Event program and booklet designers call us almost every day asking which cover stock and text paper they should be using for their programs or booklets. There are literally thousands of cover and text paper types you can use, however it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Normally you can use the cover stocks and text stock we feature to produce an event program or booklet which you will be proud of and will do the job required.

Essentially the choices you have are:

  • Self Cover (All pages including covers are the same paper)
  • Plus Cover (text pages are one stock and the cover is another stock)
  • Coated Stock
  • Uncoated Stock

Your most inexpensive option is to have your event program or booklet printed as self cover. Most applications for programs or booklets are for one time useage (ie: an event program is used only during the actual event, after that it is usually thrown away) A self cover booklet is usually durable enough for that event.

If your booklet is going to be used repeatedly such as a seminar workbook or employee manual you should use a heavier cover to handle the wear and tear your booklet is going to get.

Generally speaking, uncoated papers are a little less expensive than coated stocks. If your event program is predominately type and line copy you can usually use uncoated stock for covers and text.

If your event program or booklet has high resolution photos and fine line graphics you probably want to use a coated stock as the coating on the paper will improve your print quality. Gloss coating has a “glare” and is hard to read if you have a lot of type, but is used to show photos and graphics in their best detail. Matte coating does not have the glare of gloss coating but still allows a great printing surface for quality photo and graphic reproduction.

My personal favorite construction for most event programs and booklets is a self cover booklet using 100# coated text (matte or gloss) for all pages. The 100# text stock is sturdy enough for covers and when you use it for all text and covers you have a very impressive look and feel. The cost is less that having separate covers and text stock, but still gives you the durability you need for one or multiple uses of your event program or booklet.

Please contact us for more information on our event program or booklet printing services.


Paper Finishes

Booklet printers don’t normally worry too much about paper finishes as most booklets, and event programs are printed on opaque (smooth finish) papers or coated stocks which only come in gloss, matte ,satin/silk, or dull finishes. However, every once and awhile a customer needs a booklet or event program printed on a special finish.

Finish is the surface characteristics of paper. A highly finished surface is one that is hard and smooth, while a low finish is one that is relatively rough and “toothy”.  Common finish names are:

  • Antique: A very rough uncoated paper finish, obtained on the paper machine with very little wet pressing or machine calendering.
  • Dull: A coated paper finish with low gloss.
  • English: A grade of book paper with a smoother, more uniform surface than machine finish. A smoothness level between machine finish and super calendered. it is the smoothest of machine finished papers and suitable for halftone printing.
  • Eggshell: Usually refers to book grades of paper that have a finish similar to the surface of an egg. A special felt is used to mark the surface of the paper before it dries.
  • Embossed: A finish given to paper with an embossing machine. The embosser has an upper steel roll with a pattern engraved upon it and designed to be steam heated. The bottom roll, whose diameter is normally twice that of the upper roll, consists of a soft material like cotton or paper. Before the paper is embossed, the hard engraving roll is rotated for some time against the soft lower roll, creating a pattern in the surface of the roller which is transferred to the paper.
  • Gloss: A coated paper finish with a high gloss finish. Very good for process color and fine detail printing.
  • Laid Papers: Paper with grid pattern in the sheet resulting from the pulp resting against wires on the papermaking mould screen.
  • Linen: A paper surface design made by embossing the paper with a linen cloth pattern.
  • Machine: A smooth surface obtained by calendering on a paper machine. Machine finish is smoother than Eggshell, but not as smooth as English Finish.
  • Matte: A coated paper finish with a low level of gloss from coating without super calendering.
  • Satin or Silk: A coated paper with a smooth delicately embossed finish with sheen. Generally intermediate to a matte and a dull finish.
  • Vellum: A full toothy, relatively rough finish surface of uncoated text or book papers, between an antique (very rough) and a regular or smooth finish.
  • Wove: Uncoated paper with an even finish with a slight toothiness.

Generally, if you desire a booklet or event program printed on a paper stock with a special finish, you may have minimum quantities and an up charge in cost.

Please contact us today for information on our event program and booklet printing services.

Recycled Paper for Booklet Printing

Environmental conservation (Living Green) is more than a passing concern. It has become a way of life for many people and it is becoming official policy for government agencies, and progressive companies. When we use recycled paper for printing booklets and recycle our waste paper, we can reduce the amount of waste going into our nations overflowing landfills.

Recycled paper is defined by EPA as paper products which consist of 50% recovered wastes. Three kinds of waste make up the content of recycled paper:

  • Post-Consumer Waste: Papers from homes, offices, retail stores, schools etc. This is the area most of us can have an effect on the waste stream.
  • Pre-Consumer or Manufacturing Waste:  This is waste paper from paper converting or printing companies. Printed or unprinted scrap and discarded overruns of printed materials.
  • Mill Broke:  Paper discarded anywhere in the paper manufacturing process. Mill broke has always been routinely reused in the paper making process, therefore its use does not have as much of an impact on reducing the paper waste stream.

