Difference Between Matte and Glossy Paper: Which Should You Choose?

When it comes to printing, there are pros and cons to using matte and glossy paper.

Depending on your goals, you’ll want to create the best product possible, and the stock you choose is vital.

In this blog post, we’ll outline everything you need to know when choosing the right material for printing — matte or glossy paper.

We’ll cover:

Matte Finish: The Pros and Cons

Matte paper is a regular-based paper covered with a thin layer of coating that helps the paper receive inkjet. Every drop of ink from the inkjet printer is received, making for an exceptional, professional finish.

Depending on the weights and ink absorption, matte paper can differ in cost. Still, it can produce excellent results for your business when done right. Let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of printing with matte paper.


The Pros

  • Matte paper is versatile. Due to the absence of a thick, shiny, coated layer, it’s compatible with inkjet and laser printers.
  • It dries quickly and resists fingerprints. Therefore, the quality remains true and the risk of accidentally smudging and ruining your print is minimal.
  • Prints produced on matte paper can be easily written on with a pen or pencil.
  • It’s inexpensive and suitable for the majority of printed projects.

The Cons

  • Due to the lack of a thick coating and protective layer, printed products on matte paper could be more prone to creasing and bending.
  • Unless you use professional matte paper (as opposed to regular), the lifespan of your products could be affected.

Glossy Finish: The Pros and Cons

Glossy finishes are popular for high-quality prints. Although it’s not the best stock for writing, the paper has a thick, shiny coating to make it stand out. Results on glossy paper look ultra-professional, too. Let’s have a look at some pros and cons.


The Pros

  • It gives your work an ultra-smooth finish, which makes it satisfying to hold. Therefore, it’s more likely that people will engage with it.
  • Glossy paper is usually the go-to when printing photos, as it looks more visually striking than matte paper.
  • It can add that professional finishing touch to your work.


The Cons

  • Glossy paper creates glare, making your prints hard to read under certain lights.
  • Glossy finishes can sometimes be tricky to write on, which isn’t ideal for products like planners.
  • Can be a less eco-friendly choice compared to other options, especially when not printed responsibly.

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The Key Differences

The main difference between matte and glossy is the contrasting finish from the final prints. A glossy finish will have an ultra-smooth, shiny appearance that makes images appear colour-rich and vibrant. 

Matte paper gives off a duller, more subtle finish. Because of this, printed content and images on a glossy finish will appear more striking.

There’s also a big contrast in feel and quality between the two. Glossy paper is often the best for high-quality prints, but matte is the far superior choice for writing on.

The Verdict

The right answer depends on the product type you’re printing. Plus, nothing stops you from using a combination of matte and glossy paper.

For example, if you’re creating a planner for students, you could use glossy stock for the covers and images and matte paper to be written on. 

By combining both, your glossy images will stand out even more. With matte paper, pen ink will dry quickly, so you don’t have to worry about smudging your work or notes. 

Beyond matte and glossy, you can consider various other options to give your print products the best finish. These include, but aren't limited to:

  • Uncoated — Has a natural and tactile feel. It lacks the shiny coating of glossy and matte finishes, making it more suitable for rustic or organic aesthetics. Uncoated stock is also favoured for its eco-friendly properties and ease of recyclability.
  • Textured — Textured finishes can include options like linen, laid or felt, adding a tactile element to printed materials. These finishes are often chosen to convey a sense of luxury.
  • Soft touch — Soft touch or velvet finishes provide a smooth, velvety texture that feels pleasant to touch. You'd want to use this finish for premium packaging or promotional materials.
  • Satin — Falling between matte and glossy, satin finishes offer a subtle sheen without the reflectivity of glossy stock. This stock is versatile and can be used in various applications.

We've put together a blog post comparing different paper types and which is best for your upcoming project. Head to the blog post by clicking below.

Take Me There


Printer's tip: Want to print more responsibly? Uncoated stock is environmentally friendly as it's the easiest to recycle along with regular paper waste. It shares a similar look and feel with matte stock but stands out due to its unparalleled results on an LED UV machine. Choosing uncoated stock not only contributes to eco-friendliness but also ensures top-notch print quality and popping colour for your print products.

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You’re probably well aware of the growing importance and demand of eco-friendly products.

Modern technology has made these kinds of items increasingly cheaper to produce and more visually appealing. They’re a great way of lowering your business’ environmental impact - but how exactly do you produce the best kind of print using these methods?

Our checklist will give you the best advice for creating an impactful sustainable print solution.