If you’re wondering what would be the perfect material for a poster you are looking to buy, then hopefully this short blog post will be able to provide you with some answers.
Similarly to our blog post on poster sizing, this topic can be quite controversial, and ultimately a lot of it comes down to personal taste. However, what we are going to try and do here is distinguish the good poster papers from the bad ones. Then, amongst the good ones, do what we can to explain what makes them good, and then let you make your decision.
What should I be looking for when choosing a type of paper?
When you are looking for the right paper to choose for your poster, you need to take three things into account:
- Weight (GSM – Which means Grams per Square Metre).
There are countless materials out there, but we recommend for high-quality poster printing using a high rigidity and opacity paper. This will allow for a sharp finish and a rough feel to it which will evoke a feeling of quality for whomever be holding it.
You also want to use a material that is 100% acid free because whenever a paper has acids such as chlorine in it they will yellow with age. Acid free papers do not yellow, which is why acid free papers are the ones chosen by artists and the ones put up in museums.
Examples of papers that match this criteria are Fine-Art-Paper and X-PER paper.
This depends really on what your tastes are. However, there are multiple options out there:
- Silk finish
- Gloss finish
- Matte finish
- There are more, but they are not worth mentioning, you don’t want to go there.
All of the above finishes are “fine”. However, You need to consider what kind of look and feel you want the paper to have when you remove it from the tube or box.
In our opinion (because there are only “opinions” for this kind of matter), we believe that silk, gloss and matte finishes look and feel a bit cheap. Especially the silk and gloss finishes. Why? Because they have a plastic-like feel to them that gives the impression that it has been printed in huge volumes at the lowest possible cost. When you touch them, they feel incredibly smooth to the point where you feel as though there has been no human input on what you have in your hands at all.
This is why we recommend using uncoated finishes. When you run your finger over an uncoated piece of fine-art-paper you get a real sense of quality immediately due to the fact that it feels a bit rough, almost as if you had found an ancient scroll on a desert island and were unravelling it for the first time. That is the feeling you get when opening an uncoated finish on high-quality, acid free paper.
The difference in “wow factor” though, comes in the weight.
This is probably the easiest element of the topic to agree on.
The general rule of thumb is: More weight is good. However, you don’t want to take it too far.
Essentially, it goes like this:
- Anything under 130gsm is going to feel flimsy and cheap.
- Anything over 250gsm is going to feel too rigid, almost like a postcard.
So your sweet-spot is between these two numbers. Bear in mind that the type of paper you are using will have an effect on the rollability and flexibility of the different paper weights.
For example, if we take the two paper materials used as examples earlier on, an X-PER print at around 150gsm would probably have the same feel as a fine-art-print at 170gsm. This is simply due to the difference in paper structure, but it is one to consider when choosing.
Ultimately, if you aim around the 150/200 mark, with a high quality paper material, you are going to find yourself with a beautiful print that has a nice weight to it and feels like it has been extracted from a museum, which is exactly what you want, right?
So that’s it, that is what you need to look out for, here is a quick recap:
- Fine art print, X-PER or any other high quality, acid free paper material.
- Uncoated finish, if uncoated isn’t available, go with matte. It is “the best of the rest”.
- Between 130 and 250gsm. Never lower, never higher.
That should be enough to help you buy a print you’ll love and cherish. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.