B is for Basis Weight

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Welcome to our #OKalphabetseries where we will be visiting paper and printing terms daily. Come back each day as we weave our way through the alphabet and share our 110 years of knowledge with you.


Paper is commonly identified using basis weight - 24 Writing or a 80 Text, 100 Cover. Weighing 500 sheets (a ream) of any grade of paper in its standard basic size will determine its basis weight. To put it simply, 500 sheets of 17 x 22 (the basic size for a writing grade paper) of 24 lb. writing paper will weigh 24 pounds. Each type of paper has a standard basic size determined from over a century of manufacturing these different type of sheets. As printing presses and machinery changes, these basic paper sizes do not.

  • Text, Book and Offset paper’s standard basic size is 25 x 38
  • Writing, Bond and Ledger paper’s standard basic size is 17 x 22
  • Cover paper’s standard basic size is 26 x 20
  • Newsprint, Tag, Tissue and Board’s standard basic size is 24 x 36

The basis weight of a paper strongly influences the strength properties and paper traits such as thickness, opacity and runnability.

A is for Against the Grain

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Welcome to our #OKalphabetseries where we will be visiting paper and printing terms daily. Come back each day as we weave our way through the alphabet and share our 110 years of knowledge with you.

When paper is made, it is manufactured on a papermaking machine in rolls. These rolls are then sliced and cut to create the sheets you utilize to print. These rolls have a direction to them of how the paper’s fibers align as the roll is made creating grain direction. This direction is generated during the paper formation. As the paper moves along the papermaking machine, the fibers align themselves in a direction that is parallel to the forward direction of the machine. When the paper is cut into sheets from the roll, it will either be grain-long or grain-short. Grain long tells you the grain direction is parallel to the longer sheet dimension. Grain-short tells you the grain direction is parallel to the shorter dimension of the sheet. The grain is generally identified a couple of ways in swatchbooks, price books and stock guides with a bolded or underlined number and is usually the second dimension listed in the sheet size. This is why you may see, for example, a sheet listed as 23 x 35 or 35 x 23. This bolding, underlining or dimension position lets you know that the grain of the paper runs with that specific dimension. Grain becomes important to your print project when it is folded. Folding with, not against, the grain is recommended and optimal. Folds placed parallel to the grain are less prone to cracking than folds that go against the grain. For the highest quality fold, scoring is recommended. Grain is also a consideration in offset printing for dimensional stability. Dimensional stability is how well a sheet of paper retains and holds it original length and width once it is exposed to moisture. When paper fibers absorb water, they expand in width but not length. Grain-long is generally preferred to grain-short in multiple color jobs that need to align and register properly. When pages are bound into catalogs, the grain should be parallel with the binding edge to ensure they lay flat and turn easily. Always keep in mind, you don’t want to go against the grain.

AveryPRO™ for HP Indigo

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Introducing AveryPRO™, a new line of professional print solutions for HP Indigo digital printers. The initial line includes professional-grade, pre die-cut and full-sheet label stock, free Press Align™ design templates, and customizable marketing materials to help printers drive sales, gain market share and increase customer loyalty.
The three-star RIT certified, pressure-sensitive substrates are perfect for short-run, print-on-demand requirements, offering consistent pre die-cuts and long-lasting adhesives, along with the flexibility to easily cut down sheets to 8-1/2” x 11”.  The pre die-cut sheets are available in multiples sizes of rectangles, circles and ovals and offer exclusive Avery® proprietary features and materials printers and their customers will love, like Easy Peel® and TrueBlock® technology. Easy Peel lets customers lift and apply labels quickly and easily without damage, while TrueBlock allow users to cover up old labels and mistakes or reuse boxes.

