Written By: Paula Fargo

paula fargo
Matte vs glossy

What’s the difference between Matte and Glossy paper?

A Mr. Wayne Campbell from Baltimore, Maryland writes in and asks:

Q: “I’m a little confused about whether to choose glossy paper or matte paper for my printing project. Can you help me?” 

A: When someone asks a question as nicely and politely as you do, Wayne, I’m very happy to assist! Thinking about “gloss vs matte,” we are talking about the paper “finish”, not color or weight or thickness. It is simply what the paper looks like under the light. Glossy paper reflects light much more than matte paper, which seems to absorb light rather than bounce it back off the surface. Why does that matter to you? There are a few reasons: 

  1. First, look at the piece you want to print. Are there lots of photos? Images? Drawings? Areas of solid color? Printing on glossy paper tends to enhance this type of piece. Colors look more vibrant, photo contrast appears sharper and better, and ink or toner tends to lay smoother on a glossy surface. 
  2. For pieces with text-heavy content, printing on matte paper is a bit easier on the eyes for your readers. If you want your audience to spend some time with your printed project, give them a bit of a break and try matte paper, which may be less strenuous to read. 
  3. Next, think about how and where your piece will be handled. Glossy paper may show fingerprints, so perhaps you’ll either want to go with matte paper, or conversely, add an additional coating (UV or Aqueous) to your glossy piece to help protect it against unsightly handling marks. 
  4. Finally, how will your piece be displayed? If you have a poster to present and there is a bright light in the room, your glossy paper might throw off a glare that makes your printing hard to read at best, and all but invisible at worst.

This is the reason why we at Curry Printing ask you lots and lots of questions about your piece, to make sure we recommend the best possible option for you, glossy or matte! 

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