Does the Weight of Your Paper Matter? You Bet!

Did you know that the weight of the paper you use in your print marketing can impact how well your audience engages with your message? That heavier weight paper creates a more positive image of your brand and increases the likelihood that your information will be shared with friends?

These findings come from a study funded by SAPPI North America and conducted by the Eagleman Lab, run by Dr. David Eagleman, well-known neuroscientist and director of the Baylor College of Medicine's Laboratory for Perception and Action (as well as best-selling author and creator of PBS' series, “The Brain”).

In the study, participants read a brochure for fictitious companies on three different media: high-quality coated paper, lower-grade uncoated paper, and online. The design was similar for all three media, and the brochure for each company was randomly assigned a medium.

The study found that four things occurred when participants read on high-quality paper:

  • They understood the content best by significant margins.
  • They remembered the content best by significant margins.
  • They had the best impressions of the brands they read about.
  • They were more likely to recommend those brands to friends.

Even one week later, participants still preferred the companies they read about on high-quality paper, with name recall for those brands highest by a factor of 3:1.

“Online reading is often purposeful and utilitarian, a kind of information foraging for a clear goal," said Dr. Eagleman in a statement to Two Sides NA, an organization which analyzes environmental and social issues related to paper and digital communication. "But paper directs attention and working memory much differently, with a resulting increase in understanding and retention. Even digital natives are more likely to remember something longer when they read it on paper."[1]

Not just paper, apparently, more so heavier weight papers. These papers will cost more, of course, but for the right projects, especially those for which you have made significant investments in targeting and personalization, the message will be better anchored in recipients’ brains, and recipients will be more likely to spread the message to others than when reading on lighter weight papers. This will make your marketing dollars go even further.

Is heavier weight paper right for your next project? Let’s talk!


[1]https://twosidesna.org/US/studies-show-consumers-embrace-information-on-paper-with-greater-effect-than-digital/