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What types of paper are there?

Tipos de papel y sus características distintivas.

Paper has been fundamental in the history of mankind. From ancient scrolls, paper has evolved into a large number of different types, each manufactured to meet different needs. In this article we invite you to explore the most important types of paper that exist, so that you have a deeper knowledge about each of them and know how to choose which one is the most suitable for a particular project or situation.

Although there are more types of paper, we are going to focus on the most frequently used in different fields and describe in detail the most common characteristics and uses of each of the different types of paper:

Papel bond de múltiples colores.
Colored bond paper

Bond paper is one of the most widely used types of paper in the world, especially in office and academic environments. Its name “bond” comes from the initial process used to produce this type of paper, which involved the manufacture of individual sheets from cloth rags joined or“glued” together, giving rise to the word “bond” which means “linked” in English.

This paper is characterized by its smooth finish, durability and excellent printing quality. Thanks to these properties, it is the paper of choice for printing official documents, theses, projects and other materials that require a crisp, professional presentation. It is often found in colors such as white or ivory, although variants in other shades are available.

One of the most valuable aspects of bond paper is its ability to resist fading and deterioration over time. Due to its composition and manufacturing process, this paper has a considerably longer life than other types of paper. For this reason, it is frequently used in the production of important documents, such as certificates, diplomas and legal documents, which must stand the test of time.

It adapts to different printing technologies. Whether you are using an inkjet printer, laser printer or even a typewriter, bond paper guarantees consistent, high-quality results. This versatility also extends to its grammages, which can vary according to need, from thinner papers to thicker options, ideal for covers or business cards.

With the growing emphasis on sustainability and ecology, it is now possible to find bond paper made from recycled materials. These eco-friendly variants offer the same high quality and durability as traditional bond paper, but with less environmental impact.

El empaquetado y la protección son las principales aplicaciones del papel de estraza o kraft.

Kraft paper is one of the most robust and versatile types of paper. The word “Kraft” comes from the German word meaning “strong“, a name that adequately reflects the strength characteristics of this paper. This strength is due to its manufacturing process, which uses wood pulp treated in a strong alkaline liquid, resulting in longer and stronger fibers compared to other types of paper.

One of the best known applications of Kraft paper is in the production of bags, used both in the food industry and in general commerce. Because of its strength and ability to support weight without tearing easily, it is also the preferred choice for packaging. In addition, its texture and natural brown color, although they can vary depending on the pulp and treatment, give it a rustic and ecological look, which has made it more popular nowadays, where people are looking for environmentally friendly options.


Couché paper, also known as coated paper, is a type of high-quality paper that is very popular in the field of printing and graphic design. It is characterized by a coated surface that can be glossy or matte. This coating is often clay-based, which gives it a smooth texture and an ability to reproduce detailed images and vivid colors.

The term “couché” comes from the French “coucher“, which means “to lay down” or “to coat“, referring to the process of coating paper. The finish that results from this process not only improves print quality, but also increases the paper’s resistance to light, air and moisture, which prolongs the durability of what is printed on it.

It is the paper of choice for printing high quality products. Magazines, catalogs, brochures, business cards, and many other printed materials that seek to convey professionalism and attention to detail are usually made of coated paper. Depending on the purpose, one can choose between a glossy finish, which highlights contrast and gives depth to images, or a matte finish, which provides a more sober and elegant feel.

One of the reasons it is so popular in the printing industry is its ability to retain ink without smearing. This allows images and text to be printed sharply and accurately, without the risk of colors blending or looking dull.

It is important to mention that the manufacturing process of couche paper is more intensive and has a greater environmental impact compared to other types of paper.

Cómo elegir el mejor papel de acuarela.

Watercolor paper is a specialized type of paper specifically designed to withstand the techniques and humidity associated with watercolor painting. Watercolor, as an artistic medium, is based on the application of pigments diluted in water, and therefore requires a paper that can withstand saturation without deteriorating.

First of all, it is noticeably thicker than many other papers. This density, often measured in grams per square meter (g/m²), is essential to prevent the paper from warping or shrinking when wet. It is common to find watercolor papers ranging from 300 g/m² to 640 g/m² or even more.

The texture of watercolor paper is another distinguishing feature. There are three main types: rough, with a distinctly textured surface that allows for unique graining techniques and visual effects; fine, which has a slightly grainy texture; and hot-pressed, which is smooth and ideal for fine details and wash techniques. The choice between these textures depends largely on the artist’s preferences and the desired effect.

The manufacturing process of watercolor paper is also particular. Many of the high quality watercolor papers are made from 100% cotton, which gives them greater strength and absorbency compared to wood pulp-based papers. Cotton allows the paper to support multiple layers of paint and correction techniques, such as lifting or scraping color.

Papel japonés impreso con diseños.
Japanese patterned paper designs

Washi paper is a type of traditional Japanese paper known for its beauty, strength and versatility. The term “washi” comes from “wa,” meaning Japanese, and “shi,” meaning paper. Unlike conventional papers that are made from wood pulp, washi is produced using fibers from plants indigenous to Japan, such as kozo (morus), mitsumata and gampi.

