Pondering Printed Promotional Materials

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Free Start-Up Articles

There's a lot of decision making and contemplating that can go into business cards and other printed promotional materials like flyers and leaflets, but for first timers, even the basic options can be confusing.

Its been a wee while since I was technically called a start up business and it certainly feels like some time ago that I started out on the adventure that they call self employment, but due to the nature of my work, now in web design and development, I still regularly come into contact with new businesses who are just starting out.

One of the recurring apologies that I hear from new clients when they hear that I also provide print and business card design, is that their cards are from Vistaprint.

Now, Im not here to badmouth Vistaprint and I think that for numerous start up businesses, the cheaper a final product with their own logo, or business name on is the only way in which they can start out, and for that purpose Vistaprint are a lifesaver. But Im aware that the specification of Vistaprint cards can be very samey, a lot of new businesses who arent great at design themselves will choose a pre-designed card that then looks like other businesses cards too.

Theres a lot of decision making and contemplating that can go into business cards and other printed promotional materials like flyers and leaflets, but for first timers, even the basic options can be confusing. I remember starting out as a chocolatier and having no idea what the difference was between a flyer that is printed on silk or gloss paper, and why you would choose one over the other. In fact, I still get mixed up fairly regularly, so Ive consulted my friend Jenny Johnston of Wee Print, who has kindly explained:-

Paper Types Explained.

Paper types can become confusing so here are the four main types explained.

Uncoated Paper has no coating, as the name suggests, giving absorbent properties. The most common use of uncoated paper is use in machines, home printers and photocopiers.
Uncoated tends not to be as smooth as coated paper. This affects the look of a final print job, with uncoated paper dulling down colours and any images may suffer deteriorated sharpness.

Premium grade uncoated paper is much smoother and of a higher quality, this is commonly used for such purposes as letterheads and compliment slips.

Silk paper (sometimes called satin) has a low sheen coating meaning it is less absorbent, so inks dont dry into the paper as much as they do on uncoated papers. This gives better colour and sharper images. Silk paper has less of a sheen in strong sunlight, than gloss finished paper, meaning printed materials can be easier to read.

Silk paper is commonly used for Posters, Folded leaflets, postcards, business cards and greetings cards but can also be used for many other items depending on the final finish you would like.

Matt paper, unlike glossy, produces nice quality, non-glare prints but lacks a vibrant colour finish. A benefit of Matt however, is that you can also write on it, meaning its great for items such as vouchers and coupons, but can also be used on brochures, flyers, leaflets, and presentation folders.

Gloss paper is the most commonly used paper type, mostly for its high sheen coating which enhances colours and sharpness.
It is most commonly used for brochures, flyers, leaflets, posters, postcards and presentation folders to name a few.

Sam Oxby
Weeprint