Paper Stock 101: How Paper and Print Work Together, Part 2

This is a continuation of my juicy interview with Matt Feldman on the relationship between paper stock and print.  See below to link to the first part of the interview.

Conformer:  How does the scoring and folding required to make a folder or mailer impact the paperboard stock?

Feldman: Paper has a grain, so great care should always be taken when designing a product that is going to fold.  Often projects (like folders) require scoring and folding with and against the grain, so designing the printed piece correctly is huge.  Do not penny-pinch the stock when it comes to finishing.  A paperboard stock might print great on a sheet, but if it is brittle or made with too much filler, the risk of cracking during the finishing process goes up exponentially.  It is much more expensive to re-print and re-finish a job the second time than it is to pick a quality stock the first time.

Conformer:  What causes paper to crack?

Feldman: Paper cracking happens when the paper fibers separate and break through the coating.  This happens more frequently with thicker papers like covers and paperboards, and shows up more easily on a richly colored flood-coated printed piece.  Many times designers will compromise their vision of the printed piece because they fear thicker stocks are going to crack.  Printers will warn clients that the stock they choose could crack, and they try to encourage designers to understand the liability.

Conformer:  How does virgin stock perform differently from stock with recycled content? Why?

Feldman: Virgin paper is stronger and more durable.  The strength of virgin fiber will always yield a better finished product from printing to finishing.  Recycled stock is usually a combination of post- and pre-consumer paper fiber that is mixed together.  During the collection process, a tremendous amount of energy is consumed to de-ink, bleach and sanitize the paper fiber.  During the process of collection and chemical enhancement, the paper fibers are being degraded and lose their strength and elasticity.  The end result is poorer performance when creating a printed piece and more waste to produce that project.

Matthew Feldman is too modest to tell you himself, but he’s done a pretty fabulous job of launching Xtreme Coated Cover, which just happens to be a coated PEFC-certified paperboard stock that won’t crack on the fold.  That’s why he knows what he’s talking about… Thanks, Matt!

Missed the first part of my interview with Matt Feldman?  Click here for Part 1.

Sari McConnell at


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