How to Print on Glossy Paper

by Anthony Clark

Nowadays, photographers have unlimited options to choose from when looking for the best papers for their computers’ printers. To those who print photos, brochures, flyers, or even those looking to produce superior-quality images with more vibrant colors and tack sharpness, glossy papers should be on their consideration list.

But wait, what’s glossy paper and how is it different from the traditional printing paper?

Glossy papers simply refer to special types of printing papers coated with polymers or a mixture of other materials to impart specific qualities (e.g., weight, smoothness, surface gloss, ink absorbency, etc.) to the papers.

How to Print on Glossy Paper
How to Print on Glossy Paper

Types of Glossy Printing Papers

Types Of Glossy Printing Papers
Types Of Glossy Printing Papers

Before we can embark on printing on glossy paper, let us start by understanding various glossy papers. They include the following.

1. High Gloss

These are the shiniest papers available in the market. They are meant to offer sharper images with more vibrant colors and the crispest resolutions.

Their downside is that they can be hard to view, especially when there are excess lights – due to glaring and reflection effects.

2. Semi-Gloss

These are also called satin finish, and they fall in between glossy and matte papers. The papers offer almost the same benefits as glossy papers (for example, bright colors, sharp resolutions, etc.); however, they aren’t ideal for crafting and displaying behind glasses.

3. Matte

Matte printing papers can either be coated or uncoated. Compared to glossy papers, matte has no shiny finish, and they tend to soak up ink. Consequently, they don’t reproduce vibrant colors and give less sharp images. They have an added advantage in that their images are easier to view under bright lights.

Step By Step Guide on How to Print on Glossy Paper

Step By Step Guide To Print On Glossy Paper
Step By Step Guide To Print On Glossy Paper

Now that you know what glossy papers are let us find out how you can use them to print photos, brochures, or whatever project you wish.

1. Get the Right Glossy Paper

When intending to use glossy paper for your printing needs, you should start by ensuring you have the right type of glossy paper that will work with your specific printer.

Note that printers work differently – for example, a glossy paper that will be good for your laser printer may not be suitable for an inkjet printer.

To ensure you have the right sort for your printer, read the specifications on the packaging carefully.

2. Clean the Printer Rollers

To make sure your printing tasks go successfully and with minimum effort, it’s recommendable that you begin by cleaning all the rollers on your printer.

Never attempt to proceed without proper cleaning of the rollers, or you will experience hard times trying to feed the glossy papers to the printer.

If you’ve never done this before, kindly consult with your printer’s user guide manual and learn how to clean rollers properly.

3. Feed the Glossy Paper 1 page at a Time

For a stress-free glossy paper printing experience, avoid feeding more than one page through the printer simultaneously. Such kinds of papers are typically thick, so feeding them through may be tiresome.

Also, feeding more than one piece of paper to your printer can cause them to stick together due to the static electricity they might generate. This is usually the case, particularly when the humidity is somewhat low.

For the same reason, also avoid stacking glossy papers in the printer’s papers tray – ensure you feed a single page at a time.

4. Allow Printed Glossy Paper Enough Time to Dry

Once you feed a single piece of paper on the printer and have it printed, don’t be in a hurry to remove it from the paper’s tray. Instead, allow it enough time to dry and then remove cautiously (hold the edges) from the paper’s tray before feeding another page for printing.

5. Place Printed Glossy Papers on Flat Surfaces to Dry

After your glossy paper pages are printed and taken out of the paper’s tray, place them on flat surfaces where they can dry further. Experts recommend that you do this before touching and inserting them into page protectors.

When To Use Glossy Papers for Your Printing Needs

Now that you’ve known how to print on glossy paper, it would be wise to understand the condition under which you should prefer glossy papers over traditional printing papers.

Generally, you can use glossy papers when printing things such as:

1. Photographs

According to most photographers, printing photo using glossy paper has more benefits than with ordinary papers. With the former, you get sharper images with more vibrant colors and appealing looks.

2. Promotional Materials

If you intend to print promotional materials for your business (for example, business cards, brochures, flyers, etc.), glossy paper can help to add something extra. You must, however, make sure you get the right type of paper.

Keep in mind that a glossy paper meant for printing promotional material needs to be different from printing things such as photos. In this case, photo glossy papers tend to be thick, while on glossy paper, your promotional materials are a bit lighter (this is to allow easy folding or bounding)

Advantages of Printing on Glossy Papers

Promotional Materials
Promotional Materials

Compared to other sorts of printing papers, printing on a glossy paper offers many superior benefits such as:

  • Wider color range
  • Luxurious finish
  • Brighter Images
  • More vibrant color appearance
  • Crisper, sharper resolution
  • Greater contrast – between dark and light shades

Disadvantages of Printing on Glossy Papers

Although the papers offer many benefits, as highlighted above, there are also some bothering issues that you should note when making your decision.

  • Brighter lights can affect how your printed materials appear. Such light causes glare, thereby making it hard to view or read your printed materials.
  • Glossy papers aren’t good for mounting behind glasses – their glossy finish can cause them to stick to the glass surface. Consequently, use a semi-gloss finish or matte when mounting on glass surfaces.
  • Also, glossy papers require special considerations when printing. You have to observe various things, or your prints won’t be of superior quality.
  • Finally, the printing process can be tedious, considering that you print a single page at a time.

The Bottom Line

Whether you are looking forward to printing the brightest and crispest images or creating stunning promotional pieces, nothing will outsmart glossy papers. Give them a try today, and we bet you want to use them over and over again.


About Anthony Clark

Anthony Clark always had a passion for digital drawing and printing ever since he was young. He would wander around his parents' house in Phoenix, Arizona drawing various things with his older digital tablet. Be it just a memory collection or a portrayal of anything: objects, parents, school, events, etc. He received his BA in Graphic Design at San Jose State University - the heart of Silicon Valley. Now Mr. Clark is excited to present his experience coupled with some colorful dips to help shape the future of printing.

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