So you think all office papers are equal?

economy 80gsm paper might be fine for general office work and copying, but would you want to use it for letter writing?

People judge the quality of a business by the materials they are handling, and if your paper looks economy, then they will associate that cheapness with your business, and the content therein, false economy possibly?

These are some of the terms used for paper.

Copier Paper is the most common of all papers, it is generally A4 size and by far the most common weight is 80gsm. There are various grades and brightness of copy paper, but it is pretty much a cheap and cheerful paper that is used literally ‘by the bundle.

Laser paper refers to any type of paper designed to accept the toner used in laser printing. This can include labels and pre printed cheques.

Inkjet paper can be broken down into many sub groups, including glossy paper, photo paper, labels, greetings cards and business cards and all ready to be run through your inkjet printer. Many inkjet papers are coated with a finish, either matt (for general use), or glossy (for more specialist use) Matt paper has a bright white finish and will dry quickly and is for general use. Gloss finish is a shiny coating that absorbs the ink and is commonly used in photographic papers and brochure papers.

Photo paper Is a increasingly popular type of paper these days, due mainly to increased digital camera use, and the inclusion of digital cameras in mobile phones. Photo paper will produce sharp clear images and deep quality tones; it has a glossy (or matt) finish and dries to normal photo shop standards. This is of course dependent on the quality of inks and printer used.

Computer paper is paper designed to be used with certain types of printers, also known as listing paper, and is normally continuous feed paper either plain white, or with green stripes to aid data reading. It can be single or multi part.

What you use the paper for will affect the decision on what to buy, the four main elements are Weight, Opacity, brightness and smoothness.

Weight most paper sold is 80gsm paper the weight is determined by a set procedure, but a layman’s guide would be that the heavier the weight, the better the quality. Heavier paper also has a better ‘feel’ and people will take this on board when evaluating the content they are reading from it. Normal 80gsm paper is used for general office work, while heavier 90gsm and above paper are better used in a situation where a third part could come into contact or for presentations for example.

Opacity put simply is how well it stops light from travelling through it. Nothing worse than a flimsy looking piece of paper.

Brightness is a very important element in paper quality; a low brightness paper will not make the toner/ink stand out as well, whereas a bright paper will have the complete opposite effect. A bright, heavy paper will make the text clear and classy.

Smoothness is the big factor. There are so many different types and finishes of paper this could run and run as a paragraph. Laser paper and inkjet paper by and large tend to be smooth papers with lasers especially needing smooth paper to allow the toner to be applied evenly for best results. Inkjets cope better with textured paper which also allows the ink to dry quicker.

Many cost conscious business use a few types of paper, one for everyday use (normally 80gsm copier paper), and another for presentations (normally 90 or 100 gsm) and often a third paper which will be a more expensive laid paper textured finish in cream ivory of velum, which they use for correspondence. This saves the cost of pre-printed letter heads etc, and with a good quality laser printer, your clients will not know the difference.

Whatever the size of your business, ensure you pick the paper that is best for the job, as well as your pocket of course.