Printing Companies
  1. About Printing Industry
  2. Printing Services
  3. Print Buyers
  4. Printing Resources
  5. Classified Ads
  6. Printing Glossary
  7. Printing Newsletters
  8. Contact Print Industry
Who We Are

Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

Need a Printing Quote from multiple printers? click here.

Are you a Printing Company interested in joining our service? click here.

The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

PIE's staff is here to help the print buyer find competitive pricing and the right printer to do their job, and also to help the printing companies increase their revenues by providing numerous leads they can quote on and potentially get new business.

This is a free service to the print buyer. All you do is find the appropriate bid request form, fill it out, and it is emailed out to the printing companies who do that type of printing work. The printers best qualified to do your job, will email you pricing and if you decide to print your job through one of these print vendors, you contact them directly.

We have kept the PIE system simple -- we get a monthly fee from the commercial printers who belong to our service. Once the bid request is submitted, all interactions are between the print buyers and the printers.

We are here to help, you can contact us by email at

Custom Printing Success Often Hinges on Wise Paper Choices

If almost all printing companies put ink on paper, knowing how to determine and articulate your paper needs will help you get the results you expect from your printing services. This is true whether you’re working with brochure printers, book printers, sticker printers, or postcard printers. Understanding paper qualities will help you in all these cases.

How Do You Choose a Paper Stock for Your Print Job?

It’s all so confusing: #1 sheets, #4 sheets. Whiteness, brightness. What do paper grades mean?

First of all, “paper grade” refers primarily to a paper’s brightness. Brightness is not the same as whiteness. Brightness measures the amount of light a particular paper reflects, whereas whiteness refers to the color of the light it reflects. That is, a particularly bright sheet, known as a #1 sheet, reflects more light than a #2, or #3 sheet.

Currently, paper companies also include high opacity, good formation, and runnability on press as criteria for determining a paper grade. In addition, the newer #2 sheets are often as bright as some #1 sheets. For exceptionally bright paper, you should worry less about the grade (#1 or #2) and more about the paper brightness measurement. Look for a paper stock with a brightness between 94 and 98. The highest level on this scale is 100.

Slightly different from “brightness” is “whiteness.” A paper stock may be “yellow-white” or “blue-white.” That is, a particular printing stock may have either a yellowish (or warm) cast, or it may have a bluish (or cool) cast. The purest white sheet reflects all colors equally. A blue-white sheet looks brighter than a yellow-white sheet and provides more contrast to the text and images printed on it.

In contrast, a warmer, yellow-white sheet might be a better choice for flesh tones. It would also be easier on the eyes than a blue-white sheet, so you might choose a yellow-white sheet for a job with a lot of text and relatively few images.

As you choose paper for your custom printing job, also remember that most offset inks are somewhat (or totally) transparent, depending on the ink. The paper substrate therefore alters the perceived colors of the inks (like a filter placed over a theater spotlight). This is why flesh tones might look more natural on a warm, yellow-white sheet than on a blue-white paper.

How Would You Choose One Sheet Over Another?

The short answer is to get a printed sample, or ideally a number of printed samples on various grades of paper and in various shades of whiteness. Nothing will show paper differences more dramatically than the same image printed on a blue-white and a yellow-white sheet, or a #1, #2, or #3 grade paper stock.

If you’re looking for some guidelines as a starting point, consider an annual report. The paper may need to be crisp and bright to reflect financial success. Therefore, you might choose a blue-white sheet (for perceived brightness), a #1 sheet (for actual light reflecting power or true brightness), and a coated sheet to make the photography “pop” (by increasing contrast).

To project a more environmentally conscious image, a wildlife foundation might choose an uncoated #2 or #3 sheet with a more subdued yellow-white cast. This would tone down the image of the annual report and make it seem less aggressive.

Catalogs and directories are often printed on #3, #4, or #5 sheets. In this case, particularly given the huge amount of paper involved (and the fact that higher grade sheets cost more than lower grade sheets), you could save a large amount of money by choosing a lower grade (less bright) paper stock.

As you get further down the list of paper grade measurements (#3, #4, and #5 sheets), paper stocks also start to include impurities, such as “lignin.” In contrast to “freesheets” (or lignin-free sheets), lower-grade paper stocks do not last as long (their often acidic nature allows the paper to yellow and become brittle).

Lower-grade papers include “commodity” and “groundwood” stocks (made by physically grinding up wood rather than chemically decomposing it to create the wet mixture from which paper is made). These paper stocks, ideal for magazines and catalogs, are often very thin. Some are “supercalendared” (passed through a series of metal rollers during the paper-making process) to give them a flat, hard surface.

Learning to identify and specify the best paper for your particular business printing job will help ensure that you receive the results you expect from your printing services. Take the time to understand the various qualities of paper and how the paper stocks differ. Learn to distinguish the papers best suited to business printing jobs with brochure printers, book printers, sticker printers, or postcard printers. Understanding paper qualities will help you in all these cases.

Comments are closed.


Recent Posts


Read and subscribe to our newsletter!

Printing Services include all print categories listed below & more!
4-color Catalogs
Affordable Brochures: Pricing
Affordable Flyers
Book Binding Types and Printing Services
Book Print Services
Booklet, Catalog, Window Envelopes
Brochures: Promotional, Marketing
Bumper Stickers
Business Cards
Business Stationery and Envelopes
Catalog Printers
Cheap Brochures
Color, B&W Catalogs
Color Brochure Printers
Color Postcards
Commercial Book Printers
Commercial Catalog Printing
Custom Decals
Custom Labels
Custom Posters Printers
Custom Stickers, Product Labels
Custom T-shirt Prices
Decals, Labels, Stickers: Vinyl, Clear
Digital, On-Demand Books Prices
Digital Poster, Large Format Prints
Discount Brochures, Flyers Vendors
Envelope Printers, Manufacturers
Label, Sticker, Decal Companies
Letterhead, Stationary, Stationery
Magazine Publication Quotes
Monthly Newsletter Pricing
Newsletter, Flyer Printers
Newspaper Printing, Tabloid Printers
Online Book Price Quotes
Paperback Book Printers
Postcard Printers
Post Card Mailing Service
Postcards, Rackcards
Postcard Printers & Mailing Services
Post Card Direct Mail Service
Poster, Large Format Projects
Posters (Maps, Events, Conferences)
Print Custom TShirts
Screen Print Cards, Shirts
Shortrun Book Printers
Tabloid, Newsprint, Newspapers
T-shirts: Custom Printed Shirts
Tshirt Screen Printers
Printing Industry Exchange, LLC, P.O. Box 394, Bluffton, SC 29910
©2019 Printing Industry Exchange, LLC - All rights reserved