Printing Your Programs -- Paper Selection
Did you know that the kind of paper you use to print your funeral programs makes a big difference in their appearance and quality? That’s why it’s so important to know the different types of paper that work best for printing funeral keepsakes. Here’s a quick checklist for choosing the right kind of paper for your designs.
What Weight Paper is Best?
- The weight (thickness) of paper you use is one of the factors in producing a quality printed document. Think of it this way—if you printed formal wedding invitations on white copier paper (20 lb), would they have the look you hoped for? No, and the same principal applies when printing funeral programs. Most designs, unless for an informal memorial, look better on a heavier weight paper. Here are some guidelines on paper weight:
- 22 to 24 lb paper is a step up from copier paper and will allow less show-through of printing from side to side. It may not fold as cleanly as a heavier weight paper.
- 28 to 32 lb paper has a crisp, professional look and will produce attractive mementos, no matter what design you choose.
- Card stock comes in 40 to 100 lb weight and may be your best choice for prayer cards and bookmarks, IF your printer will print on paper this heavy. Check your printer specifications to find out the maximum paper weight your printer will allow. Also, If making programs that require folding, you may want to select a lighter weight paper. Folding heavy cardstock can be difficult and cumbersome.
What Kind of Paper Works with Your Printer?
You might want to work with card stock on your next project, but most home office printers, inkjet or laser, aren’t made to print documents on it. If you’re planning to send your design files to a print shop for printing, they may be able to accommodate your request for card stock, otherwise you’ll need to work with lighter weights. Buy a small package of several weights and sizes of paper and test them in your printer before your first customer project.
Where Will You Buy Paper?
Take a look at what’s available at local office supply stores. If there’s not a wide selection available locally, consider buying paper online so that you have options to offer your customers. You can ask the online company to send "samples" so that you can test the paper, before you buy.
What Color Would Look Best?
Before offering a range of paper colors to your clients, buy a sample package of those colors and do a test print of several of your designs. Here’s why: some colors just don’t work well when printing photographs and color graphics.
What Brightness Looks Best?
‘Brightness’ refers to the contrast between the paper and ink. Paper comes in brightness levels from 80 to 100. Especially for funeral programs with color photos and images, you’ll want a paper with a high brightness factor.
Matte or Gloss Finish?
Gloss finish paper produces the sharpest photos, but isn’t always available. Matte finish is more commonly available. Check your paper source for both and practice printing some designs on them so that you know what to suggest to your clients. Also, please test the paper, before you commit to a project. Some ink jet printers' ink will smear easily on glossy paper. You may need special "Glossy" paper for ink jet printers.
One more tip—if the customer has preferences about recycled paper, it’s good to know ahead of time what’s available and how the paper looks when printed. Steer them away from paper with an uneven texture, as ink or toner coverage will be uneven, too.
Use these basic questions to select the right paper for your projects and be ready to offer paper suggestions to your customers for their memorial keepsakes. They will appreciate your expertise and that will lead to more business for your funeral program company.