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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.

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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.

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Choosing Between Printing With Uncoated Or Coated Paper

Almost all companies will get to the point where they need to print information on paper for clients, customers, or other people to read. Printing companies are capable of printing quality collateral for other businesses in high quantities, making them more ideal in most situations than printing collateral with one’s own printer.

For printing commercially, there are two types of paper to choose from, both of which printing companies can use within chosen design patterns. These are uncoated paper and coated paper.

The Difference Between Both Paper Stock Types

All paper originates as an uncoated paper stock ( like the paper you use in your desktop printer, e.g. 20lb. bond or 50lb. white offset, porus to the touch ). When manufacturing a coated paper stock, the paper mill takes an uncoated stock and adds a clay and chemical mix coating. This is like waxing your auto paint finish. This clay and chemical coating thus fills in the pores of this uncoated stock in creating a smooth and more reflective finish after calendering ( or buffing ) the paper stock.

Uncoated Paper Stock vs. Coated Paper Stock

An Uncoated paper stock absorbs ink ( offset presses ) like a spunge. The pores allow less reflective values as light enters the uncoated stock pores. Thus, less sharper images reflecting back to any eye.

A Coated paper stock has a smooth buffed / calendered finish in which ink dries predominantly on the surface. Thus, much less paper interior ink absorbed inside any coated paper stock. This smooth finish and like waxing an auto paint finish, allows light to reflect back much better – like a mirror to any eye delivers sharper and more crisp image reflections.

If one seeking sharp and crisp images with their printing project, coated paper is highly recommended. Uncoated stocks and Coated paper stocks offer numerous choice variations within each category.

Uncoated stock: brightness, stock thickness, white or colored shades of stock, etc.

Coated stock: Brightness, thickness, & finishes as gloss, semi-gloss, dull gloss, matte ( a flat coated white finish ) , etc.

Uncoated Paper

Depending upon any specific custom printing project, choosing the right paper stock is paramount in receiving your best and targeted design quality results. For one, Uncoated paper can be as light or as heavy as you need it to be. Uncoated paper can be thin for little booklets and brochures, or thick for applications that anticipate wear and tear, such as temporary outdoor signage.

Uncoated paper comes with more texture ( porous finish ) than Coated paper. It is easier for commercial printers to print on Uncoated stock since it can absorb ink easier in having more texture. The majority of Uncoated paper finishes are actually quite softer and ideal in seeking no slickness as you would receive from most Coated papers.

Coated Paper

Coated paper is the less common of the two types of paper, both for small businesses and small business printing services. Coated paper reflects light in an attractive way thus yields a more classy and sophisticated design ( higher cost ). The printed content on a Coated paper yields sharper and crisper images than Uncoated paper. Again, if image quality detail is high on your list, using a Coated stock is highly recommended. Coated paper is most ideal for printing photographs and color images as a Coated paper is the only way in showing off design details.

Choosing Between Uncoated and Coated Paper

Both types of paper can be used to print posters, flyers, brochures, postcards, business cards, calendars, catalogs, and other types of collateral. Which one should you go with for your application?

Choose Coated paper if:

You have colorful graphics that you want to grab people’s attention with.

You want the best quality and not an average look from an Uncoated paper.

You want your paper to look more reflective within design choices.

You want to use graphics or photographs showing fine details.

Choose Uncoated paper if:

You want your graphics to look beautiful, but look subtle, and in a way that isn’t flashy or


The color inks used are mostly black or black + 1 PMS ( Pantone Matching System ).

You want your paper to feel soft and comfortable to the touch.

You are on a budget and high-quality printing is not one of your priorities.


There are two types of paper that businesses need for their collateral: Coated paper and Uncoated paper. They are different in many ways. While Uncoated paper is traditional and simple. Coated paper is slick and usually shiny. We do not consider one to be better overall than the other.

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