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Coated Stock and Brightness

The brightness of a given paper has an enormous influence on the vividness of images and illustrations. The brighter the paper, the more light is reflected from the white stock up through the transparent inks that make up the artwork and to your eyes. Luckily, it is easy to identify a paper's relative brightness: Just refer to the paper's grade. Paper grades are standards-based, and a key factor that determines the grade of the paper is it's brightness, or ability to reflect light.

Paper is graded into five levels and described by six different characteristics. The five paper grades are 1 through 5 depending on brightness, and the six characteristics are brightness, whiteness, holdout, opacity, smoothness and finish.

Brightness is the ability of the paper to reflect light. Some light is always absorbed, but the more light that is reflected, the brighter the paper. We used Photoshop's Brightness-Contrast feature to emulate the effect of a paper's brightness on image reproduction:

In our example, a color original image gets progressively duller and less bright as it is printed on a lower grade paper. The tables below detail brightness and opacity by paper type and grade.

COATED OFFSET: WHITE
PAPER
GRADE
BRIGHTNESS
RANGE
OPACITY
60# 70# 80# 100#
GLOSSY FINISH
Premium 88%-93% 95%-96% 97%
Number 1 85%-87% 94%-95% 95%-96% 96%-98%
Number 2 83%-84% 92%-93% 93%-94% 94%-95% 95%-96%
Number 3 80%-83% 92%-93% 93%-94% 94%-95% 95%-96%
Number 4 74%-79% 92%-93% 93%-95% 94%-95%
Number 5 69%-74% 92%-94% 94%-95% 95%-96%
DULL FINISH
Number 1 85%-87% 94% 95%-96% 96%-98%
Number 2 83%-84% 94%-95% 95%-96% 97%-98%
Number 3 80%-83%
Number 4 74%-79% 93%-94% 95%-96% 95%-96%
Number 5 69%-74% 93%-94% 95%
MATTE FINISH
Number 1 85%-87% 93%-94% 94%-95% 95%-96% 97%-98%
Number 2 83%-84% 93%-94% 94%-95% 95%-96% 97%-98%
Number 3 80%-83% 93%-94% 94%-95% 95%-96% 97%-98%
UNCOATED OFFSET: WHITE
PAPER
GRADE
BRIGHTNESS
RANGE
OPACITY
60# 70# 80# 100#
OPAQUE OFFSET
Premium 94%-96% 93%-95% 93%-95% 94%-96% 96%
Number 1 90%-93% 94%-95% 95%-96% 95%-96% 97%
Number 2 86%-89% 93%-95% 95%-96% 95%-96%
Number 3 82%-85% 93%-95%
STANDARD OFFSET
Number 1 87%-89% 90%-92% 92%-94% 94%-95%
Number 2 83%-87% 90%-92% 92%-94% 94%-95%
Number 3 80%-83% 90%-92% 92%-94%
Commodity 78%-80% 90%-92% 92%-94%

           


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