While the types of paper that you use in your home or at your business might all look the same, subtle differences in paper quality can lead to dramatically different results. Does the quality of the paper you are printing on really matter? Here’s what you should know for the next time you buy a ream of paper.
Good Paper is Uniform
Copy machines and printers are designed to use paper that has specific dimensions, which is why you often need to select what paper you are using before you start your print job. Low-quality paper can have subtle variations in thickness and size across pieces of paper in the same ream. While these low paper quality standards might not be harmful if you are using it as scratch paper to write on, it can lead to jammed and broken copy machines.
Paper Quality Determines Longevity and Performance
Are you printing agendas for a meeting that will only need to last for a few weeks? Are you printing certificates or keepsakes that will be expected to last for years? The answers to questions like these will determine what paper thicknesses and textures are most appropriate for your project. When examining paper for printing, keep in mind that:
- Higher weight paper is thicker and more rigid, and it will generally last longer
- Coated paper is best for printing beautiful images and photographs
- Paper made from a mixture of materials, like 75% wood pulp and 25% cotton, can feel fantastic and also last a long time
- Some paper quality types are best suited to different types of printing, like inkjet or laser
- Paper with the wrong blend of fibers could perform poorly when responding to electrostatic charges and have light prints, issues, or deletions as a result of the kind of paper
Quality Paper Keeps Your Machines Clean
Paper that is not made with quality in mind often gives off dust as it is used and as it runs through copy machines and printers. This dust can accumulate in rollers and clog up other pathways inside the printer. Good paper quality helps prolong the life of your copy machines and multi-function printers by limiting dust and debris and, consequently, reducing breakdowns and paper jams.
Readability Matters for Printed Documents
When you are printing documents that have a lot of text, you should also consider the color of the paper when thinking about paper quality. If you want to design an eye-catching flyer or letter, you should choose a bright white or blue-toned white paper. If you are printing longer documents, like books or booklets, you should choose something less harsh on the eyes, like true white or a cream shade.
Your Paper Makes a First Impression
It should come as no surprise to learn that quality also plays an important role in the perception of your document or pamphlet. Using paper that feels great shows that you care about the information that you are sharing and how it is presented. Using poor-quality paper that feels rough or thin can do the opposite. When exploring what kind you want to choose for your project, you should use a variety of paper quality testing methods to ensure you make the right choice.
Moisture Levels Matter
Poor quality can occur as a result of manufacturing conditions. Paper moisture levels can have a huge impact on print processes. The good stuff is produced with absolute moisture content levels between 4-6%. If your paper is too dry, it can make the printing and finishing processes more difficult and raise the risk of misfeeds. Paper that is too damp can warp and become curled, which often leads to the toner and ink smearing or rubbing off entirely.