The debate is as old as the technology itself: Should you print your brochures on glossy paper or matte paper? The right answer is that there is no right answer – depending on your design and how your brochure will be used, either glossy or matte will prove to be the best choice for your next brochure printing project.
Designers and consumers love glossy paper — it makes your full-color brochure pop with brilliance by reflecting light off of the paper’s surface. Deep, rich blacks and blues bounce off glossy brochures and other colors appear smoother, hotter or even more flamboyant on glossy paper. As paper goes, glossy paper is often less expensive than matte and is seen by some as the more professional option. That’s not always the case, as glossy brochures do have some drawbacks. If they’ll be changing hands a lot or placed in a dirty area, for instance, the coating that gives them their sheen may pick up fingerprints, smudges and dust.
By comparison, matte finishes offer a softer, glowing appeal that is perfect for new-age designs. In particular, the soft look of many Web 2.0 websites has inspired many designers to incorporate similar soft shadows, inner glows and other elements into their brochure designs. Matte paper is a better choice, because it helps the ink diffuse by limiting how much light is reflected off the paper’s surface. High-quality matte paper can be more expensive than glossy paper; however, it will retain fingerprints, smudges or dust. This makes matte a great choice for high-traffic areas or brochure applications where the brochure in question will be passed around a lot.
Choosing the right paper
If your design is bright, hard-hitting and bursting at the brim to tell customers the brochure’s message, go with a good 100-pound cover or text gloss paper. If your design is softer, with a more thoughtful message and more subtle design intones, go with a 70-pound or 80-pound matte — especially if the brochure will see a lot of wear and tear. PsPrint offers recycled matte paper stock, so if going green has its incentives for your company or your customers, matte is your best bet. Some companies will only do business with environmentally friendly businesses, so if you do go with a recycled matte paper make sure you let customers know somewhere on your brochure.
Outside of those principles, it really comes down to personal preference — do you think your design, message and company are best represented by a glossy or matte brochure? Even if your brochure is in a high-traffic area, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid glossy paper. Along the same lines, just because you have a loud design doesn’t mean you have to go with glossy. Innovative design, by definition, is about breaking norms — so be creative and experiment. Chances are that if you take a few risks, you’ll come up with a compelling brochure design that will help you make sales — no matter what the paper’s finish is.