The paper type you choose for your comic book or graphic novel impacts the look of the finished product. Typical paper options for print are matte, glossy, and uncoated. These paper types come in different weights to produce varying levels of crispness and vivid color.
If you are deciding between matte and glossy paper for your comic book or graphic novel, it is helpful to understand the characteristics of each type of paper. Consider which comic book elements best suit matte and glossy paper to see which option is right for your print project.
What is Matte Paper?
In printing, matte paper refers to paper that promotes a subdued, flat aesthetic. To create matte paper, uncoated paper is covered in a thin layer of clay and polymer substances that fill in tiny holes and ridges in the paper. This makes for a perfect surface on which to lay the ink during printing.
Matte paper offers a soft, smooth visual experience because of the way it reflects light. Although the coating on matte paper smooths the rough, uncoated surface, it is thin enough that some of the bumpiness remains. When you view an image printed on matte paper, the microscopically bumpy page reflects light in varying directions, giving it a less bold appearance.
In comic book printing, matte is best used for pages that hold a lot of text rather than imagery. The flat look of the paper creates a softer experience for your eyes as you read, rather than a sharp contrast that can tire your vision. Matte paper is also ideal for black and white comics. This is why you often see manga and graphic novels printed on matte paper.
What is Glossy Paper?
Glossy paper is created by coating plain paper in the same chemical coating as matte paper. The difference is that paper with a gloss finish contains a thicker coating that feels smoother. Manufacturers also put glossy paper through heated rollers that flatten and polish the product, creating an extra smooth, shiny surface for printed ink.
Light reflects directly back to the source when you view images on a glossy page, creating a vibrant, colorful aesthetic. This sometimes results in a shiny glare, so it is best viewed away from direct light sources. The glossy paper offers readers a super smooth visual experience that makes images on the page pop.
For comic book printing, glossy paper works well for pages that contain color-heavy imagery. Whether you use digital or offset printing, the glossy paper provides a polished surface to lay your images. Glossy paper offers high-contrast visuals and rich color saturation, which is ideal for comic book covers and projects with highly detailed, brightly colored illustrations.
Pros of Printing on Matte Paper
Choosing matte paper for printing your comic book provides you with several benefits. These include:
- Soft, muted appearance
- No harsh glare
- Durable paper quality
- Resistance to smearing and fingerprints
- Natural feel
Pros of Printing on Glossy Paper
Printing your comic book interior or cover on glossy paper stock offers many perks such as:
- Rich color saturation
- Bright, vivid surface
- Bold, stunning imagery
- Professional appearance
- Smooth, polished feel
- UV protective coating on some glossy papers
Matte vs. Glossy: Which is Better for Color Comic Printing?
When deciding between paper with a glossy or matte finish, different papers work best for various parts of your comic book. Comix Well Spring’s professional comic book printing services offer you the option of glossy or matte paper for both the cover and the interior.
To make the best choice, think about the characteristics of matte and glossy paper and how they boost the appearance and durability of your interior pages and cover. Also, consider your desired results versus your budget.
For your interior pages, choose a paper type that supports the contents of your project. If your comic contains black and white drawings or text-heavy pages, you might go with a standard 60# matte.
Matte paper provides less of a contrast between the paper and the text, giving readers a less tiring experience for their eyes. Also, unlike rough copy paper, 60# matte paper is affordable and durable. Bump it up to a heavier paper weight, like 70# matte, for a slightly thicker, more durable option.
If your interior pages rely on detailed, colorful drawings to tell the story, an 80# glossy paper might be the better option. 80# glossy paper is a bit more expensive, but printing companies commonly use it to create a more professional look in color printing. Glossy paper is the standard for full-color comic books because it helps your illustrations pop and provides a wonderfully immersive experience for your audience.
Choosing the paper type for your book cover is an important decision. Your cover entices readers to dive into your comic book or graphic novel, so its visuals need to pop off the shelf. Your book cover also suffers the most damage from wear and tear. Not only does it need to withstand rough handling, but it should contain some protection from natural elements like UV sun rays.
While high-quality matte paper works well for saddle stitch self-covers and sketch covers, glossy paper is the more common choice for perfect bound books. Comix Well Spring provides 12 pt. High gloss UV coated paper for square bound covers. This option ensures your book cover is protected from UV rays that can fade your project’s appearance. It also gives it extra durability when being handled by readers.
Consider your budget when choosing between a gloss or matte paper aesthetic. The number of sheets of paper in your comic book or graphic novel is a significant factor in determining the cost of matte versus glossy paper. Longer works, such as graphic novels and manga, are less expensive when printed on matte paper. If budget is a concern, opt for matte paper for longer projects and a vibrant, glossy cover.
Choose Comix Well Spring for Your Comic Printing Needs
Comix Well Spring is proud to offer professional comic book printing services for your self-publishing needs. Our staple bound and perfect bound printing options allow you to choose from several matte and glossy paper weights to get the perfect feel and appearance for your finished project.
Use our simple online ordering system to choose your paper preference and contact us if you have any questions about paper quality and the best option for your work.