Unless you're an artist or work in the printing profession, you probably haven't given too much thought to different types and properties of paper. Terms like "bond paper" and "bleedproof paper" aren't very well known, but they are useful for anyone interested in selecting the best paper type for their needs.
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In short, bond paper is a common and readily available type of lightweight paper for general home and office use. Bleedproof paper doesn't refer to a particular type of paper but the characteristic of low absorbency, which is sought by artists who work with ink. Whether you're shopping for bond paper or bleedproof paper, you need to consider other properties as well, such as weight, thickness, texture and finish.
What Is Bond Paper?
Even if you don't recognize the term "bond paper," you're likely to be familiar with this common type of lightweight, regular, uncoated paper used for general home and office purposes. It gets its name from the paper's original purpose of printing government bonds and other official documents.
Bond paper is typically used in printers and copiers for office stationery, brochures and any documents that warrant decent-quality paper. Bond paper comes in a variety of weights ranging from around 16 to 32 pounds and is most commonly white but is also available in a range of colors. The lightest weights of bond paper are still stronger and more durable than the cheapest kinds of copy paper, while the heaviest weights are still thinner than cover stock.
Bond paper is not regulated as a marketing term, so you might see it used to describe a variety of products. Higher-quality versions, sometimes called "writing grade," might include cotton fibers along with wood pulp, resulting in a softer feel and better absorption of ink. These types of bond papers often feature a watermark, so consider whether that's a desirable feature before making a purchase.
What Is Bleedproof Paper?
The term "bleedproof" does not refer to a particular type of paper but a property of paper. "Bleedproof" means the paper has been treated with an invisible coating that lifts ink away from the page, resists absorption and prevents ink from bleeding, or showing through to the other side of the paper. Various types of paper can be bleedproof, and the description is often seen on specific art papers, such as marker paper, calligraphy paper and Bristol paper. Fitting with bleedproof paper's uses, it's available in a wide variety of paper sizes, usually as pads rather than reams. You can also find sketchbooks with bleedproof paper.
Bleedproof paper properties are desirable for artists who work with wet mediums, like pen and ink and water-based or spirit-based felt-tip pens. Using ink on other types of papers that do not have bleedproof paper properties, such as bond paper, construction paper and card stock, often results in smears, a feathering effect, and messes on the surface underneath the paper. Regular paper can also soak up ink too quickly, which makes it difficult to blend inks on the page and can be wasteful. Opting for bleedproof paper eliminates these issues.
Which Is the Best Paper to Use?
For general printing and copying, there is no need to look for bleedproof paper. Use bond paper instead, as it is designed for those purposes, is sold in reams ready for use and is usually cheaper than bleedproof paper. If you just need some cheap paper for writing notes or you're looking for cheap paper for pencil sketches, you could reach for a sheet of bond paper instead of using specialist bleedproof paper.
For artists using ink, bleedproof paper is always the best choice, even when practicing. Bleedproof paper's uses include calligraphy and hand-lettering as well. Using the wrong paper and getting poor results can be discouraging for beginners, who will benefit from bleedproof paper's properties as they learn their techniques. However, you might like to find some less expensive bleedproof paper to use for practice and an archival quality version for art intended for sale or display.