Design Considerations for Uncoated Stocks

We love the natural feel of Uncoated cards – our uncoated stocks all have something special and unique about them that make them a popular choice, however these kinds of paper are not suitable for all kinds of designs. Designing for Uncoated stock generally has some more challenges and considerations than Coated stock:

Ink Absorption

Uncoated cards have a porous surface, which absorbs ink and can make colours appear duller and not as crisp.

If you think about it in simple terms, coated stocks are like a pane of smooth glass and uncoated stocks are like a sponge. Ink will sit nicely on top of a coated (glass) stock surface – giving a bright and colourful, clean crisp output. Whereas the uncoated paper will absorb some ink (like a sponge) causing colours to appear duller and less vibrant; even not as sharp.

Print settings are optimised and calibrated for each type of stock to give the best output – however this effect is a property of the paper. Many designers will add more saturation to colours when designing for an Uncoated stock due to this effect. Others will create their designs with this "inconsistent" look as a desired effect, as it does tend to make the print feel more rustic, or handmade.

Colour Shift

For the same reasons as above, it should be taken into consideration that colours will appear different when printed on different stocks – especially between uncoated and coated stocks.

Even though exactly the same ink, colour breakdown and printing method is used; there can be a large difference in the appearance of the colour on different coatings. If you are printing the same colour/s over many products (such as a range of branding collateral) – we recommend ordering the same card stock for each product.

Solid Colour

Due to the slight texture in the paper and the way the ink is absorbed by uncoated paper – large areas of solid colour can appear inconsistent. Grains in the paper also effect how the ink is absorbed which can causes inconsistencies. If your design has large areas of solid colours (especially dark colours) – we would suggest ordering a coated option to keep this looking consistent. 

Digital Output

Note that when uncoated stocks are digitally printed, the printed areas will appear to have a sheen on top. This is not a gloss but rather the result of how toner prints onto the stock. If you prefer to have a fully matte finish, we suggest upgrading to an uncoated stock with Offset output.

Fraying / Chipping

If you are planning to print a full bleed design on both sides of the card (full bleed = any printed artwork that extends all the way to the trim edge) you may see chipping on one side. Chipping, also known as "fraying", appears as small chips in the ink along the trim edge. This occurs most often with uncoated stock and digital output printing. To avoid this you can modify your design so one side does not have full bleed or you can choose to print your design on a coated stock with Silk Matte Laminate coating instead. Offset output print on uncoated stock is less likely to show obvious chipping even with full bleed on both sides, however there is always a chance of some fraying on uncoated stocks. 

Recycled Content

Please note that due to the production process of the post-consumer recycled stock – there may be tiny black specks and dark fibres throughout the card. These specks are only noticeable when viewed closely, and they do not affect the overall look of the card or print output.

Have more questions? Submit a request