JAM'S Must Know Paper Terms Manual

JAM'S Must Know Paper Terms Manual

We love to start the new year on the right foot by enforcing new year resolutions. Like vowing to run before work every morning, swearing to use a planner, studying with flash cards, etc., etc. You've probably already broken some already, but hey tomorrow’s a new day! If you’re the committed type then reading a book every other week, only eating animals you killed, or learning a new language is at the top of your list, or you're just Mark Zuckerberg! This year make it your priority to learn paper terms. You've used paper for 3/4 of your life and haven't a clue of how many different types of paper and uses it truly has. Some may sound familiar while others may feel like intruders to your native tongue. It’s true, paper (without the writing) has its very own language! It may take some time until you can speak paper fluently but you've got to start somewhere! Paper can be used for manufacturing, cultural, or food purposes. It  may also be categorized by color which may consist of bleached (white), unbleached (brown), or colored (bleached & stained). Paper can be made from wood, recycled paper, or even plants.  


  • Bristol- paper made by pasting two laminating two text weights together for a stiff sheet.
  • Coated-  paper coated by compounds for a smooth finish.
  • Digital- convenient in coated or coated, mostly used in digital presses and printers.
  • Opaque- uncoated paper sold in large quantities for long runs.
  • Writing- referred to as bond paper, this paper is commonly used for writing, engraving, thermography, laser, & inkjet printing.
  • Uncoated- paper lacking a surface coating.


  • Absorbent Paper- unsized paper able to absorb water and ink similar to blotting paper.
  • Abrasive Paper- covered on one side with abrasive powder
  • Acid Free Paper-  free of acidic chemicals and anti-rusting. Generally used for metal wrapping, photos, and paper memorabilia.
  • Account Book Paper- water resistant and erasable, this paper is made from bleached chemical pulp, cotton fibers, or a mixture of both. Commonly used for pen and ink writing.
  • Air Mail Paper- light used for letters and flyers.
  • Bacon Paper- made from glassine paper used to wrap bacon and other meats.
  • Butcher Paper- solely used to wrap fresh meat with a high resistance to animal blood.
  • Blotting Paper- used to soak excess ink when writing.
  • Blueprint Paper- paper used for sketching blueprints.
  • Board Paper- strong and stiff, mostly used to create boxes for packaging purposes.
  • Basis Weight- the American standard weight determined by weighing 50 sheets of paper in its basic size
  • Brightness- the percentage of light based on the paper's surface.
  • Calliper- measured in thousands of inches, a paper's thickness.
  • Chemical Ghosting- also known as gas ghosting, a duplication of a printed image on the opposite side of a single sheet. Formulated by chemical reaction by ink while drying.
  • Choke- the act of decreasing thickness of a printed image while prepping film negatives.
  • Debossing- a procedure whereas the image is adjourned into the paper
  • De-Inking- the practice of making paper totally chlorine free (TCF).  The removal of ink, fillers, coatings, and toner from redeemed paper.
  • Digester- a compression whereas wood chips are cooked to disunite fibers from each other and removal of harmful specks.
  • Dummy-  a page or group of pages arrange in an identical position, generally used for as a printer sample or model.
  • EPA- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, prints regulations for "minimum recycled product content for use by federal agencies for purchasing standards".
  • Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF)- pulp beached free of elemental chlorine, usually a virgin fiber bleached with chlorine dioxide.
  • End-Leaf Paper- high quality paper, coated or uncoated that is colored at both ends of a book.
  • Four- Color Process- The four main colors of ink: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black utilized to accurately print photographs and art.
  • Fuzz- loose fibers coming from a paper's surface.
  • Guillotine- machine used to cut stacks of paper specific size.
  • Hit-  the result of stamping die.
  • Hydrophobic- water resistant paper.
  • Laid- linear pattern applied to paper while wet to reflect handmade paper designs.
  • Monotone- paper printed in one color.
  • Mullen Tester- measures paper's durability, often called a pop test or pop tester.
  • Onionskin- light weight paper utilized to make copies.  
  • Opacity- lacking transparency or the amount of light that passes through a sheet of paper.
  • Oxidation- "a chemical reaction whereas ink hardens the ink vehicle and makes it rub-proof".
  • Panchromatic- film especially sensitive to light in all colors.
  • Paperterie- paper mostly used to make greeting cards and stationery. Great for watermarks and embossing.
  • Quarter Tone- a printing dot that has a percentage close to a 25% printing dot size.
  • Retarders- chemicals that slows down the process of printing inks.
  • Rosin Size- size added to paper making it resistant to paper.
  • Schopper's Tester- a device that tests paper's folding endurance.
  • Seasoning- the procedure of letting paper adjust to different atmospheric surroundings of the plant it will be used in.
  • Slurry- watery suspension of colors used for coating and paper-making.
  • Soda Pulp- a chemical pulp made from wood chips dissolved in a mixture of abrasive soda.
  • T4S: short for Trimmed Four Sides, defined as guillotined paper trimmed on all four sides.
  • Tolerance- allowable amount of variation from an adjusted standard.
  • UV Curling- UV inks being dried by light instead of heat or oxidation.
  • Varnish- thin coating put onto printed paper for preservation and enhanced appearance.
  • Virgin- paper created from fiber in its first time being used.
  • Web Tension- amount of pull applied in direction of the travel of a web of paper by the action of a web-fed press.
  • Xerography- copying procedure that utilizes selenium surface and electrostatic forces to formulate an image.
  • Yankee Dryer- a machine that dries paper while it comes off the wet end. Presses a side against a cylinder that heats it and gives a lustrous finish simultaneously.
  • Zig-Zag Folding- mechanism of folding continuous forms with alternating position.