The washi manufacturing process is largely handmade and has been passed down from generation to generation. Plant fibers are harvested, boiled with alkaline ashes, crushed and then placed in water. A screen is used to collect the fibers and form sheets of paper, which are then pressed and dried. This meticulous method results in a paper that, despite its delicate appearance, is surprisingly strong and flexible.

It has multiple applications in Japanese culture and beyond. Traditionally, it has been used in shoji (sliding doors and windows), in the creation of lanterns, in calligraphy and in various arts, such as the creation of kimonos and origami. It is also appreciated in book binding due to its strength and unique texture.

In addition to its traditional applications, this type of paper is popular in interior decoration, in the manufacture of envelopes, cards and gift wrap, and even in the creation of contemporary art. Washi tapes, in particular, have become an essential item for stationery enthusiasts, offering a stylish and reusable way to decorate and organize.

Tracing paper is a type of semi-transparent paper with a very smooth texture. It is mainly used for copying or tracing drawings in fields such as architecture, graphic design and other artistic or technical disciplines.

It is produced by saturating quality paper in acid solutions and then washing it in water. This process eliminates part of the pulp and converts the paper into an almost transparent material that is resistant to the passage of time.

One of the most outstanding features of this paper is its ability to allow light to pass through it, but still maintain a surface opaque enough to see fine details when placed over another document or drawing. This controlled transparency makes it ideal for tracing, allowing professionals and artists to copy or modify existing work with precision.

In addition, tracing paper is compatible with a variety of drawing tools, from pencils and pens to specialized inks. Despite its delicate appearance, it is quite durable and can handle repeated corrections without tearing easily. This is especially useful in architecture, where revisions and adjustments are common.

la imprenta como medio de comunicación. Avance para la impresión de prensa escrita

Newsprint, is a lightweight, inexpensive type of paper used primarily for printing newspapers, brochures and other short-lived reading materials. Its ephemeral nature and informative purpose have made it a ubiquitous material in many people’s daily lives.

This paper is produced from mechanical pulp, which is obtained by grinding wood into small fibers. Unlike other papermaking processes that seek to remove lignin (a component that can cause paper to turn yellow or degrade over time), mechanical pulp retains much of its lignin. This results in a paper that is less durable and more prone to aging, but also cheaper to produce, making it ideal for use in newspapers that typically have a shelf life of one day.

Newsprint is porous and absorbs ink well, which facilitates fast, high-volume printing. However, it is also for this reason that ink can bleed through to the other side of the paper, which sometimes reduces the legibility of the printed content.

Papel para papel reciclado de distintos tipos.

Recycled paper represents an environmentally friendly and sustainable response to the steady growth in paper consumption worldwide. With the growing need to reduce our carbon footprint, recycled paper has become an essential alternative that combines resource reuse with reduced deforestation.

The recycling process begins by collecting used paper, which can come from offices, homes, schools and other institutions. Once collected, the paper is sorted according to type and quality. It then undergoes a pulping process, in which it is mixed with water and shredded into a pulp. This mass is cleaned to remove inks, adhesives and other impurities. The resulting pulp can then be bleached, depending on the type of recycled paper to be produced.

One of the main advantages of recycled paper is the reduction in environmental impact. Producing paper from recycled pulp consumes less water and energy compared to making paper from virgin pulp. In addition, recycling paper means reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and reducing the demand for trees for the production of new paper.

But recycling paper also brings with it a number of challenges. The quality of paper can vary depending on the process and the recycled materials used. Sometimes, it may have a slightly different texture or color than paper made from virgin pulp. However, modern techniques have significantly improved the quality of recycled paper, making it difficult to differentiate from conventional paper in many cases.

What types of paper are there?

Stone paper, also called mineral paper or rock paper, is an innovative type of paper that is made from calcium carbonate, an abundant natural resource, instead of wood pulp. This carbonate, which is the main raw material, comes from limestone or marble waste, and is combined with non-toxic polymers to form a durable and environmentally friendly material.

One of the main benefits of mineral paper is its reduced environmental impact. Its manufacture does not require the felling of trees, and it uses significantly less water compared to the traditional paper production process. In addition, the process does not require chlorine or acids, thus avoiding the release of harmful chemicals into the environment.

In terms of its characteristics, stone paper offers several notable advantages over conventional paper. It is water resistant, which means that it does not decompose or deteriorate when wet. It is also more resistant to tearing, which makes it especially useful for applications that require durability, such as maps or labels. Its smooth, glossy surface makes it suitable for high-quality printing, and its resistance to grease and oil makes it an ideal choice for food packaging.

However, as with any innovation, stone paper has certain challenges. Although it is biodegradable under certain conditions, it is not as easily recyclable as traditional paper due to its mixed mineral and polymer composition.

Despite these challenges, stone paper represents a promising alternative to traditional paper in terms of sustainability and strength. As the demand for greener solutions grows worldwide, stone paper is likely to find wider applications and be adopted by more industries and consumers.

Papel de seda teñido en distintos colores.
Tissue paper is available in a wide range of colors

Tissue paper is thin, lightweight, translucent paper that, despite its delicacy, has found a wide variety of uses in different contexts.

