Possession Studios
Commercial Printing Guide

Possession Studios' has be publish printed marketing materials since 1991. With the world moving for away from printing for the cheaper internet adverting, we thought it might be a good ideal to write down some on the general information that could help our customers and future graphic designs now how to communicate with commercial printers.
Comparing Paper Stock
When selecting a paper stock keep in mind the equivalents to each paper choice available. Make sure your comparing apples to apples, not oranges! This will be able to tell you how thick the paper will be and assist you in making the right choose for your project.

For example, let's say that the short run catalog offer:
  • 100 lb. Gloss Book
  • 100 lb. Matte Book
  • 80 lb. Gloss Cover
  • 80 lb. Matte Cover
  • 80 lb. 100% Recycled Uncoated Text
  • 80 lb. 100% Recycled Uncoated Cover
The 100 lb. book stock can equate to 54 lb cover, while the 80 lb. cover can equate to 146 lb. book. This means that the 80 lb. cover can be about 45% thicker than the 100 lb. book. The recycled 80 lb text (aka book) can be equivalent to roughly a 44 lb. cover. So the two recycled stocks, while the same weight, can be different thicknesses.

As a reference point our business cards are 14 pt. cover, making them roughly equivalent to a 114 lb. cover; we use the point column in this case instead of the cover column. A 114 lb. cover can be about 30% thicker than the thickest cover available for brochures; so regardless of it actually being a card stock the 80 lb. selection can still suitable for brochure printing and can apply a thicker, more durable application.

Paper Types
  • Coated: Stock that has a surface sealant and relates to sheen: gloss, matte, dull and satin finishes. Works well particularly with photos
  • Gloss: Stock that has a high sheen; most magazines use gloss paper.
  • Dull: Stock that has a smooth surface paper that is low in gloss. Dull coated paper falls between matte and glossy paper.
  • Matte: A non-glossy, flat looking paper stock.
  • Uncoated: Stock that has not been coated with clay or other surface sealants. Cannot be combined with UV or Aqueous coating.

Standard Printer Terms
  • Acid Free Paper: Paper manufactured to a neutral pH reading (7). Used for fine art prints, limited edition printing, scrapbooking
  • Antique Finish: Random surface quality created by "felts" in the manufacturing process
  • Brightness: Light reflecting property of paper when measured under a specially calibrated blue light.
  • Basis Weight: The weight of one ream of paper (500 sheets) when cut to the industry standard for that specific grade of paper.
  • Bristols: Solid or laminated heavy-weight printing paper made to a thickness of .006" or higher. Bristols are often used for printed items that require repeated handling.
  • Bond: Uncoated "plain" paper - free from impurities. Also referred to as "free sheet."
  • Bulk: The thickness of paper when compared to its weight. A high bulk paper is thicker but less compact than a low-bulk paper of the same weight and size.
  • Calendering: Part of the paper manufacturing process where the paper "web" passes between polished metal rolls. This increases the paper's smoothness and provides a uniform thickness (caliper).
  • Carbonless: Paper coated with special encapsulated chemicals that produce a duplicate copy without the use of carbon paper
  • Groundwood: A low cost paper that contains unprocessed wood fibers.
  • Points: Most paper weight (Bond, Text, and Cover) is in pounds (lbs), but some paper stock may be listed in points (pt). When dealing with paper, every Paper Points=.001" (Example: 10 pt card = .010"), not 1/72! Graphic designs will often think it's 1 = 72 based on the old "Points & Pica" system. A pica is a hair less than 1/6 inch, and contains 12 points. Picas are typically used to represent fixed horizontal measurements, most often column width. They are commonly used when designing newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and ads. Picas are designated with the letter p, such as 16p.
  • Post Consumer Waste: Processed Paper that has been re-used in manufacturing new paper products
  • Recycled: Paper manufactured from the waste paper stream. All Micro Format recycled products contain a minimum of 100% recycled material including 40% post consumer waste
  • Thermal: A paper coated with special chemicals that produce an image when heat is applied
  • Waste Paper Stream: Waste paper created during the paper manufacturing process

