• Traditionally, magazines set themselves apart from other print media by using semi-heavyweight glossy paper. Today some magazines have expanded on this trend by turning to recycled paper and matte finishes.


    Paper weight, measured in pounds (denoted by the # symbol), refers to the weight of a ream, or 500 sheets, of standard-size cut paper. This is 25 inches by 38 inches for standard paper. For example, a standard sheet of 80# paper means that a ream of such paper weighs 80 pounds. Magazines most commonly use 50#, 60# or 70# paper stock for the interior pages and 80# or 100# stock for cover pages of the publication.


    According to the Gerson Lehrman Group, more than 80 percent of U.S. magazines print on coated paper. This means the paper has been treated with either a glossy, matte or dull finish coating.

    Grade or Brightness

    Paper grade is based on how well the paper reflects light. This is measured by a blue light reflectance industry standard by which lower numbers indicate more reflective paper. Most magazines print on 3, 4 or 5 grade paper.

    Recycled Paper

    Many U.S. magazines are reducing environmental waste by switching to partially or 100 percent recycled paper. Titles include Every Day with Rachel Ray, Shape and Inc. magazine.

    Cost Considerations

    Matte finish is the most expensive form of paper coating. Glossy is the least expensive choice, and dull finish prices between the two. Magazines have been slow to adapt to recycled paper because using recycled paper is often more expensive than traditional paper options.


    Gerson Lehrman Group: Tough Times for Print Magazines

    Magazine Publisher: Paper FAQs

    Folio: Selecting the Right Paper

  • Printing paper also known as coated paper, is the paper suitable for printing or other graphic purposes and coated on one or both sides with minerals such as china clay (kaolin) or calcium carbonate. Coating may be done by a variety of methods, both on-machine and off-machine, and may be supplemented by super-calendering.
  • Most paper used today is a plastic coated paper. Up until the 1960s a clay-based paper was used. At that time, Color-lift transparencies could be taken from clay base paper to be used in teaching or other uses. Lifts cannot be taken from the plastic coated paper today. What a shame because colour lifts were a great teaching aid. A clay based paper could be identified by rubbing a moist finger on a page away from the lift you desired. If your finger tip showed a white residue it was clay based paper.

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