It is important to realize the type of waste content when purchasing recycled paper. Paper consisting of 50% Mill broke is not as “Green” as purchasing paper made using pre-consumer and post-consumer waste. The percentage of each kind of waste varies, depending upon the grade and the current availability of Post-Consumer waste.

All of the nation’s landfills are overflowing, especially in the heavily populated areas.  Even though paper degrades in the landfill, it is also one of the easiest products to recycle. It is just good sense and good business to reduce the quantity of waste where we can.

The technology for producing recycled paper has improved dramatically over the years.  It is no longer a “given” that recycled paper is “yellow”, and that it doesn’t print  as well as virgin paper.

Booklet Printing, LLC offers a full line of both coated and uncoated papers for printing booklets, catalogs, newsletters or event programs that rival the brightness, cleanliness and printability of virgin fiber stocks.

Please contact us today for information on our event program and booklet printing services.

Paper Opacity, Whiteness, Brightness & Shade

How much do you know about paper measurement? How much do you really need to know?  How much do you really want to know?  Do you really care if the paper your booklets, event program, newsletters, calendars, or catalogs  are being printed on has a opacity rating of 94%, whiteness of 92,a 96 brightness, and is a blue white shade?

When you send your booklets, event program, calendars, catalogs or newsletters to your printer, you probably only know the grade it is being printed on (i.e; 80lb gloss text).  However, if you want your booklet, print program or newsletter to really “Pop” it might be important to know some  of the important measurements of the paper your booklet is being printed on. The definitions are:


Paper Opacity is the property of paper which obstructs the passage of light and show through of printing.  The characteristic of paper to block the transmission of light, or the ability to provide (low opacity, like tracing paper) or prevent (high opacity) “show through” of dark printing.  The human eye is good at comparing this property, but it can be measured by instrument, and is expressed as a percentage of the light that cannot pass through the sheet of paper, i.e; a 98% opacity means that 98% of the light cannot pass through the sheet, and is absorbed in or reflected from the incident surface. Opacity is important when printing booklets, as a sheet with good opacity will prevent “show through” when printing on both sides of the paper as most booklets do.


Whiteness is a measurement of the light reflectance across all wavelengths of light comprising the full visible spectrum.  As whiteness is measured across the spectrum, this measurement better correlates with your visual perception of paper.  Papers that reflect a higher percentage of blue light tend to measure the highest, while those reflecting a higher percentage of yellow light are perceived lower.  A perfect whiteness would be 100.


In lay terms, brightness is a measurement, on a scale of 0 to 100, of the amount of  blue light reflected from the surface of a paper. For example, a 98 bright paper reflects more light than does an 84 bright paper. Scientifically, brightness is defined as reflectance of blue light with a wavelength of exactly 457 nanometers (nm), 44 nm wide.

Brightness measures on the blue (short wavelengths) end of the visible spectrum and completely ignores the longer green and red wavelengths, thus, ignoring shade.  This means that two paper samples with identical brightness values can look different to your eyes.


There are three groups of white shades; True White, Cream White, and Blue White.  Most papers are manufactured to a blue white shade because the blue white shade appears both brighter and whiter.

A balanced (or neutral) white shade of paper, often called “True White”, reflects the total color spectrum equally.  A “Cream White” shade absorbs the blues and cooler colors and will have a yellowish tint.  A “Blue White” shade absorbs the warmer colors and reflects the blues or cooler colors.  Papers with high blue reflectance levels are often referred to as “Bright White” or “High White” papers.


In the United States “Brightness” is the most common reference. ” Whiteness” is the most common reference in Europe.  Unfortunately there is no correlation between “Brightness” and “Whiteness” of paper.  they are based upon different measurements.

If you are printing black ink on your booklets, event programs, print program, calendars or newsletters, on a digital press, your decision should be based upon “Brightness” and “Opacity”, as you are concerned about the contrast between the black and white and the “show through”.  Remember, brightness measures only the blue light reflectance.

If you are printing your booklets, calendars, event programs, print program, or newsletters in color, make sure you take shade and opacity into consideration.  If most of the images in your booklet are blue toned (sky, ocean, etc.) you could use a Bright White sheet.  If most of the images in your booklet are reddish or yellow, (sunsets, desert, skin tones) you could use a “Cream White” sheet.  If you have a Balance of color throughout the booklet, a “True White” sheet would probably work best.

Please contact us today for information on our event program and booklet printing services.


One of the things I have learned over my many years printing booklets, event programs, calendars, newsletters, and catalogs is that there is no such thing as the “perfect paper”.  I have however seen many booklets and catalogs printed on the wrong paper, a paper that made it difficult for the user to read, or a paper that was way too expensive for the product printed on it.  Choosing a paper to print your  booklets, newsletters, catalogs, calendars,or event programs really depends upon the use of the finished piece.