Standard Printer Symbols
  • #: "pound" - used to describe paper weight
  • b: Paper Color - Blue
  • c: Paper Color - Canary
  • C1S: Coated one side.
  • C2S: Coated both sides.
  • cb: Coated Back - Carbonless Paper (part 1)
  • cfb: Coated Front and Back - Carbonless Paper (internal part in a multipul part form)
  • cf: Coated Front - Carbonless Paper (last part in set)
  • g: Paper Color - Green
  • M: Meter - 1 meter = 39.37 inches
    • M (In a quote context): In a press quote "M" is often uses as a roman numeral (thousand). Example: 90M = a print quantity of 90 thousand units.
  • mm: Millimeter - 25.4 millimeters = 1 inch
  • p: Paper Color - Pink
  • sc: Self Contained Paper (paper that can be imaged in a printer without the use of a ribbon)
  • sccb: Self Contained sheet with carbonless coating on back normally used as part one in a multi part set in an impact printer using no ribbon
  • sccb/cf: Carbonless set - Self Contained Coated Back Sheet Part 1
    Coated Front Sheet Part 2
  • w: Paper Color - White
Paper Weights
  • Bond: A light-weight stock, also known as Ledger or Writing. It is commonly as 24 or 28 lbs. Bond Weight.
  • Text: Also known as Offset, Text Paper is thicker than Ledger Paper, but not as thick as a Cover Paper. Stationery usually has a 70 or 80 lbs. Text Weight.
  • Cover: A Card Stock or Pasteboard paper. Known commonly to be used for business cards and greeting cards, but can also be applied to brochures and flyers. It is commonly used as 80 lbs. Cover Weight, although some brands of paper offer cover weight paper that is 100 lbs. or heavier.
The basis weight of a paper is the designated fixed weight of 500 sheets, measured in pounds, in that paper's basic sheet size. It is important to note that the "basic sheet size" is not the same for all types of paper.
Type Paper
Basic Size (500 Sheets)
"Bond"
17" x 22"
"Offset"
25" x 38"
"Cover"
20" x 26"
"Tag Stock"
24" x 36"
"Index"
25.5" x 30.5"

The values in the chart shown below are intended to serve as a reference guide. Similar weight papers may vary between different manufacturers. Normal paper manufacturing tolerance within a paper production run is +/- 5% caliper.
Bond
(Ledger)
Text
(Book)
Cover
(Cardstock)
Index
Point
(Pt.)
Caliper
(Inches)
Caliper
(Millimeters)
16
40
22
33
3.2
0.03
0.81
18
45
24
37
3.6
0.04
0.91
20
50
28
42
3.8
0.04
0.97
24
60
33
50
4.8
0.05
1.22
28
70
39
58
5.8
0.06
1.47
29
73
40
60
6
0.06
1.52
31
81
45
66
6.1
0.06
1.55
35
90
48
74
6.2
0.06
1.57
36
90
50
75
6.8
0.07
1.73
39
100
54
81
7.2
0.07
1.83
40
100
56
83
7.3
0.07
1.85
43
110
60
90
7.4
0.07
1.88
44
110
61
92
7.6
0.08
1.93
47
120
65
97
8
0.08
2.03
53
135
74
110
9
0.09
2.29
54
137
75
113
9
0.09
2.29
58
146
80
120
9.5
0.10
2.41
65
165
90
135
10
0.10
2.54
67
170
93
140
10.5
0.10
2.67
72
183
100
150
11
0.11
2.79
76
192
105
158
13
0.13
3.30
82
208
114
170
14
0.14
3.56
87
220
120
180
15
0.15
3.81
105
267
146
220
18
0.18
4.57

International Metric Paper Sizes - ISO Standard
With manufacturing being doing offshore, most of the newer commercial offset printers use ISO Standard print sizes. Were people may call a Full Size Catalog 8.5 x 11", it more then likely will be printed on an A4 press, slightly smaller. The difference between an 8.5 x 11" catalog compared to a 8.2 x 11" may be thousands of dollars on a print project. Be sure to ask your printer representative to get you a list of their standard sizes for their equipment (and always have them provide a production templet).
Size
Width
(Millimeters)
Height
(Millimeters)
Width
(Inches
Height
(Inches)
A0
841 mm
1,189 mm
33.11 in.
46.81 in.
A1
594 mm
841 mm
23.39 in.
33.11 in.
A2
420 mm
594 mm
16.54 in.
23.39 in.
A3
297 mm
420 mm
11.69 in.
16.54 in.
A4
210 mm
297 mm
8.27 in.
11.69 in.
A5
148 mm
210 mm
5.83 in.
8.27 in.
A6
105 mm
148 mm
4.13 in.
5.83 in.
A7
74 mm
105 mm
2.91 in.
4.13 in.

B0
1,028 mm
1,456 mm
40.48 in.
57.32 in.
B1
728 mm
1,028 mm
28.66 in.
40.48 in.
B2
514 mm
728 mm
20.24 in.
28.66
B3
364 mm
514 mm
14.33 in.
20.24 in.
B4
257 mm
364 mm
10.12 in.
14.33 in.
B5
182 mm
257 mm
7.17 in.
10.12 in.
B6
128 mm
182 mm
5.04 in.
7.17 in.



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