Paper: the hidden power in design

Honestly now: when was the last time you took the time to think about the paper that brochure will be printed on and the fonts used such as sans serif fonts? And we’re not just talking about the grammage of the paper. Haven’t you done that yet? Then be sure to read on. Paper has more influence on your image than you might originally think.

Paper for bibles, newspapers and brochures

Paper has the ability to give your design an extra impression. Even before your prospect or customer opens your brochure or folder, he gets a first impression by the feeling of it in his hands. Does the folder still feel thick and sturdy despite the limited number of pages? Is the brochure of that textile manufacturer printed exactly on fabric? Paper is the tactile element of design. It is the perfect way to give an extra feeling to the experience of your printed matter.

Exactly which paper you will use depends on the nature of your service and the size and circulation of your carrier. Here we take your favourite newspaper and the Bible as examples. A newspaper appears almost daily, is printed in huge numbers and in many cases costs less than two euros. Moreover, newspapers are delivered by post or readers take them on the train. Thick paper or a heavier grammage is therefore out of the question. Instead, a very light, uncoated and not or little bleached paper is chosen. Light, cheap and not bulky. Everything a newspaper needs.

For the Bible, on the other hand, something else has to be tapped. Unlike a newspaper, such a book is kept for longer than a day. But here again, heavy or bulky paper is not an option: the large amount of text & pages would otherwise make the book virtually unmanageable. That is why wafer-thin, light and white bleached paper with a very low grammage is chosen in many cases. This way, even a clapper of more than 600 pages remains perfectly manageable.

Match graphic design to your paper type

That’s that then. Instead of the standard semi-matte maco, we opt for a more special and tactile paper for the next brochure. Done deal? Not quite! Do not forget about the importance of font. You need to take care of the suitable fonts such as serif fonts.

The paper you choose also influences the graphic design of your publication to some extent. For example, there are uncoated, and therefore rougher, types of paper that are highly absorbent. The fibres in these types of paper are pressed against each other less hard, so that they absorb the printing ink and spread it between the fibres. Hair-fine lines or a minimalist ‘light’ font are therefore not good options. The ink will smear and create a messy result. There are many other things that can affect the final result.

So let yourself be assisted by a graphic designer who knows his stuff with a pencil, digital mouse and paper!

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