Paper choice is often glossed-over in the printing arena, from brochures to maps. The terms ‘paper’ and ‘technology’ are not seen as synonymous. Nonetheless, there have been significant advancements in the uncoated paper arena in the past several decades, mirroring leaps in ink technology. Uncoated paper options have gotten slicker, color options have broadened, and surface textures and visual effects achieved by papermaking advanced considerably in response to consumer demand.
Paper: What You Don’t Know Can Make (or Break) Your Job
Instead of ordering ‘the usual’ uncoated paper on your next printing project, take a closer look into the latest substrate options, the qualities of which will greatly influence your design. Does your usual paper choice hold a candle to the latest uncoated paper technology?
As a general rule, smoothness is proportional to the crispness of the print. The process of ‘calendering,’ achieves this: The final papermaking step of running sheets through large steel rollers of varying surfaces to achieve the desired finish: Eggshell, velum, smooth, super or ultra-smooth.
Don’t confuse whiteness with brightness – what’s whitest will not always be the brightest. Brightness helps images appear sharper, allowing more light through ink to reflect back into the eye.
In general, uncoated papers produce less glare than similar coated options, and can be easier on the eye.
As paper is not paper, white is not white. Look to color/shade and how they will affect the appearance of your printed map. How will the yellow hues of warmer whites or blue hues of cooler tones alter the colors you have chosen?
Referring to transparency or show-through, this should be a key consideration in all front-to-back printed maps.
- Fiber Distribution
The formation of fibers within a sheet of paper affect its ability to evenly absorb ink and provide clear, consistent reproductions. Held to the light, superior paper should be uniform, without clumps or marbling.
- Side-to-Side Consistency
Each side of finished paper – the ‘wire side’ that contacts the papermaking machine, and ‘felt side’ that does not – should have a consistent finish on superior papers. Without consistency, images will print differently on one side versus the other.
Added after papermaking, embossing techniques to create linen or laid effects can add visual interest and a distinctive map feel. Each distinction, however, effects printing uniquely, from felt paper absorption to the improved ink holdout/decreased absorbency of linen finishes.
The Pre-Press Advantages of Paper Consultation
Considering a substrate switch? Before creating your digital file, contact the Map Printer team for a pre-design consultation. Color and clarity issues related to substrate choice are much more easily avoided than fixed. We look to your project as a team effort, and want to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey (sans those irritating little file adjustments).
Uncover the secrets to superior map printing results. Capitalize on the latest improvements and advancements in the map printing arena on your upcoming project with the expert assistance of MapPrinter. From the uninitiated to cartography experts, we’re here to help you realize your map printing goals. Contact us today.