The Power of Paper Management – Paper Products 101

We supply paper to publishers. Simple really… but is it? Choosing exactly the right paper for your publication, whether that is a magazine, travel brochure, catalogue or direct mail product, can actually be a complete minefield…

What paper has the right bulk? Do you need gloss, matt or silk? What paper will provide the brightest print? Is my paper sourced from responsibly managed sources? How much will it cost? Will the weight of the paper affect the postage cost? You get the gist.

So now we have completely confused you, as part of our Power of Paper Management series, we want to talk you through just what some of these things are to help you make the right decision about what paper to use for your next publication.

Choosing the paper
Make the right decision for your next publication
Surface Types

Papers come in a variety of surface types. The most common coated surfaces are gloss, matt and silk. Uncoated grades come in smooth and rough finishes. Each of these surfaces will provide different print quality and overall appearance. Each has its strengths and appropriateness for a particular job.

Gloss refers to the reflectivity of a paper surface. Paper gloss is measured with a gloss meter, usually at a 75° angle and expressed in gloss units. The higher the value, the higher the gloss. All papers have a measured gloss level although it is normally only gloss papers where the measurement is considered so critical.

Matt paper is a coated paper with a flat or low reflective surface.

Silk paper has a soft sheen or low gloss (around 25% gloss) created by reduced super-calendaring. Silk papers can also be referred to as Satin papers.

Choosing between the many possible options will be driven by the type of publication you are producing and at times reader preference. We can assist customers in making the right choice by providing industry examples and also dummy samples of your publication on a selection of papers.

Types of paper
The most common coated surfaces are gloss, matt and silk
Paper Weight, Caliper and Bulk

Grammage refers to the weight of paper and board expressed as either gsm or g/m2. Our papers range greatly from 35gsm thin papers all the way up to 450gsm heavy weight boards.

The choice of paper grammages depends on your requirements, and we would be able to recommend which paper weight is standard for your type of publication. Usually a different (heavier) grammage will be selected for the cover of a publication compared to the text pages.

Because paper comes in such a diverse range of grammages, categories and types, please take a look at the following paper products page on our website to see specific details of some of the papers we offer from a variety of mills around the world.

Caliper is the thickness of the sheet measured in microns.

Bulk is a figure referring to the volume of the sheet. This is an important characteristic in book publishing where paper is sold by its volumetric number. ie Vol 17.5.

Hi-bulk papers have seen significant growth in recent years, allowing a publisher to drop to a lower grammage and make savings on yield and postage. Just 5gsm on an 80gsm paper is over a 6% saving on your largest single production cost.

Some grades will allow you to drop in grammage without any change to caliper, opacity, brightness and with very little discernible difference to reader or advertiser.

Keeping your costs under control
Keeping your costs under control
Brightness and Whiteness

Brightness is a measurement of reflected light. All papers have a certain level of brightness and this will be a key consideration when selecting your paper. With lower brightness, overall contrast is reduced, and highlights are dulled. Brighter papers cost more to produce and can be enhanced further with the addition of fluorescent dyes.

Whiteness is a term borrowed form the textile industry. It uses reflectance in the red and green spectrum, not just the far blue end as in brightness. In general it measures a similar property to brightness, but tends to give a better correlation to human perception of how "white" paper is, than does brightness – that is because the human eye is far more sensitive in the red-green part of the spectrum than in the blue region.

So a whiteness ranking of papers will produce a different order from a brightness ranking of the same sheets.

Environmental Considerations

Recycled Papers can offer cost benefits with little perceived loss in quality, whilst being in line with your company's environmental expectations.

Gould offers a wide range environmentally certified and recycled paper products and will advise you about which paper product will best satisfy your requirements.

We take our commitment to sustainability seriously and encourage our clients to do likewise. It’s not just a case of using FSC® or PEFC certified papers – that’s the easy part. Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) includes many other factors, such as consideration of sheet or reel size selection and ensuring print runs of magazine sections are constant, to prevent unnecessary excess paper waste.

The Paper Process
The Paper Process
Keeping costs under control

Print efficiency remains the key part to keeping your costs under control. At Gould we ensure the minimum of waste paper each time you print a title. We work closely with you and your elected printer to agree upon the most cost effective start up and running waste levels. We also look at paper prices (due to our global buying power from multiple mill sites), publication size analysis, postage savings and clever paper alternatives.

For more information about the paper products we offer and how to select the correct paper for your publication please contact us on