You’ve Got the Right Stock, Baby

With dozens of options to choose from, selecting the right stock for your print project may feel overwhelming. The type of stock, thickness, and available options are all factors that must be considered when making your selection, and this article will help you understand the different options and find the best fit for your needs. 

Coated vs. Uncoated

One of the first features to consider when selecting a stock is whether it is coated or uncoated. As their name suggests, coated stocks have a protective layer applied to the paper before printing. This layer gives the paper a smooth finish and prevents ink from soaking into the paper fibers during printing. This results in vibrant colors and clean, crisp print quality, making coated stocks a great option for jobs with photos or fine details. 

Uncoated stocks look and feel more like plain paper. The bare stock absorbs ink during printing, producing a softer, more natural-looking print. With no coating over the paper, Uncoated stocks are a great option for jobs like appointment cards and forms, which are meant to be written on after printing. Since the stock is just bare paper, you don’t have to worry about ink smudging or smearing.

[photo caption: This photo shows a comparison of the same rich black build (60-40-40-100) printed on a coated stock (top card) and an uncoated stock (bottom card) ]


The type of job you’re printing will help determine the thickness of the stock you select. For items like postcards and business cards, we offer a variety of cardstocks ranging from our 100LB Linen to ultra-thick 32PT Painted Edge Cards. These options are thicker and more rigid than our other offerings. Whether sent through the mail, pinned to a community board, or stored in your wallet, these thicker stocks will help them stand up over time. 

Brochures and letterheads are typically printed on one of our Book or Cover weight stocks, ranging from 70LB to 100LB. These options are thinner than our other cardstocks and can be easily folded or scored. Once folded, these thinner stocks will stay closed for easy stacking. Their lighter weight also makes them a great option for printing informational materials meant to be brought along to something like a community event or tradeshow.

Additional Coatings

Many of our coated stocks can have an additional coating applied after printing. We offer options ranging from Matte and high-gloss UV coatings to premium laminates, each bringing a different look and feel to your print project. 

Our Matte coating provides a smooth, dull finish. This is a great option for achieving a professional look that’s not too flashy and won’t show many fingerprints. Alternatively, our high-gloss UV coating will provide a polished look and make colors appear more vibrant. If you’re looking for a more luxe finish, our Silk and Velvet Laminates are great options. These products have a protective layer applied after printing. These laminates create a soft, smooth surface; make the cards both water- and tear-resistant, and make the card slightly thicker, overall. 

Additional Features: 

One final detail to consider when selecting the stock for your print project is the availability of additional features like spot UV, foil, and rounded corners. Adding features like these can help your job stand out from the crowd, but since some of these options are only offered with specific stocks, their availability could be one of the deciding factors in which one you select. Below are descriptions and availability for some of our most popular additional features. 

Spot UV – UV gloss is applied over the print in specified areas to help make them pop. Spot UV is available with our 16PT Matte, 19PT Silk, and 19PT Velvet products. 

Raised Spot UV – Slightly raised UV gloss is applied over the print in specified areas to help make it pop. Raised Spot UV is available only on our 19PT Velvet products. 

Stamped Foil – Your choice of one out of several foil colors is applied to the product after printing. Stamped Foil is available on our 14PT Uncoated and 19PT Silk products. It’s also available on our 32PT Uncoated stocks as a custom order

Raised Foil – Your choice of either slightly raised gold, silver, or holographic foil is applied after printing. Raised Foil is only available on our 19PT Velvet products.

Inline Foil – A layer of silver foil is applied to specified areas and then printed over. This allows you to have multiple foil colors on a single piece. Inline Foil is only available on our 16PT C2S. It’s available with no additional coating or with a high-gloss UV. 

Rounded Corners – Choose from 2 or 4 rounded corners and either a ⅛” or ¼” radius. This option is available on several different stocks and finishes but cannot be offered with either Raised Spot UV or Raised Foil. 

Hopefully, the information above has helped give you a better idea of the different stocks we offer and how to select the best option for your next print job, but nothing beats actually being able to see and handle them in person before placing an order. That’s we’re always happy to mail you a free sample packet to review, and you can request one here. Additionally, our friendly and knowledgable Customer Service Team is always happy to answer any questions you have about the specific products and help make recommendations. You can reach them via chat, phone, or email, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm Eastern.