It is made from wood pulp or textile fibers, which are processed into a very fine material. Although its name might suggest a relation to silk, it does not actually contain silk fibers.

One of the most common applications of tissue paper is in packaging. Because of its softness, it is used to wrap fragile or delicate objects, such as jewelry, glassware or clothing. Its lightweight, protective nature helps prevent scratches and damage, and its translucency gives it an attractive aesthetic, making it popular in gift stores and boutiques.

In the artistic field, tissue paper is valued for its versatility. It is used in crafts, such as the creation of flowers, pompoms or lanterns. It is also used in collage and decoupage techniques, and in projects that require translucent layers or soft color effects. In the scrapbooking world, tissue paper can add texture and dimension to pages.

The biggest drawback to this type of paper is that its thinness makes it prone to tearing easily, which requires careful handling.

Tarjetas de visita imprimidas en papel de tipo verjurado.
Business cards printed on laid paper

Laid paper is a special type of paper that is characterized by having fine, parallel marks or lines printed or embossed on its surface. These lines, known give it a distinctive texture and appearance that evokes an air of tradition and elegance.

Originating in medieval Europe, this paper was originally produced using wire molds. As the paper pulp dried on these molds, the lines of the wires left permanent impressions on the paper. Although modern techniques have evolved, the characteristic look of the marks has been maintained and is appreciated for its unique aesthetics.

This type of paper is especially valued in the world of fine stationery and is commonly used for official documents, certificates, corporate stationery and business cards. Its particular texture lends an additional degree of authenticity and formality to documents printed on it.

In addition to its appearance, laid paper is known for its superior quality. It is often stronger and more durable than many other types of paper, making it ideal for documents that are intended to be kept for a long time.

What types of paper are there?
Drawing on Japanese rice paper

Rice paper, despite its name, is not made directly from edible rice, but from plants such as mugo, rice straw, bamboo, among others. It originates from China and has been used for centuries in various Asian countries. It is characterized by its thinness, lightness and certain transparency, in addition to a soft and unique texture to the touch.

One of the best known applications of rice paper is in traditional Asian arts. It is the preferred medium for traditional Chinese and Japanese calligraphy and painting. Its absorbent surface is ideal for capturing subtle gradations of ink, allowing artists to create delicate and detailed effects.

In addition, this paper is used in crafts and decoupage projects, as it adapts easily to different surfaces. It is also the basic material for making traditional Asian lanterns, given its lightness and ability to diffuse light softly.

In gastronomy, there is an edible version of rice paper, used in dishes such as spring rolls. This type is different from that used in arts and crafts.

Papel térmico y sus características.

Thermal paper is a special paper designed to work with thermal printers. These printers do not use ink or traditional toner; instead, they generate an image by applying direct heat to the paper. The surface of the thermal paper is coated with a chemical layer that reacts to heat, darkening or changing color where the temperature is applied.

Its most common use is in point-of-sale receipts, such as those issued at cash registers or credit card terminals. It is also used in thermal fax machines, shipping labels, transport tickets and in certain medical devices, such as electrocardiograms.

One of the main advantages of thermal paper is the speed and efficiency of printing, as it does not require ink or toner. However, it also has its drawbacks, such as its sensitivity to heat and light. Receipts or thermal prints can fade over time, especially if exposed to direct sunlight or stored in warm places

El papel manila se utiliza en sobres.

Manila paper is a durable, light yellow or brown paper known for its strength and ability to withstand wear and tear. Its name comes from the Philippine capital, Manila, because it was originally made from a species of hemp called “abaca,” which is native to the Philippines. Although today it may not be made specifically from this hemp, the name has endured.

It is used in the manufacture of envelopes or folders, commonly called “manila folders”. These folders are widely used in offices, schools and other settings to classify and store documents. Their durability makes them ideal for containing important documents or for files that are handled frequently.

Tipos de papel fotográfico.

Photographic paper is a special category of paper designed specifically for printing photographs with high resolution, sharpness and a wide range of colors. The quality, texture and composition of photo paper vary, but all have the essential purpose of producing sharp, durable images.

This type of paper is distinguished primarily by its ink receptive layer. This layer is formulated to absorb ink or dye in a way that accurately reproduces the hues and details of the original image. Some photographic papers are designed for inkjet printers, while others are adapted for laser printers or traditional chemical development processes.

Different finishes are available on photographic paper. Glossy finish, which produces images with a reflective sheen, is popular for its ability to bring out colors and details. On the other hand, matte or satin finishes offer less reflection and are ideal for portraits or photographs that will be viewed in direct light. There are also textured finishes, such as pearlescent or metallic, which offer distinctive visual effects.


With a degree in Psychology and a passion for flamenco guitar and board games, my professional journey has deeply explored the intricate link between human behavior and marketing. Over the years, I've honed my ability to analyze and interpret market trends and consumer responses. At The Color Blog, I blend my psychological insights with my love for writing, providing unique perspectives on marketing, history, and the human interactions that shape our digital age.View Author posts

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