Coated verus Uncoated: What's the difference?
There are two basic categories of paper finishes commonly used today: uncoated and coated. All paper starts out uncoated and is commonly used in this form. The non-glare surface makes it suitable for all types of reading material, and so it is used extensively in paperbacks, newsletters and textbooks.
If paper is coated with fine white clay, the result is coated paper. Coated or "glossy" paper, as it is sometimes called, is used in the printing of glossy covers, magazines and brochures. The most distinguishing feature of coated paper is that printing inks will sit on top of the coating. The result is a clean, sharp image. For this reason, coated papers are used when precise color matches, extremely clear detail, or the faithful reproduction of photography (both color and black-and-white) is desired. In contrast, ink tends to soak into a sheet of uncoated stock. Coated stock is normally the paper of choice for fine quality printing is not commonly available in colors.
COATED FINISHES: There are, however, various types of finishes available on coated
sheets: matte, dull, gloss and cast-coated. Matte and dull sheets have a
coating, but the coating has not been buffed to a gloss. Matte sheets
look dull but have a thinner coating than conventional dull sheets. Cast
coated sheets have a very high gloss finish and are more expensive.
Both types of paper – coated and uncoated – come in a variety of finishes. Uncoated sheets are relatively smooth, and this is the finish most commonly seen. More expensive uncoated stock may have an embossed finish. These finishes include linen and laid – terms which describe the appearance of the paper. A laid sheet is textured to resemble handmade paper. Coated paper is rarely embossed and is available only as a special order in large quantities.
Please remember that each type of paper is available in different grades at various price points. For your convenience we have listed a few of the more commonly-used papers.