The SME’s guide to printing

Exploring your print options and finishes

You have just stepped out from your designer’s office and it is time to head to the printers with your touch points and branding designs. You will need to be prepared for the endless amounts of options the printers will present to you. Being prepared with some basic knowledge will ensure your job runs smoothly and you receive an accurate quote, right from the beginning.

letter blocks

Paper Sizes

Choose the right printing size for your project our paper size guide


Flyers: A4, A5, A6, DL
Invitations: A5, A6, DL
Posters: A3, A2, A1
Postcards: A6
Letterheads: A4
With Comp Slips: DL

Paper Stock

You have your winning design sorted and you are about to take your press-ready artwork to the printers. Have you considered the paper stock you would like to have your document printed on? Paper can be divided into two describing categories: Stock weight and stock type.


Stock weight is how thick the paper is. (GSM).

  • 80gsm – this is the standard printing paper you would have in your home.
  • 90gsm & 100gsm – This is usually used for letterheads, with compliment slips and corporate documents.
  • 115 – 200gsm – used for flyers, publications, brochures
  • 250 – 310gsm – anything between these weights is known as a ‘light card’. Invitations and gift certificates are usually printed on 300gsm.
  • 350 – 420gsm – This stock is known as a ‘heavy card’. This is the stock business cards are printed on.


Stock type is the type of paper it is. There are many types of stock, but most fall into these 3 categories:

  • Uncoated – also known as ‘Bond’, these papers have no coating. Think, regular office paper, letterheads and compliment slips.
  • Coated – These papers have a coating on them to give it a nice feel and look. Typical stocks include: gloss, matt and silk coating.
  • Recycled – Any paper that has been recycled or handmade falls into this category. Recycled paper generally has no coating and feels much like bond paper.

PRO TIP: Always go and see your printer and ask for their recommendation based on your job. This way, you can see and feel the paper stocks prior to selecting.

Print finishes

Printing finishes are the term used for extra detail that can be added to your printing to enhance and individualise your job. These are all optional extras so make sure you ask your printer for a quote that includes a finish!
Here are some examples:


Celloglase is a coating put over printed material to protect it against the elements. It is mainly used on documents intended for high traffic use: business cards, presentation folders, cover of books, invitations and postcards. There are two main types of cello – gloss and matt, however, some printers may also offer a silk or velvet cello.


This is the process of having a matt cello base with a gloss varnish over the top on specified areas. This is handy for making your logo stand out on the front of a document or to create a subtle element to your printing.


Embossing is the creation of a raised image on the paper/card with a die block under high pressure. It is a fantastic way to give your prints another dimension. It instantly makes plain paper exude quality and adds a beautiful touch to
your designs.


Foiling adds a touch of elegance to the business card with a beautiful texture and look. The technique is achieved by pressing a coloured foil into the card or paper, with a heated die. It is mostly used to enhance typography and logos.

Document Folding

Did you know that there are over 10 different ways to fold a document? The two most common are a Roll fold and a Z fold which will be covered in this document.


Roll Folds, also known as a ‘C fold’ and is given its name because the paper is folded over the top of itself This type of folding is most common for flyers, brochures and invitations.


Z Folds, also known as a ‘fan fold’, is used when a piece of paper is folded into a Zig Zig form. Think back to when you were younger and made paper fans – this is a Z fold. This is again, common for pamphlets, travel brochures, maps and some flyers.

Printing quote checklist

Not too sure what to ask for when requesting a quote from a printer? Use the checklist below to ensure you never forget a thing and guarantee a more accurate quote.


  • I will be supplying the print ready artwork (or)
  • I would like a quote on design


  • Size:
  • Double sided or single sided printing
  • Quantity(s) needed
  • Paper stock
  • Paper weight

Does your document need to be folded?

What finish (if any) would you like to include?

Pickup or Postage to your address? (supply postcode)

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