For en extensive list of paper terms, check out Neenah Paper's Glossary.

Understanding JAM'S Must Know Paper Terms

When it comes to paper products, understanding the terminology is crucial for making informed decisions. JAM'S Must Know Paper Terms manual provides a comprehensive guide to the ABCs of paper, covering everything from paper weight and texture to different printing techniques. This resource is essential for anyone in the printing or design industry, as well as for individuals looking to purchase high-quality paper products for personal or professional use. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you can ensure that you are selecting the right paper for your specific needs, whether it's for invitations, business cards, or marketing materials.

The Benefits of Knowing Paper Terms

Having a solid understanding of paper terms can offer numerous benefits. It allows you to communicate effectively with printers and designers, ensuring that your vision is accurately translated onto paper. Additionally, knowing the terminology can help you make cost-effective decisions by choosing the right paper for the job, avoiding unnecessary expenses. Furthermore, it empowers you to make informed choices about paper quality, texture, and finish, resulting in a more professional and polished final product.

Practical Use Cases for Paper Terminology

Whether you are a graphic designer, a small business owner, or an individual planning a special event, knowing paper terms can greatly enhance your projects. For designers, it allows for more creative freedom and precision in their work. Small business owners can make informed decisions about their marketing materials, ensuring that they convey the right message to their target audience. Individuals planning events can select the perfect paper for their invitations, programs, and other printed materials, adding a personal touch to their special occasions.

Exploring Alternatives to Traditional Paper

While traditional paper remains a popular choice for many projects, there are also alternative options to consider. From eco-friendly recycled paper to specialty textured paper, exploring alternatives can add a unique and sustainable element to your designs. Understanding the terminology for these alternative options can open up new creative possibilities and help you make environmentally conscious choices for your projects.

Tips for Using JAM'S Must Know Paper Terms Manual

When using JAM'S Must Know Paper Terms manual, it's helpful to keep a reference guide handy for quick access to the terminology. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the definitions and examples provided, and consider how they apply to your specific projects. Don't be afraid to experiment with different paper options and techniques, and use the manual as a tool for expanding your knowledge and creativity in the world of paper products.

Additional Resources for Paper Enthusiasts

In addition to JAM'S Must Know Paper Terms manual, there are plenty of other resources available for paper enthusiasts. From online forums and communities to workshops and tutorials, there are endless opportunities to further your knowledge and skills in the world of paper and printing. Consider exploring these resources to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, techniques, and innovations in the industry.


Paper Terminology 101

Key Summary:

  • This article will provide essential definitions and terms related to paper for paper enthusiasts.
  • It will cover a wide range of paper terminology to help readers better understand the world of paper.

Understanding paper terms and definitions is crucial for anyone who appreciates paper products. This article will delve into the various terminology used in the paper industry, providing readers with a comprehensive guide to enhance their knowledge and appreciation for different types of paper. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of paper types, weights, finishes, sizes, and how to apply this knowledge in real-world projects.

Introduction to the Topic:

Before diving into the detailed information about paper terminology, it is important to understand the significance of knowing these terms. Having a good grasp of paper terminology can greatly enhance one's experience and appreciation for paper products. Whether you are a designer, printer, or simply a paper enthusiast, understanding the nuances of paper types, weights, finishes, and sizes can help you make informed decisions and create better quality projects.

