the proper paper to print what your business wants. I'll save you the hassle. Knowing how to optimize the quality of your prints starts with knowing paper weight and thickness…