Paper Coatings FAQ
Choosing the right paper stock or coating for your project is important to achieve the desired result.
All paper stocks start out being uncoated. Uncoated paper is porous with an uneven, rougher surface. As a result, uncoated paper is easier to write on as it absorb ink readily and dries to the touch faster. However, the heavier amount of ink uncoated paper absorbs may result in less rub resistance. Uncoated stocks include bonds, offsets, card, and newsprint.
As an example, most copy paper that everyone is accustomed to is uncoated.
After manufacturing, the paper surface may be coated with white clay materials. The clay gives the paper a smooth feel by filling valleys in the paper surface. Because the ink/toner stays on the surface of the coating instead of 'soaking in,' the ink looks deeper, sharper and glossier. However, writing on coated paper is more difficult, and is subject to smearing.
Coatings are offered in a range of reflective groups including dull, matte, silk, or glossy. Dull, matte, and silk are all subtle variants of each other, and are usually interchangable.
Photo paper is an extreme example of glossy paper. Silk is often described as a middle point between uncoated and glossy.
What is UV coating?
UV coating is a more durable coating that provides added gloss and protection. A special polymer is applied to the printed piece and then cured by ultraviolet (UV) light. The UV light reacts with the polymer to form the final coating. Note that if you were to write on a UV coated piece with a pen or marker marker, you would likely be able to remove it with the swipe of your finger. Its used to give durability to the image on certain pieces (ex. mailing/postcards, where it passes through sorting equipment.)
Since the UV coating is a solvent mixture, it's best utilized on paper that's already coated. Otherwise, the paper will absorb it, giving an undesirable result.