Paper Information

These are videos explaining the paper-making process.

From UPM, a global forest products group. It is slick and very "graphic designed".

This is just the Flash file; it is full-screen:

From, How Paper is Made. This is rough and cornball, but it has lots of video and an "on the job" quality:

From Discovery, via, good video, good voiceover, happy music:

Paper facts and resources

Locate Resources:

It is not likely you will memorize everything about paper, but knowledge of some basic facts and a familiarity with the sources of information will allow you to solve problems on the job.

Pocket Pal-from International Paper

This book is a legendary reference tool for printers and designers. It is very concise and thorough. It is a fast way get find facts.

Paper Companies Web Sites

Most paper manufacturers display their products online. Many have great educational pages and production help. You will find some of the most innovative web design, and over-design, on these sites.

Local Suppliers

When you begin doing real work, these people will be indispensable.

Paper Samples

Examine the paper sample swatch books (available in the lab). The only way to "know" paper is to touch it and bend it.

How is Paper Made?

When you understand how paper is made, the terms for and behaviors of paper become more logical.

Web Sites: This is a page for kid's, but it is pretty good.
This site is all about paper:
Another easy-to-digest paper site:

The Physical Qualities of Paper:

The qualities of paper are discussed on the paper manufacturers' web sites. West Coast Paper, a dealer, has some very nice tools and information too!


A number of finishes are created in the paper machine, the calendering and coating. What are Felt, Wire, Antique, Eggshell, Vellum, Smooth, Dull Coated, Glossy, and Cast Coated?


There are a multitude of papers for a variety of jobs: Bond, Coated, Text, Book, Offset, Cover, Index, Tag, Bristol, Bristol, Newsprint, Lightweight Specialty Papers. Some you will use constantly and others infrequently. Know where to look up their specifications.


The direction and strength of the fibers. A simple concept that can greatly affect the production and performance of a printed item.

Weight and Bulk

This is how we know what thickness, density, and sheet size we are dealing with.

The Basic Weights and Basis Sizes vary for each grade of paper. The Bulk (thickness) and the weight are related but not closely, its Old English insanity at its best. These are some of the "trade secrets" that will scare away the amateurs.