Notebooks 101: Offset vs. Coated Paper

What is Offset Paper?

Offset paper, or called offset printing paper, is a type of wood-free paper that is often used in offset lithography to print a wide variety of printed materials, including books, magazines, manuals, catalogs, posters, calendars, flyers, letterheads, flyers, brochures, envelopes, and brochures. Both sheet-fed and web-fed printing machines can utilize offset printing paper.

Offset paper has a larger quantity of sizing to survive extreme moisture saturation when treated in the offset press dampening systems, as well as an ISO brightness of more than 80% and a grammage in the range of 40–300 gsm. Offset paper has a strong surface, doesn't shed much, and doesn't curl. It also has good size stability and doesn't curl. Coated and uncoated offset papers in smooth, vellum, and patterned textures, are all readily accessible.

Offset Paper printing
1. Uncoated offset paper is good for offset printing because its coarse surface readily absorbs printing inks and dampening solutions.
Offset paper's smooth surface facilitates using ballpoint and fountain ink pens and a clear stamp imprint. This is why offset papers are so frequently seen among office supplies. These papers may print high-quality, full-color images, illustrations, and text for various products and publications. However, when it comes to printing high-quality color photos, offset papers aren't nearly on par with art print materials.
2. Uncoated paper is frequently used for softcovers (paperbacks) and other text-based publications, including novels, courses, and journals.
With this setting, your pages will have a more classic appearance. Uncoated paper is your best bet for notebook pages because it comes in various textures and colors.
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Types of Uncoated Paper: White vs. Natural Paper

The common misconception that paper is always white is unfounded. The color and brightness of paper are determined by the bleaching process on the wood pulp typically used to create paper. The quantity of light reflected from the paper under typical lighting circumstances is what is meant by "brightness."

Two common types of uncoated paper are available from most printers: white and natural.

Natural paper

Natural paper is also called a warm white paper. It is a cream-colored paper that has been barely bleached. If a writer wants his notebooks to have a gentler or more traditional tone, they should choose this option.

White paper

This is similar to the copy paper most people use in home printers. This is the most common book paper color because it maximizes the readability of black-and-white text.
White vs. Natural Paper

Paper Weight Selection for Uncoated Paper

Standard uncoated paperweight notebooks range from 50 to 80 lb. 50 lb uncoated paper is around the same weight as a 20 lb copy paper home sheet. There are several elements to consider when deciding which paper weight is appropriate for your notebook.

50# uncoated

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When trying to minimize spine size and thickness, 50 lb uncoated paper is your best bet. Notebooks containing 600+ pages typically utilize this paperweight.

60# uncoated

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Uncoated 60 lb paper is the "perfect balance" for most notebooks and is the most often used paper variety. 60 lb paper is sturdy enough to safeguard your notebook and flexible enough to be carried for extended periods without discomfort.

70# uncoated

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70 lb. uncoated paper is more opaque than standard stock, so it keeps your notebook's contents hidden from prying eyes. This is an invaluable feature for publications with a lot of color photographs.

80# uncoated

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For notebooks with heavy images but relatively modest pages, 80 lb. uncoated paper may be a good choice. Books of this weight, however, will be noticeably stiffer.

What is Coated Paper?

Coated paper, also known as gloss paper,  is a kind of paper that has been with a polymer or a mixture of materials to alter the paper's characteristics, such as thickness, surface gloss, smoothness, and ink absorbency.

Its types vary from glossy, semi-gloss, and matte papers. Paper for high-quality printing in the packaging business can be coated with various ingredients, such as kaolinite, calcium carbonate, bentonite, and talc.

Coated Paper
Coated paper can be gloss, satin, matte, or dull.
Synthetic viscosities like styrene-butadiene latexes and natural organic binders like starch are used to affix the chalk or china clay to the paper.

Chemical additives such as dispersants, resins, or polyethylene may also be included in the formulation of the coating to impart water resistance and wet strength to the paper or to provide protection against UV radiation.

Adding the agent to its surface can enhance brightness, smoothness, and other printing qualities.

