Friday, 18 October 2013


I started my research into stock by listing important points that my outcome could focus on;

  • Types of stock/Stock definition.
  • Paper & Card.
  • Environmental impact/Sustainability.


I started my research by outlining what stock is and how it relates to the design process;


The term 'stock' refers to the material that designers want their final outcome transferred onto, designers working with printed outcomes will often select paper variations for . However, other more unusual stocks can also be utilized such as acetate, cardboard, wood and plastics.


Next, I listed some stock variations that are used within the design industry to produce outcomes, some are regularly used, others are not. My audience need to have an informed understanding of stock and how it affects design outcomes is they are going to produce successful pieces of work.

  • Paper.
  • Card.
  • Cardboard.
  • Acetate.
  • Wood.
  • Plastic.
  • Fabric.

In my final outcome I will include tip-on examples of each of the above stocks, this will allow my audience to see physical examples of the vast range of stocks available to designers.


Types of paper.

  • There is a huge variety of different papers available to designers, companies that specialize in stock will often be able to send sample books that display the vast range and variations of substrates available. 
  • Some characteristics of stock include different colours, textures, smoothness, absorbency, opacity and ink holdout.

  • I want my outcome to feature a similar table so that the audience can easily navigate information relating to the types of paper and their primary uses. 
  • Antique - A high quality paper with a clay coating on both sides to create a good printing surface, primarily used to add texture to publications as the stock as a rough or matt surface.
  • Art - A high quality paper with a clay coating on both sides to create a good printing surface, the stock is primarily used for magazine style publications as it has a glossy, bright surface.
  • Artboard - Uncoated board that is primarily used as a cover stock due to its still quality.
  • Cartridge paper - A thick white paper primarily used for the pages of annual reports as it has a stiff quality feel.
  • Cast coated - A high gloss stock primarily used for magazines and brochures due to its smooth, glossy surface.
  • Chromo - A paper with a waterproof coating that allows for embossing and varnishing processes, primarily used for labels and covers.
  • Flock - Paper coated with flock to create a textured surface, primarily used for decorative covers.
  • Greyboard - Lined or unlined board made from waste paper, primarily used as a  packaging material. The stock has a rough texture, a high gsm and is grey in colour.
  • Mechanical - Paper produced from wood pulp and acidic chemicals, primarily used for newspapers and directories. The stock produces a higher brightness and smoothness than standard newsprint but is uncoated and matt.
  • Newsprint - Made from mechanically-ground wood pulp, cheapest paper available that can withstand the print process, primarily used for newspapers. The stock is absorbent and has a rough surface.
  • Plike - A rubberized stock primarily used for coveres, has a rubbery texture.
  • Uncoated woodfree -  A standard paper most commonly used in non-commercial printing as office printer paper. The stock is a white paper with a slightly rough, matt surface.

Paper quality.

  • Paper quality is defined by the GSM which is an acronym for grams per square metre. The specification is based on the weight of a square metre of the stock. Therefore, the higher the GSM value the more weighty and thick a stock will be.
  • An A0 print is equivalent to one square metre of stock, therefore GSM is based on the weight of a single sheet of A0 stock.
  • Paper that is produced on a machine will have a grain from where its fibers lined up during the manufacturing process. The grain is the direction of which the most fibers lay, the stock is easier to fold, tare or bend along its grain direction.
  • The direction of the fibers for standard office printer paper typically runs parallel to the landscape edge of the page, allowing it to pass easily through the printer.

Print quality (inks on paper).

  • Different stocks have varying absorbency levels which are the degree to which the ink penetrates its surface. 
  • Printing inks tent to dry quicker on absorbent stocks but this can cause problems relating to dot gain (when the dots of an ink bleed slightly).
  • Stocks with a glossy surface hold ink on their surface, this extends the drying time but makes for more vibrant colours.
  • Different stocks also have varying opacities, a term which relates to the extent to which the print on one side of a sheet is visible on the other. Papers with a high GSM will have no show through effect. 
  • I will include the same printed example on a high absorbent stock and gloss stock so my audience has a physical print example to review.


Environmental sustainability is a growing concern of both designers, clients, and consumers, therefore a knowledge of the subject will be useful to my target audience of designers and creatives alike. 

  • Environmental concern is becoming a growing concern for both designers, clients and consumers. There is a growing green movement with a focus on reducing our impact on the earths resources.
  • Companies have started engaging with the green movement by using more sustainable resources that are less harmful to the environment. 
  • Developments in more sustainable materials includes; chlorine-free paper, 'waterless' technology (to avoid the use of harmful chemicals) and environmentally friendly ink made from vegetable oils.

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