Heavier Weight Paper Is a Better Communicator

by | Oct 13, 2023

Are you creating a brochure? Postcard? Sales letter? When you use heavier-weight paper, it gets more attention. That attention translates into a more positive perception of your brand and, according to a study from SAPPI North America, increases the likelihood that your information will be shared with friends.

The study, conducted by the Eagleman Lab, was run by Dr. David Eagleman, a 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 results? When respondents read a marketing message on high-quality paper, they:

  • Understood the content better.
  • Were more likely to remember the content.
  • Had better impressions of the brands they read about.
  • Were more likely to recommend those brands to friends.

The study found that those results held over time, as well. 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, which analyzes environmental and social issues related to paper and digital communication. “But paper [heavier weight paper, in particular] directs attention and working memory much differently, with a resulting increase in understanding and retention.”

Heavier-weight papers will cost more, of course, but for the right projects, the message will be better anchored in recipients’ brains and more likely to be shared with others. This will make your marketing dollars go even further.

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