There are many different types of papers that can be used when printing. It all depends on the type of job you want to create. A paper for a business card would be different then a brochure, which would be different from a pop up banner.
There are typically certain weights that most people use for specific jobs. For a business card people tend to like a thicker stock in order to make an impression when it is handed out. So many people in this day and age of technology will not notice an average business card, so there has to be something to make it stand out.
The paper that we use for our business card is a 14 pt gloss cover. For most people that means nothing, but it lets me know that you want a nice thick stock. A matte lamination card is becoming more popular these days. That is a mix of a nice heavy paper, with a lamination on top. This process uses 2 different substrates to make the business card thicker and give it a smooth feel. The reason people will like this is because it is a new card look that will make a new and different impression when handing out the cards.
However when it comes to brochures there are several different weights that you can use. More often then not people use a text weight paper for a brochure. The difference between a text weight and a cover weight is very simple.
Text weight means that it is a standard paper (like your printer paper), and a cover weight has more substance to it like a card stock.
The composition of a paper is made out of two different items. Pulp and gloss material. Pulp is what gives the paper its weight, and depending on where the paper is made depends on how much of each item is put into each paper. An 80lb gloss cover paper that comes from the United States will typically have more pulp in it then a paper that comes from Europe, therefore even though they would be the exact same weight technically, the one from the States would have a heavier feel. All of this is important when picking a paper.
The final thing to mention about when picking papers is the idea of staying environmentally friendly. There is a process called FSC. This describes that the paper comes from a managed forest, so with every tree that is cut down another one is planted. This is how the print industry is trying to make sure we are as environmentally friendly as possible. As well when you use an FSC paper you can put a symbol on your print job letting other people know that you are now using this paper and taking the environment into consideration.
So when picking a paper for your next print project make sure you look at the various different papers that you could use and always ask the questions you deem necessary to make sure your next print job has the exact look and feel you were hoping for.