Basically, you have two types of paper for text or covers for your newsletters, booklets or catalogs;  Coated, or Uncoated.  Within these two types of paper you can have many different finishes, colors and weights.


A text weight or cover weight paper that does not have any kind of coating such as clay or latex applied to it’s surface.  The most common uncoated papers are bond, book or offset, opaque, ledger, rag, bristol, tag, and cover. Some of the most popular finishes for uncoated paper are wove, vellum, smooth, felt, laid, or linen. Almost all uncoated papers come in a variety of colors.

If you are printing a booklet, calendar, newsletter, handbook or instructional manual such as a parts manual or employee handbook with predominately type and line art, and you expect the user to read or study the booklet, you probably want to use an uncoated paper such as bond, offset or opaque for the text pages.  One reason for this choice is that uncoated papers don’t have “glare” or “reflection” which makes it easier to read.  Uncoated papers are normally a little less expensive than coated papers.


Paper with a smooth coating such as china clay to improve its printing qualities; may include a variety of types and finishes.  Coated paper is paper that has been coated by a material to provide printing ink holdout, smoothness and levelness.  Coated papers come in text and cover weights, and you can get most cover weights coated one or two sides.  Some of the popular finishes for coated paper are; gloss, matte, dull, satin, and embossed. It is possible to get some coated text  and cover weight stocks in color, but you are going to pay a premium.  Most booklet printers carry only white coated papers and do not carry any colored coated paper in inventory. If you want color, it’s cheaper to print it.

If you are printing  booklets, newsletters, event programs, calendars or product catalogs with many photographs or fine artwork, and you want to attract attention or show your product or photographs in as fine a detail as possible, you want to use a coated paper which will show case your product.  Coated papers allow the ink or toner to print as fine as the process allows, due to the smoothness of the surface. Coated papers are usually more expensive than uncoated papers.

Please contact us today for information on our event program and booklet printing services.


Remember the old idiom “That goes against my grain?” Defined as: “not be something that you naturally do, be against your inclination.” I’d like to think that that was first said by a man involved in booklet printing.

Companies who do booklet printing must always be aware of paper grain direction as we usually fold the paper in order to bind it. A saddle stitched booklet or event program folded against the grain of the paper is not a real pretty sight, as the fold will be rough or cracked.

Grain direction of paper is defined as “The direction in which paper fibers are predominantly aligned”. Grain is parallel to the direction of the flow of the paper machine. Paper is either grain long or grain short, depending upon how the paper was cut.

Usually grain direction is shown on ream or carton labels. You may see “grain long” or “grain short” or, the mill will underline the grain direction on the paper size. 11 x 17 would be grain short, while 11 x 17 would be grain long.

If you don’t have a label you can easily determine grain direction on a sheet of paper by folding it. Paper folded against the grain will crack and be very rough on the folded edge. Paper folded with the grain will be much smoother.

The “Droop Test” is another way of determining paper grain direction. Take a sheet of paper and lay it on an edge of a table with a fixed distance (5″ or 6″) protruding over the edge of the table. Note the amount of “droop”. Turn the paper 90 degrees and do it with the exact same distance extended over the table edge. Note the amount of “droop”. The side that shows the greatest degree of droop has the grain direction going along the table edge (parallel to the table).

Please contact us today for information on our event program and booklet printing services.


All of us here at Booklet Printing are asked numerous times about paper weights and comparisons. The difficulty of answering most paper weight questions is the fact that we are usually asked to compare apples to oranges. Whenever you are involved in printing booklets, calendars, newsletters, event programs or catalogs, paper weight is very important to the appearance and use of the final product.

The first definition you must understand is “Basis Weight.”  Basis weight is the weight of the paper type for one ream (500 sheets) of paper. The problem comes in when you learn that the sheet size used to determine basis weight is not the same for all paper types. The sheet size used to determine basis weight for various paper types is:

  • Bond, Ledger, Mimeo, Writing, Rag———————-17” x 22”
  • Offset, Book or Text——————————————-25” x 38”
  • Cover————————————————————–20” x 26”
  • Bristol————————————————————–22.5” x 28.5”
  • Index—————————————————————25.5” x 30.5”
  • Tag, Newsprint, Board—————————————-24” x 36”

This means that if 500 sheets of 17” x 22’ bond paper weigh 20 pounds, the basis weight is 20lb.  If 500 sheets of 25” x 38” offset weight 60 pounds, the basis weight is 60lbs. Simple isn’t it?

The rest of the world uses “Metric Weight” or “grams per square meter” to measure “Basis Weight.”  This is a much easier method. Many paper companies are now using “Metric Weight” along with “Basis Weight” to identify their papers.

There is one way you can compare papers, and that is by using “Equivalent Weight.”  For example, you can compare bond paper and offset paper weight, even though they are different papers and use a different basic sheet size by using the following “Equivalent Weight Table.”

Equivalent Table

Please contact us today for information on our event program and booklet printing services.