Printed marketing is powerful. Unlike digital messages, an eye-catching print piece can last for months on a potential customer’s desk. And the more staying power your marketing has, the more your brand has as well.

So how do you create show-stopping, engaging print marketing assets that stay with people? It all starts with paper choice.

You can’t just select what’s on sale and call it a day; quality is paramount. If you want to make a lasting impression and stay top-of-mind, align your marketing message with your paper stock. If you’re ready to invest in print advertising, then you’ve probably considered – or at least heard of – coated vs. uncoated sheets. But which one helps you communicate your message better?

Let’s discuss.

Related: How to Choose Paper Stock for Your Next Print Job

What is Coated Paper?

Coated paper can have either a matte or a glossy finish, and you’ll recognize it thanks to its shiny appearance. This particular shine accentuates the colors of your printed images, making them seem brighter. This type of paper is also typically more resistant to water, dirt and tearing.

When it comes to coated vs. uncoated sheets, coated stock absorbs less ink than uncoated. This gives the images printed on coated sheets a sharper look, making it the ideal option for conveying professionalism with your print materials.

However, because of its shine, writing on coated stock isn’t particularly easy. This makes it less appropriate for situations where you want to make notes on it. You'll also need to consider the glare effect, which could make it difficult for prospects to read your message or see your contact details in bright settings.

Coated vs Uncoated - Ironmark

What is Uncoated Paper?

Uncoated paper absorbs more ink, which can make the print material look less smooth than coated stock. As a result, the colors appear a bit darker while the images look less sharp. In fact, because of the quantity of ink the paper absorbs, the thicker the paper the fuzzier the images.

Despite this, uncoated stock is the right choice for brochures, business stationery, menus, bookmarks, booklets and so on. Because the ink is not stuck on the surface of the paper – instead its thoroughly absorbed by it – this is the ideal option for print materials with lengthy messages that use a lot of ink.

Related: 3 Quick Tips for Choosing the Right Paper Weight

Coated vs. Uncoated Sheets – How TO Choose?

It all depends on your design and the effect you want to achieve. If you’re aiming for a contemporary feel where the images really pop and quickly catch attention, consider coated stock. The artwork will look and feel sharper and more vivid, and deliver a big 'Wow!' 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a traditional feel or a vintage finish, uncoated stock is the way to go. Uncoated stock is also a great choice when you want your audience to focus on the copy, rather than the tactile aspect of your design.

Sometimes a detail as small as coated or uncoated paper can determine how your overall product is received. Choosing the right type of paper is as bit overwhelming, so just follow these guidelines to make better, more appropriate choices.


If you’re still unsure which is the best option for your next print piece, get in touch with the experts at Ironmark. We’ll help you make the right decision based on your business needs.

Written by Reid Broendel

When you need something done for your digital marketing campaigns, you can count on Reid Broendel to find a way. Reid has been on the Ironmark digital marketing client services team since May of 2019. Reid holds the position of Lead Digital Marketing Specialist and brings with him a knack for content management, as well as an enthusiasm for client support, able to jump in at a moment’s notice to help clients and team members on any and all digital marketing needs. From installing tracking codes, to building out emails, to planning out content calendars, Reid is always happy to help. Reid is a graduate of Penn State University, with a B.A. in Advertising. He runs on coffee and spends all his days not in the office working next to his cats.

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