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What Type of Paper Is Used for Brochures?

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

In the intricate world of brochure printing, choosing paper is a vital decision that shapes the effectiveness of your marketing materials. The choice of paper directly affects the readability and overall quality of the brochure. So, what type of paper is used for brochures? What is the best type of paper to use for brochures?


We aim to explain the complex choices in brochure printing, guiding you through the factors that influence paper selection and how they affect the final product.


What Type of Paper Is Used for Brochures?


We have to note that several factors determine what paper is used for brochures. But what is the best type of paper to use for brochures?


Generally, 100 lb Silk Text works well with most brochures. This weight offers a light feel, proper readability, and optimal picture quality. However, paper printing is much more complex than choosing what seems to work for most.


What Type of Paper Is Used for Brochures
Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: giocalde

Factors Influencing Your Decision


You need to consider certain paper characteristics to optimize the end product. While many make a common mistake and tend to the brochure design first, we are here to tell you that paper should always come first.


The choice of paper directly influences the brochure's clarity, readability, and overall quality. This means the choice of paper is integral to the success of your marketing efforts.


As there is no straightforward answer to "What kind of paper is used for brochures?" it is best to look into the different materials used for printing. That will help shape your final decision.


Paper weight


The first thing you should know about paper weight is that it measures the thickness and stiffness of paper materials. In the US, the weight is represented in pounds, while in most other parts of the world, the units are in grams per meter.


Generally, we wouldn’t recommend using a paper weight below 70 lbs for brochures. However, which particular paper weight works for your project will depend on your needs.


70 lbs paper


This paper weight is the most inexpensive alternative in brochure printing. It works well for printing text but is not the best choice for color graphics and photographs. You can expect 70 lbs of paper used in menus and church bulletins. As you will find by holding one in hand, this type of paper folds easily.


80 lbs text paper


80 lbs paper is slightly heavier than the previous but has a more diverse use. It folds easily, similarly to the 70 lbs type, but stands better and has greater durability. It is often used in DIY invitations and wedding invitations.


80 lbs cover paper


80 lbs of cover paper is best known for being strong and enduring. This is a good choice for businesses who'd like their brochure to keep its composure even after being passed down through multiple hands.


However, unlike the 80 lbs text paper, cover paper is more resistant to folding. We noticed that customers prefer this paper type for business cards, greeting cards, and invitations.


100 lbs text paper


Compared to 80 lbs of text paper, this weight feels more substantial. Besides being used in brochure and flier printing, it is also used in thin posters and magazine printing. While it might be more costly than lighter-weight paper variants, the clean print and high quality make it the ultimate choice.


Paper finish


You should keep in mind that coating and finishes mean the same in the printing world. This is why you may find them used interchangeably within this article. Simply put, coating determines the effect the brochure will have once exposed to light. There are four finishing possibilities, and each has its result.


Uncoated


This option leaves the paper as is without any additions. It doesn't feature any glare when exposed to light, and being the most porous, it doesn't smudge. You can expect this paper to be rougher compared to coated designs.


Unlike in coated brochures, where additional layers make the surface smoother and reflective, there is no such element here. We usually recommend uncoated brochures as a more affordable alternative. These are cheaper than their coated counterparts as the finish is not added, and the paper remains by itself.


Matte finish


Many in the printing industry consider the matte finish a middle ground between coated and uncoated brochures. The reason for this is simple: while the matte-coated brochure does shine, the light reflected is limited by the matte coating.


In our experience, the biggest reason clients choose the matte finish is because it makes the brochure more appealing and easy to the eye.


Gloss finish


As its name implies, it gives the brochure a shiny finish. The gloss coating is usually reserved for those who rely on imagery in their brochure. This coating helps achieve a vibrant look, giving images extra "pop".


But is glossy or matte paper better for brochures? If you cannot decide and struggle to determine which is better, consider the benefits and downsides. For instance, the gloss finish is more likely to gather dust and show fingerprint marks. If you want your brochures to be passed around, we advise you to choose matte.


Silk finish


This coating brings sheen to the surface, which is subtler compared to the glare of gloss coating. It keeps images in the brochure sharp but reduces the glare. The text becomes easier to read, and the image quality is only slightly compromised.


Paper size


There is no uniform solution for paper size that fits all business needs. However, three popular brochure sizes work best. These are our best choices based on how a brochure fits into a stand, brochure rank, or handbag.


Silk finish
Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko

8.5" x 11" - Letter


The brochures got their name due to being the size of a standard letter. What makes them a popular choice is that they fit snugly into brochure racks and stands. We recommend this size to clients who are looking for a tri-fold style brochure.


8.5" x 14" - Legal


While slightly larger, these brochures also fit well into most brochure racks and may fit into an envelope. This size and its uses are very similar to the letter brochure. The only difference between these sizes is the extra 3", which allows more information to fit into the format.


11″ x 17″ - Tabloid


The tabloid brochure, being the largest, is not suited for brochure ranks. Instead, these brochures are mostly preferred for corporate events and trade fairs. Due to the immense space, these brochures are often used for menus.


Conclusion


What type of paper is used for brochures? It varies based on several factors, but your needs remain central in the decision-making process. However, a comprehensive understanding of paper weight, finish, and brochure size is essential to find the right paper for your brochure. As we explored, paper type directly influences the brochure's clarity, readability, and image vibrancy.


The finish dictates the appeal of the brochure and its effectiveness. Additionally, the brochure's paper size must align with its distribution method and match the purpose. Remember, in brochure printing, every detail counts towards creating an impactful and memorable piece.


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