When a document bares your company name or logo, you want that document to reflect the type of company you have created. In the world of paper products, quality conveys professionalism. A limp piece of standard computer paper would not relay the same brand image as a nice sturdy document.
We know it is not always easy to navigate the language of the paper industry, but the type of paper that you use can say a lot about your business. Here, we will take two of the most common forms of business paper products and lay out how to pick out the right quality for your company's needs.
You know the old saying, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Well, when it comes to paper products, that first impression usually comes in the form of a business card. According to C.A. Johnson of Demand Media in an article featured in the Houston Chronicle, business cards are the most simple and immediate way to introduce your company and the relevant contact info.
The first decision you will face as a company is about what is referred to as "card stock." This simply refers to the weight of the paper product at hand. When it comes to business cards it is highly recommended to request a sturdy card stock. Business cards are usually products that are handled frequently, as such you will want a firm card that will not bend or wear easily.
After you have made your decision about card stock, you must decide what type of finish you want your cards to have. Matte stocks are the norm, they print without any shine and can be printed in a variety of colors.
Equally as common are glossy stocks. FitSmallBusiness warned that while these types of stocks are great for images, they are very hard to write on which can be a major downside when exchanging information that needs to be altered. However, Johnson noted that the coating on these forms of cards ensures a certain life-span to the card, as it protects from water damage and tearing.
Most businesses choose from one of the two options above, but there are also textured stocks and photo card stocks to consider. Textured stocks, as the name suggests, are cards that have a certain texture to them. These stocks give a distinct tactile dimension to a business card and are otherwise very similar to matte stock cards. Johnson suggests sticking to a single-sided business card if you opt for texture, as two textured sides can be over-kill.
Photo-cards are most often used by actors or real estate agents. These stocks are often printed in full color and are likened to a professional photograph in business card form.
A major factor in your decision really comes down to budget. Matte stocks are perfectly fine if you are pinching pennies, but if you have the money to splurge you can always up the weight of your card, or find a cool featured image to compliment your business.
While there aren't quite as many detailed options when it comes to business letters, the quality of the paper you print this type of communication on is still important. Business letters are often used for company-to-company communication, and as such, should display a distinct level of professionalism not only in the type of paper, but also in the internal formatting. Bill Hogan, writer for the Chicago Tribune, urged writers of business letters to keep the communication formal and concise.
Business letters should be printed (or written) on high-quality white or cream paper according to Hogan. Letterheads are encouraged, and can be custom printed on stationery by your printing company. As with business cards, a thicker paper is recommended as it can withstand a greater amount of handling than standard computer paper.
Why it matters
As mentioned above, print quality translates to professionalism. Whether it be one of the two print products we showcased or another form, you want quality paper when it comes to documents you will be sending out to other businesses or clients. As with everything your business sends out into the world, make sure your paper products reflect the professional image you want to have consistently tied to your company.