Tips for choosing the best office paper

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Many businesses spend a fortune on their office space and their technology, but then fall short when it comes to the basics; most common amongst those basics is making sure they are using not just the best quality, but the right type of paper for their needs.

How you pick your office paper will depend on many factors, but these are important factors to consider:

• Whether it is the appropriate grade or type of paper for the job
• Whether it ties in with your corporate environmental policy
• Whether it gives the right impression to your clients
• Whether you can get hold of it easily and at the right price

Even a paper-free office has more need of paper products than you might think; whether you’re producing these in house or sending them out to a printing company for completion. Sending brochures out to a separate company for printing is less of a minefield as it’s part of the print company’s job to advise you on what will best suit your needs.

For in-house printing, you need to think about what the paper is going to be used for. Standard grades of paper are perfect for everyday printing needs, such as printing out document drafts, emails or photocopies; they are also economical, work with most machines, and are resistant to jamming. Mid-grades are better if you are printing customer letters, and especially if you are printing double-sided documents. The paper is heavier, and has a smoother finish. For really professional and colour printing, high or heavy grade paper is the most appropriate choice, as this has almost no showthrough when used for double-sided documents. It’s also perfect if you are intending to print out flyers in-house on your own office printers.

Cost versus Message

If you are trying to keep an eye on margins, you will understandably be very wary about spending more than you might otherwise consider on higher grades of paper. You may also find yourself caught between paper quality and environmental concerns. The good news is that modern recycled standard grade papers lose very little in quality and brightness; if this is a matter of real importance to your organisation, a footer on printed materials highlighting your environmental commitment can offset the slight drop in quality you might experience by using a standard grade recycled paper for customer letters.

Printed letterhead, or electronic template?

If you have pre-printed letterhead, then your printing company will already have supplied you with a quality of paper suitable for client communications. If you are working from a full-colour electronic template supplied by a designer, you will need to select a higher quality paper than you might usually use to print with.

One area of paper quality that is often overlooked is what you’re putting your customer and client letters into – envelopes can often look cheap, and give a poor impression. Consider taking any letterhead branding through to your envelopes as well, and again, select a higher paper quality than you might previously have considered.

As with every aspect of your business, you will frequently have to make decisions based on economy and cost, but when giving the right impression to your clients, it’s worth spending just that little bit extra.