Coated vs. Uncoated Paper
THROUGHOUT HIS years as director of materials management for the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dean Gray has always used a mix of coated and uncoated paper.
Recently, at the request of a designer, he switched the annual report—traditionally printed on coated paper—to uncoated paper. The results were pleasing.
In fact, by printing on uncoated stock, the in-plant met the PCOM marketing department's goal of softening up the annual report's previously stiff and formal look.
"It gives an air of less formality and stiffness," Gray notes.
For years, using uncoated paper meant taking risks on quality. That is no longer the case due to innovations in paper-making, printing and ink technologies. As more designers see the success of printing on uncoated paper, Gray feels, they will specify more jobs on it.
Switching to uncoated paper at PCOM required a few modifications. Chalking was one of Gray's challenges, and he had concerns about scuffing as the uncoated sheets went through the bindery process. He has found that, in dealing with uncoated paper, he must have more inks formulated to avoid chalking and enhance drying. And he has to adjust the screen—sometimes to 250—to compensate for dot spread.
The in-plant, Gray says, had no press challenges. It printed the job on a five-color Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 74.
Historically, uncoated paper was the only choice until the 1860s, when layers of clay, binders and additives were used to improve printability and appearance, according to the Weyerhaeuser Co.
Those who formerly believed high-end printing could only be achieved with coated papers are amazed to discover the advantages and value that uncoated paper offers, notes company spokesperson Mary Jean Cashman.
"With a new organic trend to colors and the influence of recent economic conditions, uncoated papers are making strides in popularity," she says. "When you need a high gloss, that's certainly a time to use a coated sheet. But there's so much more opportunity with uncoated papers—not mentioning the initial dollars saved."