Paper Textures that Create Impact


There’s no denying that at the heart of paper’s allure is its tactility. The feel of a texture delights the fingertips, sets a tone and enhances a design. In fact, neuroscience has found that the power of touch is so strong that it can shape perceptions, influence purchasing and increase memory recall. (See Millward Brown Study and Sappi “Neuroscience of Touch” videos to learn more.)

There are many textures available ranging from subtle to pronounced; sophisticated to rough hewn; scratchy to rubbery soft. To make finding that perfect texture a little easier, we put together a list of uncoated finishes and paper grade names. You also may want to request a copy of Neenah’s Down & Dirty Print Guide which shows how different textures will affect your printing results.

A felt finish is applied two different ways in the paper making process. One is online while the paper is still wet resulting in a genuine felt with a soft porous appearance. The other is offline where the finish is applied with an embossing roller creating a harder and more uniform pattern. Every mill has their own look to the felt finishes. Some are tight and compact, other are loose and open and some are available with the torn deckle edge.
felts1.Mohawk Via Felt   2. Mohawk Strathmore Grandee   3. Neenah Teton w/deckled edge
More papers with Felt finish:
Mohawk Carnival Felt
Mohawk Loop Feltmark
Mohawk Strathmore Pastelle
Neenah Sundance Felt
Neenah Canaletto Grana Grossa
Neenah Coronado Cord


Reminiscent of woven fabric, the linen finish is applied on an offline embossing machine after the paper is made. This compacts the fibers into a hard surface which makes linen one of the better printing surfaces of uncoated papers. As you can see below, the choice of linens ranges from very pronounced to subtle to a loose cross hatch. Each evokes it’s own personality from classic elegance to vintage retro.

LINENS21. Mohawk Via Premium Linen   2. Neenah Classic Linen   3. Neenah Eames Canvas Finish
More papers with Linen finish:

Mohawk Via Linen
Mohawk Carnival Linen
Mohawk Loop Linen
Mohawk Strathmore Cambric
Neenah Sundance Linen

This vertical finish comes in a variety of widths and depths. The Classic Columns below is subtle to the touch and is watermarked into the paper becoming more apparent when held up to the light. The Loop Inxwell Vertical and Carnival Groove are very pronounced with the former being tight small micro-lines and the latter being much wider. These papers can be two sided which means you will see and feel the pattern more on the front than on the back. Be sure to specify to your printer which way you want the lines to run, horizontally or vertically, as it will affect how the printer lays out the job on a sheet.
1. Neenah Classic Columns   2. Mohawk Loop Inxwell Vertical   3. Mohawk Carnival Groove
More papers with lineal finish:

Mohawk Strathmore Pinstripe
Neenah Starwhite Hi-Tech

This pattern is applied to the paper by a dandy roll while the paper is still wet on the machine. The laid pattern is created horizontally (photo 1), while chain lines (photo 2) run vertically.  These chain lines run parallel to the grain direction of the paper and are a vital consideration in determining folding and imposition by the printer. Laid is a two-sided sheet so the finish is more apparent on the front than the back
laid1. Neenah Classic Laid   2. Close up of vertical chain lines in the laid finish
More papers with Laid finish:

Mohawk Via Laid
Mohawk Loop Laid
Neenah Sundance Laid

Some finishes don’t fall into specific categories and may be unique or specialty items for a mill. The Cordwain finish from Mohawk below looks like leather and the Neenah Oxford simulates the texture of a man’s oxford shirt. The Neenah Esse Textured sports a square grid pattern that starts large on the cover weights and decreases in scale incrementally on the text and writing weights. There are finishes that mimic burlap and suede; feel fuzzy soft like the surface of a peach; have the touch of fine sandpaper; feel rubbery or plastic-like; or have small dimples you can barely see but clearly feel.
SPECIALTY 21. Mohawk Carnival Cordwain   2. Neenah Oxford   3. Neenah Esse Textured
More papers with unique & specialty finishes:

French Speckletone Cordtone
Mohawk Carnival Hopsack
Mohawk Strathmore Enhance
Neenah Classic Crest Stipple
Neenah Coronado Stipple

MORE TEXTURES that are more tactile than visual:
Curious Collection Touch
Curious Collection Matter
Neenah Plike
Neenah (Fibermark) Touché
Neenah (Fibermark) SuedeTex

The great thing about texture is that there are no hard and fast rules. Experiment with combinations that compliment each other. Incorporate bold texture into a simple design. Or select something subtle that whispers in the background. Connect the viewer tacitly with the visual content. Vow to never neglect what lies beneath!

PDF of complete list: Field Paper FINISH FINDER- uncoated

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