The top five types of paper of all time

One editor’s (definitive) opinion on the ideal paper

Nick Porisch

More stories from Nick Porisch

The Highlight Reel
May 10, 2023

The worst paper. SUBMITTED

For the past few weeks, department stores everywhere have been celebrating the most exciting time of the year: school supply shopping season.

Bear with me, and imagine it’s a warm August evening in 2011. It’s been a big night, and you’ve just gotten a sweet new graphic t-shirt from Kohl’s that expresses your love for videogames and distaste for homework and/or your little sister.

You’re starting to get hungry, but that’s okay because after this your mom is taking you out for chicken tenders at Applebee’s or Dairy Queen. 

You’ve gotten your pens, pencils, binders and new Skechers for the year, but there’s one more stop before you get to that delicious feast. You need to get paper.

Paper is the lifeblood of all school supplies. It might be too late to help young Nick make this decision, but for anybody else who is indecisive during this school supply shopping season, here’s the definitive list of the top five papers.

5 – Graph Paper

Sorry, STEM majors.

I know you build rockets and figure out how to stop climate change or whatever, but this list was written by a creative writing major and I have no intention of leaving personal bias out of my decision making process.

Like Robin Williams basically said in “Dead Poets Society,” being a doctor sucks and writing poetry rules.

So, while graph paper is great for solving quantum equations or curing diseases, it’s not great for the stuff that’s actually fun. For example, poetry.

4 – Wide Ruled Paper

There’s two reasons to ever use wide ruled paper: you accidentally bought the wrong notebook at Wal-Mart, or you’re a baby who hasn’t grown up yet and you accidentally bought the wrong notebook at baby Wal-Mart.

Bringing a wide ruled notebook to class is like showing up to a job interview in onesie pajamas. Sure, you’re technically clothed and technically capable of taking notes, but it just screams unprofessionalism.

3 – Printer Paper

Yeah, it does the job.

2 – Craft Paper

Craft paper is very similar to printer paper, but with more pizzazz. Unlined, colorful and looseleaf — craft paper wears its individuality on its sleeve. 

As far as practicality goes, craft paper loses a few points. The lack of lines makes it less than ideal for writing, and its thickness provides it with a nice sturdy feel but also makes it fairly unwieldy.

Where it shines is in its bold idiosyncrasy. Its weight makes it better for constructing projects, and its vast variety of colors suggest endless possibilities.

Craft paper definitely deserves the second place position on this list, even if it’s mostly because of all the colors.

1 – College Ruled Paper

Here we are, the peak of all paper.

College ruled paper is everything a paper could and should be. It’s sleek, professional, perfect for writing and functional for math.

College ruled paper is at its best in a notebook, but also can be used looseleaf, especially in a binder. The thickness of the paper isn’t flimsy, but still light enough to be perfect for constructing aircraft or fortune telling devices.

Even where college ruled paper isn’t ideal, it is still extremely functional. For example, while printer or craft paper might be ideal for an artist, the lines of college ruled paper are light enough to still let an artist’s work shine on the page.

So, after literal minutes and minutes of consideration, it seems undeniably clear that college ruled paper is the definitive best paper on the market. Sorry STEM majors.

Porisch can be found at [email protected].