Print, in the simplest terms, is ink on paper. If you consider ink or paper simple. Today, let’s focus on choosing the right paper.

Whether your client knows (or thinks they know) exactly what they want, or you have the pleasure of building a design and vision together, it’s still up to you to guide the client to the best options based on price, availability, turn-around and final effect. Since you are, in fact, the expert!


All this year I’ve preached about the sensory responses triggered by print. I’m not alone. Mohawk Paper’s “Maker Quarterly” takes readers, designers, and marketers deep into the visual and tactile effects of print. Sappi’s “Neuroscience Shorts” videos explain the power of the weight and finish of paper choice in relation to the final impression of trustworthiness perceived (or not perceived) by the user. Here’s the starter:

Did you know that accountants most often purchase their folder with a clean, simple logo printed on a linen stock? The goal is to convey consistency and provide a sense of comfort. You may not think comfort when you think of tax season, but you want an accountant who instills that feeling, right?

Easier than You Think

The latest digital printing equipment can print on nearly any stock or texture, unlike the “old days” when digital print was limited to coated, maybe even special stocks. The newest inkjet and even toner presses often print successfully on a wide variety of stocks. In our shop, we run linen, fibered, and even the hopsack embossed sheets in addition to the expected coated stocks. With the expanded realm of stock possibilities, this opens up a variety of textured options with low minimum options at reasonable prices.

Color Psychology

Color psychology is a common tool in marketing. Theories like red equals action and black equals sophistication show themselves repeatedly in design. Luxury car folders inevitably include some combination of black and silver. Deep blue also relays “power” so attorneys and banks commonly use dark blue, often linen or other textured stocks.


Also, the color of the sheet is the first important factor when choosing the best production processes to utilize. For example, last month I shared a few possibilities to consider when creating white images on dark stocks. Conventional, metallic foil remains the most popular process utilized on deep shades of uncoated sheets in our plant. Again, promoting the psychology of stability, security, maybe even wealth. Or, as the holiday season approaches, foil effects are often used with rich colors to convey festivity and celebration.

So Many to Choose

Although paper mills have converged and combined over the years, there are still dozens of finishes, from smooth (with many variations of smooth) to felt (with each brand having a unique embossed pattern) to columns/grooves and more! Even whites vary from pure white to bright white to, well…white.

At Pocket Folders Fast, we carry a wide variety of stock weights, colors, and finishes. Because our production team focusses on fast, we keep a large inventory in order to supply an impressive array of stock options for folders with a very quick turnaround. (Much of what we do ships in 24 hours, so having paper on hand is pretty important.)


Consumers and print buyers often know what they want, but not how to ask for it. Showing each client the variety of options available with samples tailored to their request and brand image sells print. The tactile experience, important to brand designers, requires a “show don’t tell” method when it comes to options like dimensional UV effects and fine papers colors and textures.

Our shop provides a swatchbook with the sales kit to help our distributors. We also have a sample room ready to fill any request. You probably have walls of paper swatchbooks as well, however sometimes having a completed folder (or envelope, or label – whatever your selling) solidifies the sale with peace of mind.

There are many considerations when choosing stock, I hope these quick points help you narrow stock choices down to “simple” for your clients.

Quick link to our sales kit. 

The stocks we carry in their paper groups here.