Paper Guidelines

Updated February 23, 2016

Understanding paper options

This document is a guide for UF Health communicators when selecting paper for (but not limited to), marketing,  physician to physician and development print materials.

Ultimately, choice of paper should be based on audience, end use and budget. Where budget is a concern, comparable sheets to those recommended can be quoted. Materials with a shorter shelf life or those with a tight budget are best suited for an economy sheet, while image pieces, or pieces that are meant to be kept for a longer period of time, lend themselves to a premium paper. Typically, a more expensive sheet of paper will yield a better print result.

There are many papers and special treatments available in addition to those listed in this document. To create unique or unusual effects for your special project, consult with your designer. He or she will be able to suggest creative ways to tell your story with paper, inks, bindery and varnishes/finishing.

The basis weight of a paper is the designated fixed weight of 500 sheets, measured in pounds, in that paper’s basic sheet size, in thousandths of an inch. This measurement is taken with a micrometer.

Two papers with the same basis weight may vary in actual weight and thickness from one manufacturer to another. It is important to ask your designer to have the printer create a paper mock-up in advance of final production to determine what the actual weight and bulk of the finished piece will be, especially if it will be mailed, in order to determine the mailing cost.

Three common paper categories are writing, text and cover.

Writing — a letterhead-weight stock, usually 24# or 28#, and may have a watermark. UF Health marketing materials typically only use this style of stock for letter inserts.

Text — is heavier than a writing paper, but not as heavy as a cover weight. Text weight paper is often available in 70#, 80# or 100#. May be used for flyers, inside pages of booklets and multi-fold brochures (over 4 panels). Sometimes 60# offset is used for budget-friendly pieces.

Cover — is heavy weight. Cover weight paper is often available in 65#, 80#, 100#, 120#. May be used for rack cards, flyers, brochure covers, self-cover brochures and tri-fold brochures.

Coated and uncoated paper

Coated paper:
Coated paper has been highly compressed and coated by a compound or polymer to impart surface gloss and smoothness, allowing ink to sit on top of the paper. The result is clean, crisp printing—especially in photos, blends and fine details. Coated papers come in a variety of finishes including matte, dull, gloss, and satin.

  • Matte: is a flat finish with very little sheen. The coating still allows the ink to sit on top of the paper and provides excellent image detail and color saturation.
  • Dull: is a smooth, low-gloss finish. Dull-coated paper can fall between matte and glossy paper depending on the manufacturer.
  • Gloss: gloss coated paper has a high sheen. Gloss finish allows the ink to sit on top of the sheet and provides excellent image detail and color saturation.
  • Satin: a satin coating is a less shiny-coated finish. It has a lower gloss level than gloss finish, yet a higher gloss level than matte finish. Colors are sharp and vivid.

Uncoated paper:
Uncoated paper has not been coated with a surface sealant. Because it is more porous, ink absorbs into the sheet, resulting in more muted ink colors. Some common uncoated finishes (textures) are wove, smooth, laid and linen.

Coated one side and coated two sides:
This paper is commonly referred to as C1S (coated one side) or C2S (coated two sides). Typically, the coated side is glossy. These papers are used primarily on postcards and packaging due to their extra weight and thickness.

UF Health paper recommendations (default)


Premium  / Option A: Sterling 80# Cover / Matte Finish
Budget / Option B: Endurance 80# Cover / Dull Finish

(An option for materials printed on coated stock is to run an aqueous satin coating over the entire piece. This creates a satiny, tactile quality and gives a high-end look.)

Premium  / Option A: Finch Opaque 80# Cover / Silk Finish / Bright White
Budget / Option B: Cougar 80# Cover / Super Smooth Finish


There are two standard ways to specify paper for booklets:

  • Self Cover: uses the same paper weight / stock for both cover and inside pages, usually 80# or 100# cover.
  • Separate Cover: uses a heavier cover weight for the cover and a thinner text weight for the interior pages. Example: 80#cover / 100#text or 100#cover / 100#text.

Coated and uncoated papers can be mixed in brochures with multiple pages to create a textural contrast.


Endurance 80# or 100# Cover / Dull Finish

Rack Cards

Endurance 100# Cover / Dull Finish
For quantities under 4000, digital printing (vs offset) is more cost effective

Corporate ID (Publication Services):

  • 100# Accent Opaque Smooth White Cover – Business cards
  • 70# Accent Opaque Smooth White Text  – Letterhead
  • 24# Accent Opaque Smooth White (#10 reg & window) – Envelopes
  • 24# Mac White Wove – Mac White Wove is acceptable for large envelope orders where letterhead will NOT be inserted.