After the coating has been applied to the paper, the paper is "polished" with rollers. It smoothens the surface by filling up the microscopic divots and crevices between the fibers.
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Type of Coated Papers



A gloss-coated paper has a high shine. Gloss papers are often less costly than dull and matte papers of the same thickness because they are thinner, more transparent, and have a higher gloss level. Gloss coatings lessen ink absorption, making for vivid colors on the page.



Non-glossy and dull in appearance, the matte-coated paper has no shine whatsoever. As a result of their increased bulk, opacity, and expense, matte papers are more expensive. Excellent color is achieved because the coating prevents the paper from absorbing most ink.



In contrast to a glossy coating, a satin coating provides a softer sheen. It's glossier than a matte finish but not as shiny as a gloss one. The hues are crisp and vibrant.



Coated paper with a dull finish has a flat, matte surface and lacks sheen. Depending on the manufacturer, the dull-coated paper may be matte and glossy.

Single- and Double-sided Coatings

Coated one side means C1S, while coated two sides means C2S. Coating in C1S paper is applied on only one side of the paper. The C2S coating is double-sided. The glossiness usually only occurs on the coated side. Postcards are the most common application for this paper type. It makes the front of the card shiny, while the uncoated back may be used for mailing addresses.


Comparison of Coated and Uncoated Papers


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Coated papers are the best option for solid printing color or metallic inks, as the inks will not bleed or smear. Surface treatments like varnishes, UV coatings, and foil stamping (even a thin transparent foil) work nicely with them as design components.
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Coated papers have the disadvantage of being difficult to write on using a pen. Gloss-coated papers might be difficult to read when a lot of text is included in the project. Coated papers have a high ink sheen but require an additional coating to prevent fingerprints and scratches.
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Uncoated papers are ideal for pressure-based print processes, including embossing, debossing, letterpress, and foil stamping. They provide an attractive distinction between the sheet's surface and the imprint. They're great for tactile packing because of their smooth surface and the ease with which they fold (even when using heavier weights; remember to fold with the grain).
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Uncoated papers have some downsides owing to the ink absorption they exhibit. Coatings and varnishes can be used with uncoated papers, but just for protection; they are not suitable for use in design. Choose a high-quality uncoated paper with superior formation.


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Coated papers produce clear, sharp results, a high degree of contrast between the printed image and the white space, and a smooth, modern feel.
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The coated surface makes for a sharper contrast between the printed image and the white space, making them ideal for photographs with fine detail (known as ink snaps). It is common to see them in publications and catalogs for luxury goods like cars, jewelry, and home appliances when a "glossy" or "shiny" appearance is desired. Their coated surface is perfect for high-definition printing since it increases the contrast between the printed image and the white background.
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Uncoated papers are more comfortable to the touch and warmer in appearance. Their feel conveys honesty, reliability, and purpose. These qualities make them ideal for education, non-profit work, and environmental protection. They also make great identity systems, notebooks, books, and catalogs.


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Specifications like weight and thickness should be considered when contrasting coated and uncoated paper. An uncoated sheet, rather than a coated one, may be used.
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If you're looking at 80 lb. coated text paper, 70 lb. uncoated paper will likely be just as opaque and thick. As a result, you save money and reduce your paper use. Since less material will need to be shipped or mailed, it might be a bonus.
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Coated and uncoated papers provide an abundance of options at varying price points. The paper specifications shouldn't be determined by cost alone. Contact your printing and paper products factory early if cost concerns your project. We will point you toward affordable solutions that produce high-quality printed materials.

Other Factors to Consider


The traditional paper was made from wood pulp, which had acidic properties that caused the sheets to turn yellow and disintegrate with time. As a result of a change in fillers, modern paper is virtually always neutral in pH. The average grade on a paper will last for 500 years.

Higher-quality acid-free paper, often known as archival-quality paper, can last a thousand years or more. Acid-free cotton pulp is commonly used in producing paper at this grade level.


Stationery businesses and customers are increasingly interested in finding manufacturers who care about the environment and only use sustainably harvested paper.

Consider using a certified paper stock with Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the Rainforest Alliance, or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificates like Interwell Stationery.

Paper products printing
Su - Interwell Founder
Hi, I'm Su, the author of this post. I founded Interwell Stationery and have served over 1000+ clients since 2003. Feel free to contact us for custom stationery supplies, manufacturing support, and the latest trends in the industry.
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