Generally speaking, the paper in a print job accounts for about 50% of the total cost (some formats like magalogs are closer to 60%). So if you want to cut your print costs, a good place to look first is the kind of paper you use.
Designers who produce the artwork will often influence the choice of paper, and their recommendation is a good starting point. However, you need to keep in mind that they are often more in tune with aesthetics than costs. So, you need to weigh the look and feel of your printed piece versus how the cost of the paper will affect your advertising budget.
Here’s an example. Let’s say your designer suggests you use a grade 1 (brightness factor), 80# matte coated paper stock for a brochure that is to be placed in a direct mail package. After reviewing samples from your printer you think, “Yes. That paper works great.” Then you review the quote and decide you need to look for alternatives.
For direct mail, generally speaking, a grade 3, 60# paper works just fine. Even lighter weights, like a 50# paper, work very well. So why pay the extra cost for a heavier, brighter sheet? If you’re a large-volume mailer, this is a very important question. If you mail small quantities it won’t be that big a deal.
For more on how to reduce your print costs in regards to changing paper specs, click on the link for the article below.