First impressions are key to securing the business of a long term, loyal customer. Part of this first impression is not only the type of catalog and the quality of the images, but also the finish of the paper. Therefore, part of your catalog marketing strategy should include varying your paper finish. 

Whether you are going for a classic look and feel, or a more polished finish, paper options such as uncoated, matte, and gloss are worth a closer look.  Choosing the right finish is just as important as the layout and content of your catalog, as the finish quality of your catalog can attract customers to your products.

Choosing the Best Finish


While uncoated paper is not generally used for covers, it can, it can be a valuable option for the inside pages of your catalog. It is ideal for catalogs with lists of items or for catalogs with a high volume of print and reading material.

Uncoated paper allows customers to circle items with ease or make lists, as ink used on this paper does not smudge or smear like it does on a gloss finish. It allows for the use of pencils or pens to mark up the pages as needed.

Uncoated paper should be considered for a specific audience and product content due to its natural and basic feel. This may be a favorable option for discontinued items or sales.


Matte generally has a 25% coating applied to the paper and adds a feeling of thickness and sleekness to the finish. This light coating (semi-gloss or light gloss finish) offers limited glare to the paper, generating a softer sheen compared to its gloss counterpart. If you are looking for a lighter shine than gloss, matte is a favorable option.

Matte may be considered when opting for pastel or light color schemes or catalogs with a larger volume of text. Text with a matte finish is easily read under light, avoiding the glare from a gloss finish.


A gloss finish is a 50% coating applied to the paper. Gloss offers a high shine finish, introducing a sense of “pop” to images displayed on the catalog pages. While a gloss finish can appear heavier, it offers the same paper weight as matte.

Gloss is an excellent option for catalogs featuring large, multi-color images or photographs. This finish provides a sleek look and is a favorable option for high-end products or for attracting new customers to your catalog.

Still trying to decide between uncoated, matte, and gloss? Take a closer look at the target audience who will be receiving the catalog. Then take content, text, and images into consideration to find the perfect fit for your products.