Field Guide — A simple Guide to Paper

2 years ago by

Brought to you by B&F Papers

As a young designer exploring the world of paper it is important to understand many of the key properties and attributes that bring you or your clients design and concept to life. There is a large range of paper options to select from and the simplest solution is to contact your B&F Paper Specialist and they will guide you through the selection process to enhance your design concepts. Here are some starting points to get the creative juices flowing.


Questions to think about…

  • What type of message are you or your client aiming to achieve?
    For example, is the appearance of quality important, or is the client environmentally conscious?
  • What printing process will be used? Digital or offset?
  • What is your deadline?
    Certain papers have different drying speeds and this can determine the turnaround time.
  • How can the theme of the design be expressed through paper?
    The thickness, weight, texture and transparency can all impact the look of the design and the end result.
  • What kind of images are you printing and how important is the contrast?
    The more important the contrast, the whiter the paper you need.
  • What is your budget?


Types of paper

Here at B&F Papers we offer a range of papers including coated, uncoated, textured, specialty, synthetic, self-adhesive, digital and packaging.

What is the difference between GSM and UM?

GSM is the abbreviation of grammage, which stands for grams per square metre. A measurement used to identify the weight of different types of paper and card. This term gives the weight of a square metre of paper. In New Zealand standard copier paper is generally 80gsm. The abbreviation, UM or micron is the measurement of thickness (1,000 microns = 1mm). Weight and thickness can be confused. Two papers can both weigh 100gsm, but one can feel thicker due to its texture and bulkiness, or the way it is packaged. Usually paper or card is sold by weight, but sometimes you may see microns instead, particularly when dealing with packaging.

What is the difference between RGB and CMYK?

The artwork being designed on screen will often not match up and look different when printed. Most printed material is printed using the standard four colour process, also known as CMYK. This means every colour in the image is created as a mix of the four inks; cyan, magenta, yellow and black (yes the K stands for black). Computer screens display colour using the RGB system. This means red, green and blue light combine to create the millions of colours on your monitor. Your computer will be able to convert the RGB image into an approximation of CMYK. This conversion will give you a reasonably accurate preview of what the printed piece will look like, but it will not perfectly match your results on the press. Speak to your printer early in the design phase. A good B&F Paper specialist will be able to offer a printed sample to give you a better idea of the possible results.

The images in this post are from AKIN (Tana Mitchell & Emma Kaniuk)’s campaign for B&F Papers‘ Curious Skin & Curious Translucent paper stocks. Both stocks have a matt finish with an ultra smooth feel — outstanding tactile qualities that we wanted to showcase, and literally get into the hands of designers. Included in the pack are samples for you to make your own fortune teller as well as a range of print finishes and techniques to tempt you. All will be revealed…


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