Paper samples

‘Start a collection of paper stocks by gathering different types of papers and printed material you come across. Try and find a wide range of papers – with silk, gloss or matt surfaces, bleached or unbleached, recycled papers, or papers spanning a range of different weights, from thin papers to thick cards. You may want to contact your nearest paper merchant to ask for a sample book.

Consider this an ongoing task to develop a resource that you can access whenever you want to explore different paper options.’

We touched on this subject earlier in the degree course – and on the recommendation of my previous tutor, I sent for G.F Smith samples which are GORGEOUS!

Here’s my blog post about it

I feel I’m getting the hang (a little bit) of the different finishes, thickness and categories within Coated and Uncoated stock. Watching really helped too – not sure what I’d do without them! Once you understand at least the basic idea, the variations begin to be a bit less baffling.

Not all the websites I visited had free samples available (as far as I could tell)… But they looked interesting. And in this case, really upmarket!

I did have a specific look at recycled and specialist papers too

Thankfully, many of them offered online forms I could use to request samples from. Here’s what’s arrived so far…

Saxoprint sent a lovely selection of paper samples and inspired a lot of confidence. I think its likely they offer a good quality service from what Ive seen. The range went up to 400gsm. The uncoated section included a small amount of recycled paper. Coated options included gloss and silk. There was a small section for specialist paper, and lastly options for finishing – e.g. gloss/matt/uv lamination.

Their entire product range is extensive – numerous options to print on all sorts of products and surfaces. 

Moo simply sent a selection of business cards, but a nice range. The thickest was a true heavyweight at 600gsm. I liked the option of curved corners and even square format. I gather the feel of any printed material is called ‘hand’. And I can say some of it was really nice to handle. They included spot varnish, foil and soft touch finish. (They declined to help me as Im not considered trade, so I wasn’t able to obtain any from here)

Trade Digital Print sent a good range of paper samples up to 400 gsm, including some textured and metallics in their ‘luxury’ range. They also offer printing on banners and stickers.

A range of weights up to 350gsm, uncoated, silk and gloss

Arrived in a metallic blue padded envelope! The cover is die cut with a turquoise logo peeking through. A really nice range up to 400 gsm. Examples of creasing, perforation, kiss cutting (I’ve never heard of this – its light cut for a mounted sticker), die cutting. Also a variety of textures, iridescent and ‘damask’ finishes.

A range of formats rather than paper stock…business cards, postcards, bi-fold and tri-fold leaflets. Also a range of textured coating examples.

At the time of writing this I haven’t heard from them yet!

Two really gorgeous paper packs named ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Cyclus’. The quality of Cocoon is quite surprising – its very white but 100% recycled. They contain quite a lot of information about recycling and the environmental benefits of recycled paper.

Otherwise known as The exotic paper company, whats not to love about paper made with animal poo? I have previously bought pony poo wrapping paper for a friend which was really cute and fun!

Some companies tended to use the same photo across multiple examples – I found this an easier point of comparison. When a range of photography is use it looks beautiful, but gives you  less idea how to make a judgement between them.

I enjoyed looking through all these samples and I hope to make use of some of them in the future!! Especially if I have a BIG budget!!! (I can dream)


Print Production: Choosing Paper with Chris Harrold (


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