Veronica Halim

Choosing Papers for Printing

I’m sure fellow stationery enthusiasts will agree – the world of paper is a very exciting one! If textured fancy paper is neat and elegant, handmade paper shines with its own unique distinctions. When it comes to deciding what kind of paper to print your project on, budget matters, on top of design direction, wedding theme and personal preferences. Handmade paper will cost more and you’ll find its printing options are rather limited. If the design brief calls for something colorful with full colour illustrations, I would go with fancy or cotton paper suitable for offset and digital print. On the other hand, if the client doesn’t mind three colours or less, handmade paper also becomes a good choice.

Handmade papers
From having different sizes to varying pigmentation and thicknesses, each piece of handmade paper has a beauty of its own. It’s often hard to pick a favourite from a bundle – I simply love all their unique imperfections! I especially love irregular deckle edges and rough textured surfaces of handmade papers. If you also have a soft spot for these variations, you will love working with handmade papers.

When printing with handmade paper, I recommend sticking with one or two colours. This is because the paper’s irregular edges makes it difficult to align and register multiple colours during the printing process. Also, be aware that thicker and rougher deckle-edged handmade papers may get stuck inside home printers and leave ink marks on the edges of the papers. Handmade papers go very well with letterpress or hot stamp printing.

Fancy Paper
Unlike handmade papers, fancy papers tend to be bulk-made and have crisp, uniform edges. This is definitely the paper type you want to use in offset and digital printing. Papers with high cotton content also tend to be soft and perfect for deep letterpress impressions. One of my favourites is Amalfi paper with its super fine and luxurious cotton-y texture that feels so luxurious to touch. Another is Medioevalis Deckle Edge paper, which is an inkjet printer-friendly paper that pairs very well with any calligraphy ink. It’s also perfect for projects with watercolour illustrations.

Tips: Get some samples of paper and learn all you can about the characteristics and limitations of each paper. If you can’t get samples, try setting up a meeting with your designer or printer to have a feel of the different papers available.

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