Choosing Paper for Your Printing Project... Part 2
So you want to know even more about paper, eh? I don't blame you. Our previous blog post went over some of the basics of paper, like the type of coating or finish, and caliper, weight and bulk. This post will cover opacity, brightness, shade and grain. Let's get started!
Opacity is just a fancy way of saying the "show through" or "see though" quality of the paper: As in, how much will the printing on the other side of the page "show though." Some papers are categorized as "opaque" sheets, as opposed to "offset" or "bond" papers. As a general rule, the thicker the paper, the less light gets though; however less bulky papers like vellum are thicker but less dense, leaving more chance for light (and printing) to come through. Text-heavy projects like annual reports, manuals, or product brochures should be printed on paper with more opacity.
Next in line come brightness and shade. It would sound like those are the same thing, but in reality they aren't. Brightness is the overall visual appearance of the sheet in terms of how much light they reflect. As you may recall, ink is slightly translucent, which means the brightness of the paper effects the brightness and vividness of the color. Brightness is measured on a scale of 0 to 100; which is to say a sheet measuring as 96 bright is more reflective than a 92 bright sheet.
Shade refers to the whiteness of the paper. Don't be fooled and think we're talking about the color. If the paper is light blue, dark blue, yellow, red, cream, natural, eggshell, that is its color. Shade is all about white: Blue White, Yellow White (also called Cream White), and True White. Papers made with optical brighteners tend to have a cooler hue. These absorb warmer colors and give off more of a faint blue tint. Yellow white uses no brighteners and have a warmer more yellowish hue. True white is a perfectly neutral sheet.