Types of Paper

When it comes to paper, there are various types that serve different purposes. Bond paper, known for its durability and strength, is commonly used for letterheads and business documents. Cardstock, on the other hand, is thicker and sturdier, making it ideal for invitations and greeting cards. Vellum is a translucent paper that adds a touch of elegance to printed materials. Understanding the characteristics of each type of paper can help you choose the right one for your specific project.

Paper Weight and Thickness

Paper weight refers to the thickness and heaviness of a sheet of paper, typically measured in pounds or grams per square meter. The weight of paper is an important factor to consider when selecting paper for printing or crafting projects. Thicker paper is more durable and suitable for projects that require a higher quality finish, while lighter paper is often used for everyday printing needs. Knowing how paper weight is measured and its impact on different projects can help you make informed decisions.

Paper Finish

The finish of paper refers to its surface texture and appearance. Matte paper has a smooth, non-reflective finish, while glossy paper has a shiny, reflective surface. Satin paper falls somewhere in between, offering a subtle sheen. The choice of paper finish can greatly affect the overall look and feel of printed materials. Understanding the different types of paper finishes and their impact on the final product can help you achieve the desired aesthetic for your projects.

Paper Size and Dimensions

Standard paper sizes such as letter (8.5 x 11 inches), legal (8.5 x 14 inches), and tabloid (11 x 17 inches) are commonly used in printing and design. Understanding paper dimensions is essential for creating layouts and designs that fit within these standard sizes. Whether you are designing a brochure, flyer, or poster, knowing the appropriate paper size and dimensions can help you optimize your design for printing and presentation purposes.

Who Can Benefit from Understanding Paper Terminology

Knowing the ins and outs of paper terminology can be beneficial for a variety of individuals, including:

  • Graphic designers looking to create visually appealing printed materials
  • Printers who need to select the right paper for different printing projects
  • Artists and crafters who want to experiment with different types of paper for their creations
  • Stationery enthusiasts who appreciate the nuances of paper finishes and sizes
  • Students studying design or printing who want to expand their knowledge in the field

When to Utilize Your Knowledge of Paper Terminology

Understanding paper terminology can come in handy in various situations, such as:

  1. When selecting the right paper for a specific printing project
  2. When designing marketing materials that require a particular paper finish
  3. When creating handmade cards or invitations and choosing the appropriate cardstock
  4. When ordering custom stationery and specifying the desired paper weight and size
  5. When collaborating with printers or designers and discussing paper options for a project

Examples of Applying Paper Terminology in Real Projects

Here are some use case examples that demonstrate how knowledge of paper terminology can be applied in real-world projects:

  • Designing a wedding invitation suite with a combination of matte and metallic finishes for an elegant look
  • Creating a brochure for a business using a heavyweight glossy paper to convey a sense of professionalism
  • Producing art prints on vellum paper to achieve a translucent effect that enhances the artwork
  • Printing business cards on thick cardstock with a satin finish for a luxurious feel and durability
  • Designing packaging for a product with specific size requirements to ensure a perfect fit and presentation

What Sets Our Product Apart

Our product stands out from the competition due to its unique combination of features that cater to the needs of paper enthusiasts. From the wide range of paper types available to the customizable finishes and sizes, our product offers unparalleled versatility and quality. With a focus on providing top-notch materials and exceptional customer service, we strive to exceed expectations and deliver a superior paper experience.

List of Use Cases

Our product is designed to meet the diverse needs of various users, including:

  • Artists seeking high-quality paper for their creations
  • Designers looking for customizable options for their projects
  • Students studying paper and printing techniques
  • Businesses in need of premium paper for marketing materials
  • Stationery enthusiasts who appreciate fine paper products

Maximizing Your Experience with Our Product

To get the most out of your adventure with our product, consider the following tips:

  1. Experiment with different paper types to discover which works best for your projects
  2. Explore the various finishes available to enhance the look and feel of your printed materials
  3. Take advantage of our customization options to create unique and personalized designs
  4. Consult with our experts for guidance on selecting the right paper for your specific needs
  5. Stay informed about the latest trends and innovations in the paper industry to stay ahead of the curve

Enhancing Your Paper Passion

As we wrap up our exploration of paper terminology, it's clear that understanding the intricacies of paper types, weights, finishes, and sizes can greatly enhance your passion for paper products. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you can make informed decisions when selecting paper for your projects, whether you're a designer, printer, artist, or stationery enthusiast. Remember to continue exploring and learning about paper terminology to elevate your creativity and appreciation for the versatile world of paper.

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