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What is the difference between uncoated and coated paper?

Are you looking to find the perfect paper and are somewhat bamboozled by the terminology? We take a look at the differences between uncoated and coated papers so you know which is best for you.

GDS Coated Paper Samples

Above image shows GDS Matt Coated Paper samples, with typical usage for the weight of paper shown.


All paper starts its life as uncoated. Uncoated papers feel rough compared to coated papers and this is down to the fibres of the wood that goes to make the paper and how they feel to the touch. Uncoated papers are porous and soak up ink into the paper itself, which gives a warmer, somewhat softer appearance. To give you an idea of what uncoated paper is like, think of the plain copier paper and most likely this will be uncoated. Uncoated paper is cheaper to make and buy and very popular for Line Drawings, Plans, Patterns and Mapping.


Difference between uncoated and coated paperAs the name would suggest coated papers have a coating on them (usually clay), which makes the paper feel smoother and also makes it less porous. The coating is an invisible layer sitting on top of the paper. It doesn't necessarily add a sheen - you can get matt, satin and gloss coatings. This invisible layer 'grabs' the ink stopping it from absorbing into the paper.

During printing,as the ink is not absorbed into the paper, the ink sits on the surface in a crisp, defined dot. This makes the images, type and photographs look sharper and more vivid. The heavier the weight of coated paper, the heavier the amount of ink it will accept with brilliant results. So from producing High Quality Line Drawings and Plans on a 90gsm coated paper, you can also create beautiful posters, displays and presentations with the heavier weight coated papers. Images look stunning on our GDS Matt Coated 180gsm and GDS Matt Coated 230gsm papers.

Take a look at our GDS Uncoated Papers

Take a look at our GDS Coated Papers

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