Blog Article

Paper Principles: The Difference
Between Text and Cover

How to Select the Right Stock for Every Project
AMY ROSS, MANAGER — BRAND AND PRODUCT MARKETING

After weeks of creative development and several rounds of edits, your project has been approved and is finally ready to be printed. Selecting paper stock shouldn’t be an afterthought or a last-minute decision. It’s a critical component, one that literally carries your message to the intended recipient. Think of paper as a tangible expression of your brand. You want the experience to be memorable.

Consider not only how the final piece will look, but also about how it will be used. That can have an impact on the paper stock you select, especially if durability is a factor. Let’s take a closer look at text and cover papers to understand when each option makes the most sense.

The weight of it all

As Neenah Paper notes, the distinction between text and cover paper is primarily weight. “Text papers are typically used for the inside pages of books, brochures, annual reports and direct mail pieces. The weight of text papers also lends itself to advertising flyers as well as letterhead and communication systems.”

Conversely, cover papers are heavier and typically used for items that require extra protection. Cover paper is used for business cards, folders, hangtags, table tents, calendars, menus and greeting cards. What’s interesting is that text and cover papers are manufactured in the same way, with weight being the only difference.

Points versus pounds

Keep in mind that weight is equated with thickness. Text paper is easier to fold, while cover paper is more rigid and must be scored before it can be folded. Paper thickness is measured in points, where a point is equal to one-thousandth of an inch or .001 inches. For example, paper that is 10pt is 0.010 inches thick.

Paper weight is measured in pounds, often expressed with the # sign. The higher the number, the heavier the paper. But don’t be confused if you see both text and cover paper with the same pound number. The pound rating is based on the weight of 500 sheets — a ream of paper. However, text paper uses a sheet measuring 25” x 38” while cover paper uses a sheet measuring 20” x 26” instead. So 80# text paper and 80# cover paper have the same pound rating, but the cover paper is about twice as heavy as text paper.

Final considerations

  • When incorporating a die-cut, foil stamping or embossing, choose a thicker paper.
  • If your piece is being mailed, check USPS regulations to ensure it meets thickness requirements for final folded size.
  • Paper stock impacts the final weight of a mailed piece too, so keep that in mind when planning the budget.
  • Eco-friendly paper options, such as recycled and sustainable, are available if being green is important to your company and brand.