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 stocks have a porous surface, which absorbs ink and can make colors appear more dull 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 colorful, clean crisp output. In contrast, uncoated stocks will absorb some ink (like a sponge) causing colors to appear more dull and less vibrant; even not as sharp.

Print settings are optimized 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 colors 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.

Color Shift

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

Even when the exact same ink, color breakdown and print method is used, there can be a large difference in the appearance of the color on different stocks. If you are printing the same color(s) over many products (such as a range of branding collateral), we recommend ordering the same stock for each product.

Solid Color

Due to the slight texture in the paper and the way the ink is absorbed by uncoated paper, large areas of solid color can appear inconsistent. Grains in the paper also affect how the ink is absorbed which can causes inconsistencies. If your design has large areas of solid colors (especially dark colors), we suggest ordering a coated stock to keep the color looking consistent.

Digital Output

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. Please also keep this in mind if you intend on writing on your cards with a pencil or pen. If your design has a high ink coverage, it may be tough to write on the printed area with a pencil or pen. It will be best to use a permanent marker or alter the design. 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 your card, 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 stocks and digital 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 coating instead. Offset 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 post-consumer recycled stocks, there may be tiny black specks and dark fibres throughout the card. These specks are a natural characteristic of the stock and only noticeable when viewed closely. They do not affect the overall look of the card or print output.



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