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Building on the strong heritage of Avery templates, the free Press-Align design templates deliver seamless integration with your existing imposition software. The templates were created to accurately align with AveryPRO products, saving you valuable prepress time and costs associated with alignment issues, error-related fixes and reprints. You can automatically generate a 1-up template for a selected product, and with one click you can impose the design to a full-sheet panel with the most precise layout possible. With the AveryPRO Adobe® Extension you can get instant access to the entire catalog of AveryPRO templates, or you can download individual templates for at avery.com/averypro.
With the versatile suite of customizable marketing tools you can reach more local customers and supplement existing print jobs. The free, easy-to-personalize materials feature inspirational images and messaging targeted at specific industries. You can customize the templates with your company logo, graphics and business information to create quick leave-behinds for customers, or easily covert them for use in email marketing.
Avery is continuing to collaborate with professional printers to provide tools that can help further the growth of the industry. Look for more additions to the AveryPRO line in the near future.

Ask your Olmsted-Kirk representative for an introduction to the collection of products or visit AveryPRO.

Monadnock's Single Image Series Begins



Monadnock’s “Single Image” is a promotional journal printed on the beautifully crafted paper surface of Astrolite. This is the first edition offering case studies of effective, highly-crafted and targeted print communications by several corporations. It offers insights from David Van de Water of Artifact and Leslie Smolan of Carbone Smolan. As social media and online marketing continue to fill the inboxes and browsers of consumers, companies are recognizing that print communications have never been more valuable. The stunning photography and information in “Single Image” showcases the best practices of print design on a premier sheet of paper.
If that’s not enough, we’d also like to introduce you to their brand new, updated Monadnock swatchbook showcasing all of Monadnock’s premium fine printing papers - Astrolite, Dulcet and Caress.
Did you know that Monadnock Paper Mill is the oldest continuously-operating paper mill in North America? Olmsted-Kirk is pleased partner with them and distribute their papers. Together we are promoting the practice of meaningful print design. We both believe in the tactile appeal and enduring reader engagement of printed materials. We’re are sharing that knowledge with this “Single Image” print series and online at designprintimpact.org. Visit the site to read up on best print practices, conversations with experts in the field and so much more. You can find enlightening interviews like this one with our own, Judy Schulz.
Contact your Olmsted-Kirk paper representative to get a copy of this promotion and the new swatchbook. And join the DPI project to promote print design here.

Happy Earth Day


It’s Earth Day. Let’s talk about environmentally-friendly papers. What’s best? What things should you take into consideration when choosing a sheet for your print project and client?

Post Consumer Waste (PCW)
The percentage you see in front of the PCW mark on swatchbooks will tell you how much recycled pulp is contained in a paper. Pick the highest content that is best for your job. We say that because it’s easy to find a 100% PCW sheet in text and cover papers.  But finding that kind of PCW content in a coated sheet is super challenging for many reasons. For one, if you want the coated to be smooth and without blemish, it’s really hard for a coated sheet to go over 10-30% PCW to keep the surface finish pristine for ink adhesion. Also, cracking on the fold can become an issue with coated sheets that have PCW percentages that extend past 30%.  All these things that are issues with coated sheets enhance the stiffness and beauty of the uncoated sheets with high PCW contents.

Alternative Fiber
Sometimes you’ll want to pull trees completely out of the equation for a printed project. We offer sheets that are made completely tree-free from bamboo, hemp, sugarcane (bagasse), linen and cotton. Although some of these sheets are visibly very clean, sometimes small particles can be seen and are to be expected. We offer some of these alternative fiber sheets in-stock and others we procure for you by special order.

Paper Origin
Where is your paper coming from? If you choose a paper that is manufactured far away in another country, you cancel out all the green aspects of the sheet you’ve chosen by getting it transported from another country. You may want to think about buying American.

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash to a landfill. It may be important that the paper you pick be recyclable or biodegradable. We can help you make this important choice. Most papers are. Benefits of recycling include reducing landfill space, conserving natural resources, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

FSC Certification
FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is a third party certification system that insures that the paper and pulp are procured from well-managed forests. Although, not an issue in North America, in places like China, it is. Let’s face it, sometimes your buying decision is based on price. Many low cost sheets, especially coated ones are imported from these areas. Make sure they are FSC certified or pay a bit more for an American manufactured, FSC sheet.

Get in touch with your O-K representative with any more green questions. Happy Earth Day!