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Choosing the Right Paper for Your Journal

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

You've done it before—admit it. You've judged a book by its cover. You're not alone.

You've picked up a beautifully designed book and taken it home expecting an equally masterful read only to find that the substance between the covers didn't match their aesthetic brilliance. It's disappointing, right?

You likely decided then and there that you really want to avoid such an experience for your customers when they pick up your products. The cover of your journal is the first thing they'll see, so you need to do it well. But the most important experience they will have will be the one that happens each time they open it to document their most important thoughts.

If the experience with the pages themselves is poor, repeat customers are likely not in the cards for your brand, or at least for that product. Given that paper plays such an important role in the user experience, take the time to make sure you give them the one that's right for your journal. Here are the main types of paper used in journals along with the ways they are most useful.


Woodfree paper is most suitable for a lot of writing. Although the surface is not as smooth as some other paper options, the material absorbs color very well and can hold ink without smearing, a huge plus for your customer when it comes to writing. If your journal is meant mainly for writing, this paper is the right choice, and your customers will thank you.


Matte paper offers the smoother finish some customers look for when writing. But because the paper is coated, sometimes the ink does not stay on the page as easily as it would on woodfree paper. There is more opportunity for smearing, so it's something to keep in mind as you design and lay out your pages.


Glossy paper is similar to matte paper in that it is coated, but the finish is shiny and creates an incredibly smooth surface. This type of paper is not good for writing because it will definitely smear the ink, but it is a great material for images that you might use within the journal.


C2S means “coated 2 sides” and refers to a thick piece of card stock with a smooth finish on both sides of the paper. Again, this type of paper is not meant for writing, but it can work great for a marketing piece, such as a belly band, information card, or fact sheet. The smooth touch adds a luxurious quality to the paper, and the marketing pieces using C2S can be a great way to convey brand information that won’t otherwise fit in the journal.


If you're ready to create the perfect print product to please your customers and enhance your brand, contact us here, and let's create something great together.


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