Paper Matters Blog
How to Choose the Best Paper for Your Brand

We’ve all heard the buzzwords: omni-channel campaign, content marketing, storytelling…I could go on and on. We’ve all read the blogs and know they are essential considerations for developing and maintaining any brand, but one point often left out is the importance of print and paper. As a creative, you owe your brand the opportunity to get noticed, build engagement and generate loyalty, yet many designers aren’t aware of what to look for in a paper to ensure that these things happen when consumers interact with branded print products. So, the question is this: how do you choose the best paper for your brand?

Here are four pointers to get you started:

  1. Consider the messaging of your brand.Your medium should enhance your message. Both uncoated and coated papers can lead to professional results, but the final choice depends on the tone you’re trying to convey and your brand’s standards. Uncoated paper provides a tone and appearance that comes across as trusted and sincere—and will enhance your brand’s

Additionally, think of the type of imagery your brand will feature. Do you need vivid pops of color? A 98 bright white sheet, like Cougar® Smooth or Super Smooth, provides the perfect canvas bright color that commands attention. Looking to provide a feeling of nostalgia or add a trendy Instagram style to your images? Cougar® Natural will deliver a memorable printed piece.

  1. Think long term. You may only need business cards when a brand is initially created, but what sort of printed pieces will you need over the life of the brand? Letterhead, direct mail pieces, envelopes, folders, booklets, posters, catalogs…the list of possibilities goes on and on. Also, consider what printing equipment you will use over the lifetime of your brand. While folders or booklets might be printed offset, a direct mail piece targeting a specific market might result in quantities where digital printing is the best option. Going further, inkjet printing is a great option for high quantity pieces such as catalogs or a high quantity direct mail run; these options pair best with variable imaging.

For best results, all of a brand’s “main” paper needs should use the same brand of paper. When selecting a paper brand, make sure they carry a variety of weights and finishes, as well as line extensions for a variety of equipment. Cougar’s breadth of line is extensive—available in three finishes, two shades, a variety of weights with accompanying envelopes and options for both digital and inkjet printing.

  1. Go with Quality.Great print quality starts with selecting a high-quality paper that performs well. A common question I get from junior designers is “Does it really matter what paper I chose if it’s plain white paper?” I answer this with another question: “Are you printing images on it?” If their answer is yes, then my response is, “then yes, definitely!”

In all seriousness, whether you’re printing offset, digital or inkjet, paper choice has a serious impact on the final results of your printed piece.

Trying to avoid ink mottle on large solid area? Cougar’s excellent formation is a great start.

Don’t have time for a disappointing outcome on your quick-turn digital job? Cougar Digital Color Copy is three-star HP Indigo certified.

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Nicholas Pearson
Marketing Specialist
Meredith Collins
Customer Marketing Manager
Danielle Sinclair
Vanecia Carr
Sr. Director Marketing Product & Management
John Parke
Customer Marketing Manager
Paige Goff
Vice President of Sustainability
Deborah Corn
Domtar Paper
Roland Basdeo
Graphic Designer
Susan Jones