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Make Waves with the Right Paper Finish

Gabriela Alway | Ariva | Marketing
Cougar®, available from Ariva, is used to demonstrate how paper finish can enhance the impact and tactile experience of your printed piece.

The newest edition of the Paper Trails series on paper basics from Domtar is now available! Using Cougar®, available from Ariva, to demonstrate how paper finish can enhance the impact and tactile experience of your printed piece, Domtar has once again produced an exemplary resource to showcase the capabilities of versatility of their paper and superstar brand Cougar. 

While volume 1 (Finding the Perfect Line - click here to read the blog post) focused on basis weight and opacity, volume 2 (Get the Feeling Right) hones in on paper finish – in Cougar’s case, Vellum, Smooth and Super Smooth – each characterized by a distinct tactile feel influenced by the composition of the fibers within. Understanding them better can help us become more intentional with our choices, ultimately strengthening an underlying message, perception and physical attributes behind a brand or print project.


Using a surfing theme, this piece showcases the various print finishes as well as techniques (coatings, embossing, folds, etc.) to influence and stir the right feelings. Ride the wave as you flip through and explore each finish and the role it plays in curating an experience and perception. 

The benefit of using uncoated paper is that it can produce a more natural and multi-dimensional feel as compared to its coated counterpart. Finish and basis weight can be selected in tandem to convey a specific feeling like sophistication, approachability, earthiness and more.


With its subtly rough texture, this finish can infuse your design with a sense of depth and dimension. A perfect application for this could be printed materials for a luxury brand that wishes to communicate environmental stewardship. This tactile finish not only evokes a sense of refinement and exclusivity but also resonates with a gritty, earthy aesthetic, aligning seamlessly with eco-conscious messaging.


This finish works well with multiple print techniques. It adds an element of approachability to your brand’s messaging that coated papers might struggle to achieve. Materials such as corporate brochures and educational resources could benefit from these features when reliability, a polished appearance and readability are of importance.

Super Smooth

A luxurious silky finish, consistent ink coverage and crisp vivid images provide depth and richness. It’s also perfect when combining digital and offset printing because toner based digital printing looks best on a highly uniform surface. An application could be brands in the technology industry – particularly those showcasing sleek gadgets or products with intricate designs. 

Print Techniques Featured Inside

This book feature Vellum, Smooth, and Super Smooth finishes, in 80 lb. and 100 lb. text and 80 lb. and 130 lb. cover. Some of the printing techniques featured include French folds, spot textured UV, spot UV gloss, blind emboss and fluorescent inks. 

1 - Fluorescent orange ink – the groovy shade of orange is a courtesy of two hits of orange 811 + flood aqueous coating
2 - A dazzling bird-inspired blind emboss – sea gulls were produced using blind embossing, increasing tactile elements and raising connection
3 - A sandy spot textured UV – offline screenprint of grit UV is added to the sand around the surfboard and water. This technique is gaining popularity in direct mail, specifically with airlines
4 - Spot UV gloss – high gloss UV coating in the shape of palm trees in a pattern

Enhance the impact and tactile experience of your printed piece. Click here to request your free printed copy or contact your Ariva sales representative.

Volumes exploring shade will be released later in 2024. Stay tuned to our blog and newsletters for the latest.

*Through Ariva, Cougar can be made carbon neutral upon request. Contact your Ariva sales representative to learn more or to ask about stocking availability.