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July 11, 2023

Understanding the Importance of Paper Grain Direction in Art and Printing

What is Paper Grain Direction?

Paper grain direction refers to the alignment of the fibres within a sheet of paper during paper production. It determines the direction in which the majority of the fibres align within the paper. There are two main grain directions: long grain and short grain.

On long grain paper, the fibres run parallel to the longer dimension of the paper, whereas on short grain paper, the fibres run parallel to the shorter dimension of the paper1.


Why is it important to know the grain direction?

The grain of the paper determines how the paper reacts to actions like folding, scoring and binding2. Knowing the differences will ensure you use the right kind of paper in your project.


Long Grain Vs Short Grain

When choosing between long grain and short grain paper, consider the following factors:

  1. Project Requirements: Assess the specific needs of your project. Determine if you will be folding, bending, or requiring stability in your design. This will help you identify whether long grain or short grain paper is better suited for your project.
  2. Folding and Flexibility: If your project involves multiple folds, such as in brochures or greeting cards, long grain paper is generally more suitable due to its flexibility and resistance to cracking.
  3. Stability and Rigidity: If your project requires stability, such as in posters or packaging, short grain paper provides better stiffness and resistance to warping, ensuring your design stays intact.
  4. Paper Size and Weight: Consider the size and weight of your project. Larger or heavier designs may benefit from the added stability provided by short grain paper, while smaller or lightweight projects may be more manageable with long grain paper.
  5. Printing Considerations: Consult with your printer or supplier. They can provide guidance based on their equipment and capabilities, helping you make the best choice for your specific printing requirements.

From artcard to woodfree paper, we offer a diverse selection of paper to ensure that we have options that meet your specific project needs. Chat with us to learn more!