Pulp Fundamentals (1,669 words)
by Richard Goldsmith
How would House Beautiful magazine look if it were printed on newsprint? Probably not that great; the colors would look kind of flat. The photographs would look fuzzy. It certainly wouldn't be something you'd want to keep on the coffee table, because frankly, it would look "cheap."
How would your direct mail package look if it were printed on newsprint? It probably wouldn't arrive at all, because the paper would be torn to shreds by the mail sorting equipment. If it did arrive, it probably wouldn't make a very good impression, neither would your four-color brochure. Heavy coated paper just "prints better." A newsprint order card would be difficult to write on without tearing, and it wouldn't survive the Postal Service sorters either. It would probably look pretty "cheap" too.
Certain papers are used for different forms of printed matter and there's a reason. When you send a mail piece to someone, you're conveying a message that is both written and subliminal. Paper serves a functional and aesthetic purpose.
What are the characteristics of paper that affect how it prints and how it will work for various components in your direct mail package? They are as follows:
Type of Paper
Newsprint is one type of paper. The kind of papers usually used for direct mail printing are Text and Wove. The paper manufacturers call them these names because the paper fibers have different characteristics.
Wove paper is made so that it has a higher tear strength. This makes it ideal for envelopes. It will hold up to the high-speed sorting equipment the Postal Service uses. Wove paper has a smooth finish; this helps the printing look nice because the ink doesn't spread as much as it would on a vellum (rough) finish paper. Wove paper is available in many colors, but if you use a color other than white, be sure to use one that will not interfere with the readability of the Postnet barcode.