Gustavo Baner from ColorCopiesUSA

Gustavo Baner


Date Published: 2019-08-05// Updated: 2020-08-23

Choose the right paper for my brochure


You are going to promote your business. You just designed your brochure pout a brochure template (a ton of work right there), and it is looking fabulous on your screen! The plan is to mail it to  your prospects ASAP. You love gloss paper so you've made that decision so far.

When you call your print-provider, one of the first questions is "Which paper do you want your brochure printed on?

In this article, we talk about paper grade. We do not discuss gloss cover stock. Most brochures get printed on gloss paper and we are focusing on paper.

The options, they'll tell you, are endless: 80 lb gloss text paper, 100lb gloss paper, 100 gloss book paper, high gloss paper, satin paper, uncoated stock, not to mention the cover stock paper that is also offered, and the list goes on.

Narrow down: Because the following two options are the most popular, we'll narrow-it-down to :

#1- 80 lb gloss text paper (shiny finish), and
#2 - 100 lb gloss paper (shiny finish)

What is common for them, what is different?


Finishing: These are both glossy text papers.

Same Paper, Different Weight: Both are made out of the same raw materials and out to the same production equipment. So we know the 100lb paper is 25% heavier than the 80lb gloss text and therefore thicker than the 80lb paper. You could kinda call it "more of the same".

Printing quality: Glossy paper has excellent properties when it comes to smoothness printing and print detail. With both options, you'll enjoy a high-quality final product.

Compare thickness: This picture includes the height of 20# copy paper, the most basic entry-level paper available. We included that image to make it clear that the numbers (20 / 80 /100) don't tell you a lot about the specifications of the paper, unless you get some additional details. Never compare just the numbers.

20lb plain copy paper: A stack of 1000 sheets of is 3.5" tall
80lb gloss text paper: A stack of 1000 sheets of is 4" tall
100lb gloss text paper: A stack of 1000 sheets of is 5" tall

A picture that shows the height of a pile of 1,000 sheets of three different types of paper, 80lb gloss text, 100 lb gloss text, compared to 20lb copy paper, indicating that the number does not provide all the answers
3 piles of 1,000 sheets of paper to represent the thickness of each type of paper.

Cover Stock: Just as a reference, this is how thick cover stock is,
80lbs cover stock: is 7.5" tall
100lbs cover stock gloss: is 9.2" tall


"Bending - Stiffness - Curving". If you hold a flat sheet of 100lb paper, it will bend less than 80 lb paper. The following pictures illustrate this phenomenon.

"Bending" test to show how 80lb and 100lb gloss papers behave. Picture shows both papers bending with measurements
80lb and 100lb gloss paper bend differently.100lb paper is a bit stiffer

See-through, which is a way to measure how much of what's on the other side of the paper you get to see, makes the 100lb paper much less transparent. The coating which is part of the paper is pretty opaque. On one of the pictures in this article, you can get a sense of the degree to which that could be an issue for you.

Cracking: Glossy paper is made with pulp and clay on the surface. Gloss paper text thas a thicker layer of clay. Clay is not a flexible material, nor are the fibers of the wood. When these papers get folded, the clay will crack, and the fibers will suffer.

Recommendation for graphic design on 100lb gloss text brochures printed on digital toner equipment: If your design has full coverage of dark ink (solid blacks) in the folding lines cracking could happen. The toner used in full-coverage digital printing cracks when folded. Therefore, cracks could appear in the folding area. You can deal with this situation by not designing heavy-dark coverage on the folding, or by asking your brochure to be scored and folded. This double process is much gentler both on the paper and ink and does not create cracking.

Light Ink Coverage: When folding a brochure that has not such coverage, it looks good.

Offset printing inks do not crack. In that case, cracks should not be a problem in the folding.

A quick note about how the "numbers" relate to physical properties: If we were in Europe, or anywhere where the metric system is used, we would handle the information a bit differently and we would identify the 20lb copy paper as 60.2 grams per square meter. 80lbs gloss text would 120 grams per square meter, and 100gloss text would be a 148 gram per square meter paper. It would be more intuitive to know which paper has a heavier body.

Because in order to produce glossy paper, a layer white clay is built into the paper, and clay is intrinsically heavier than paper fibers, the glossy paper is heavier when the thickness is similar.

Cost of paper and printing The thicker and heavier 100lbs gloss text paper is slightly more expensive than the cost of 80lbs paper. Because it is heavier as well, shipping costs are slightly higher


Which products do best with each type of paper?

80 lb gloss text:

  • product specification sheets that go as part of the packaging and product
  • Inside pages in magazines and catalogs
  • tri-fold or bi-fold brochures
  • trifolds as collateral in mailed envelopes, because of the reduced weight, especially for first-class rates.
  • EDDM (R) mailing piece, only when the open piece is an 11x17 high gloss paper that gets folded to a size that qualifies for Every Door Direct Mail rates


100 lbs gloss text:

  • High-end trifold brochures
  • cover page for magazines
  • Sell sheets and product specifications to be shared at events and sales meetings
  • Posters
  • Photographs


We hope that the information that we presented in this article will help you determine which paper stock will work the best in your case.

If you want to get our perspective, feel free to give us a call at 1-877-421-0668