Types of Paper Used for Magazines

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A sheetfed printer requires a specific type of paper.
A sheetfed printer requires a specific type of paper. (Image: Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Printing paper used for magazines is defined by its finish, weight and grade. Different paper mills in the United States, Canada and overseas produce many types of paper. Knowing the elements of paper, also referred to as "stock," helps you make the best paper choices for your magazine.

Coated Paper

Coated paper has an enamel coating, which gives it a shiny surface. The ink does not soak in to this paper, and colors and photographs appear brighter and sharper. A coated paper called C2S is shiny on both sides. A UV coating is an added chemical coating done after ink is put on paper that creates a high gloss finish and makes the magazine more durable. Varnished coating is not as heavy or shiny and is a cheaper alternative to UV. Any type of coated paper is more expensive than uncoated paper, and, unfortunately, coated paper cannot be recycled.

Uncoated Paper

Uncoated paper appears flat and is not shiny, and it does not keep ink from soaking in. Uncoated papers, which often contain concentrations of hemp or cotton, do not work as well for magazines with high-resolution photos or screens because the ink is readily absorbed into the paper. Uncoated paper is still used for magazine, especially those with an ecological focus, because the paper can be recycled.

Sheetfed and Rolled Paper

Individual sheets of paper are manually inserted into a commercial sheetfed offset printer. Rolled paper comes in a large round continuous roll of paper and is typically used in a larger, often digital, commercial press. Both sheetfed and rolled paper can be purchased as either coated or noncoated stock.

Recyled Paper

Ecofriendly publishing has several elements contributing to green printing, including the use of soy-based inks. Printing on paper with a high ratio of recycled content or even 100 percent recycled material is becoming a popular option. Recycled paper is not as affordable as most other printing papers because of the process used to create it.

Weight and Grade

Paper weight refers to the weight of a ream of standard cut paper . Typically, magazines use 50-, 60- or 70-lb. paper for the interior pages with an 80- or 100-lb. "cover stock" for the front cover. A paper's grade refers to how it reflects light. Magazines print on 3, 4 or 5 grade paper, which is often referred to as " bright," "extra bright" and "ultra," respectively.

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