How to Choose Paper Finish

Don’t Race Through the Finish: Take Time to Learn How to Choose the Right Paper Finish

The “finish” of paper is how the paper industry refers to the texture of the paper’s surface. Click through the following links to learn more:


Wove Paper
Paper with a wove, or smooth finish is one that has no specially manufactured texture. Often, a paper with a smooth surface does not carry a finish designation. If there is no finish called out on the package, you can assume it has a wove finish.

That being said, there are many variations of smooth depending on the degree of pressure applied in the “calendaring” phase of the paper-making process. For instance, a laser paper is smooth, but it is much smoother than a paper that is manufactured for use as stationery. The percentage of cotton fiber included in the paper will also be a factor in how “smooth” a wove sheet of paper feels.

The addition of pure cotton linters to Southworth’s 25% Cotton Business Paper provides it with a rich texture that gives it a more substantial feel and crispness… just like a new dollar bill.

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Linen Paper

Linen paper looks and feels like the fine linen fabric for which it is named. It has a subtle embossed texture with a crosshatch pattern that is reminiscent of a fine linen table cloth. Paper with a linen finish is often used for personal stationery, business letterhead, or fine restaurant menus … anytime a classic, elegant look is desired.

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Laid Paper

Laid is another type of finish that emulates the look of fine hand-crafted paper from the early days. Its texture is made up of horizontal and vertical ribs known as “chain lines.” It is created using a dandy roll (wire cylinder) to impress the pattern into the paper along with the watermark at the wet end of the manufacturing process.

Southworth makes two varieties of Laid finish papers: Antique Laid and Private Stock®.

Both are ideal for letterheads, reports and presentations where a distinctive look and rich, crisp feel, characteristic of all Southworth cotton fiber papers, is important. The difference between the two is discerned by the width of the space between the rib lines.

You may wonder why Southworth carries two options?  It’s because our customers demand it. It all boils down to personal choice.

What’s your preference?

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Granite Paper

Granite is not technically a finish since it  has no obvious texture. But the specs of fiber in Southworth Granite Specialty Paper give it the dimension and strength of polished granite with a smooth and elegant feel. Our 25% Cotton Granite Paper is perfect for presentations, correspondence, letterheads and awards with a unique flair, in a choice of contemporary colors with 50% post consumer fiber.

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Parchment Paper

Back around 1500 B.C. parchment paper was made from animal skins. Read about the process. Thankfully, today’s Parchment paper is crafted only to mimic the mottled appearance of the original. Southworth Parchment Specialty Paper reproduces the old-world look in a wide variety of marble-like colors. Some of the most common uses for parchment paper are certificates and menus, but Southworth’s Parchment Specialty Paper is equally appropriate for business documents, newsletters, and stationery.

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Laser Paper

Laser Paper is manufactured with a highly calendered super smooth finish. This paper’s uniform fiber formation provides greater toner adhesion for superior image reproduction and exceptional performance in all laser printers and copiers. Southworth 25% Cotton Laser Paper features high opacity for two-sided, extra-sharp printing. Like all Southworth papers they are acid-free and lignin-free, which means they won’t yellow over time.

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