The Paper Skin


You may not be familiar with Italian paper manufacturer Fedrigoni in the U.S., but rest assured they have been making fine papers for centuries. I was lucky enough early on in my career to have been introduced to their Constellation Jade papers by one of the best reps I’ve ever worked with (thank you Anita McKinley wherever you are). While not widely known in the U.S., if you are a designer or printer specializing in packaging you’ll want to get familiar with this grade offered by CTI Paper USA.

Constellation Jade is unique in that it is an embossed coated sheet with a matte coating on the back – but unlike any you have ever seen before. I hesitate to use the description “coated one side” because it hardly conveys all that this paper is. The sheet has a luminous quality due to the mica coating on the surface, it’s this coating that imparts an iridescent sheen to inks when they’re applied – flat grey ink takes on a shimmery, metallic appearance. In addition, the grade comes in a nine embossed patterns: Country, Reptile, Satin, Laser, Raster, Riccio, Silk, Wave, and Spring. If you don’t have this one in your swatchbox you really should.

This is a recent promotion designed by Geometry Global Frankfurt for Fedrigoni, The Paper Skin, showcasing Constellation Jade in a limited edition Leica X2 camera. A piece of paper merges an extraordinary packaging concept and an exceptional product into one. Sold in Fedrigoni showrooms only, the limited Edition of Leica Cameras is wrapped so intimately by fine paper, the “unboxing” reminds of a paper sample book and turns into a Fedrigoni brand experience. Finally, the paper also replaces the cameras traditional leather banderole and becomes an integral part of it and not just its packaging.




Neenah Environment – Fresh Colors, Raw Finish

Environment_Swatch_OpenIt’s hard to believe that Neenah Paper’s Environment grade has been around for 25 years, but it’s true. Long known for its sustainable offering of papers, the grade has been refreshed with a new look and some fab new papers added to the line, and we couldn’t be more excited to check it out.

After looking at the new swatchbook, designed by Jake and Pum Lefebure and the team at Design Army, it’s clear Neenah has given designers what they’ve been asking for: a fresh color palette inspired by natural, real-world surroundings. With descriptive names like Grocer Kraft, Honeycomb, Weathered and Concrete, the line includes seven new colors. Displayed in the swatch alongside the white & midtone shades, they create a simple, fresh waterfall of 30% – 100% PCW paper offerings. But wait, that’s not even the best part.
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Neenah added an amazing new tactile finish to the mix – RAW™. Described as “a unique hand and a generous loft,” we love the way it feels. It’s got a textured, earthy, natural quality to it – and the Grocer Kraft shade is available as a digital sheet as well. Finally, a go to kraft sheet for those smaller print runs. Oh and did we mention Neenah is stocking MATCHING ENVELOPES as well? They are, in 19 styles. And yes that includes catalog, booklet and – wait for it – No. 10 policy envelopes!! (Hello, we just found our correspondence envelope).
New_Environment5As if reading our mind, Neenah has thoughtfully designed this swatchbook to be a great print sample as well. The cover features the new Weathered 130#C and shows off how beautifully the sheet holds an emboss. Flipping it open, on the left side are six pages of print samples, showcasing everything from straight up four color process to silver metallic ink on the raw finish. This piece includes samples of embossing/debossing, opaque white ink on a digital application and a great die-cut and score.

Fresh Colors_Raw finishWe can think of hundreds of way to use this grade – luxury packaging, shopping bags, gift card sleeves, direct mail and the list goes on. So excited to try it, we especially want to see what that Concrete shade in the new RAW finish looks like with copper metallic ink on it. Did you know Neenah offers this really cool tool where you can upload your design and get a real, digital print proof on the actual paper stock you want to use? Such a great way to try before you buy.

Make sure to update your paper cabinet with the new Environment swatchbook, available today. We’d love to hear how you’re using the sheet, join our community and you could win a sampler featuring the new Environment papers.

French Paper Launches Vivitone

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One of our favorite paper mills is shaking things up a bit. French Paper just launched a brand new paper grade: Vivitone. They’re touting it as a new paper concept, combining the flexibility of custom paper making (which they are amazing at) with the convenience of accessing stocked papers (access to smaller quantities). But here’s the shake up, it’s only available for a limited time, like a flash sale.Each shade in the Vivitone lineup will reflect current fashion trends while drawing on the inspiration from the “Custom Color Vault.” That’s what 140+ years of paper making brings, and we think it’s Vivilicious!

Their first offering, Plum Punch, is a mix of magenta and indigo hues. Citrusy and tart, punchy and mellow – the perfect paper cocktail. Make sure to join our mailing list and get paper inspiration delivered to to your inbox.

Anthem Plus

Paper classification, especially for coated papers, can be a confusing thing for many designers. You’d think most white coated gloss papers are all the same – right? Well, not quite. Coated papers are classified by a grading system: Premium, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Years ago the system was based on brightness (the amount of light reflected off the sheet’s surface). These days although brightness is a factor, price seems to be what determines the grade a coated paper is referred to in the market. When you get into the economy grades (#3 or lower), which is what most commercial printers use for their house stock, the differences in aesthetics and print quality can be HUGE.

So what’s a designer to do when they have to manage real world budgets and clients expectations? First make sure you know what options are available to you. Keep current on your swatchbooks, order paper samples and compare sheets – especially if you are unfamiliar with a printer’s house stock. I can’t stress this one enough, you want to compare basis weights (foreign sheets tend to be limper than domestic), the “whiteness” of the sheet (most sheets have a blue, red, of neutral undertone) and surface (this is really important if you have heavy, solid ink coverage in your design). You also want to see printed samples, especially if you’re using a special technique like a varnish or metallic inks.

One option in this economy range of papers of note is Anthem Plus from Ohio based paper-maker NewPage. When we looked at their recent promotion, Anthem Plus – The New American Workhorse, we liked what we saw. The piece, designed by Froeter Design in Chicago, showcases beautiful photography featuring images of Americana. From the corn fields of the mid-west, to the lone biker on the open road, to the smiling faces of the FDNY – this piece is brimming with American pride. It also highlights how well the sheet prints. You’ll find heavy ink coverage, including solids which really show off the sheet’s smooth surface. Striking black and white images printed as quadtones show how to add interest and beauty to four color images. Balancing the amount of white space and color, see how nicely image details pop on a gloss finish.

NewPage revamped the sheet last year in response to customer demands for a more economical, bright, blue-white sheet. Coming in at a 90 bright, it technically falls in the #2 range for brightness but priced in the economy category of a #3 sheet. It’s available in Gloss, Dull and Matte finishes, ranging from 60# Text – 100# Cover, including 110# Matte reply-card (perfect for mailing). Our only complaint is that it’s not offered in a heavyweight cover, but they have Sterling Premium for that. While it doesn’t contain any PCW content, we love the fact that it’s a domestic sheet, keeping its carbon footprint low. So often papers in this category are imports, and while we all like to feel we’re being environmentally responsible by using recycled papers, what’s the point if it takes 8,000 lbs.of CO2 emissions to get the paper here?

 

The Envelope Please

Sunday night most of America will be watching as those words are said before announcing the Oscar winner. While we’ll be watching the Academy Awards along with the rest of the country to see who wins, we’ll also be paying particular attention to the details – the envelope.

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Believe it or not, up until four years ago the most coveted announcement in film making was enclosed in a plain white wove envelope, the kind you’d find at Staples.  All that changed when L.A. stationer, Marc Friedland, founder and creative director of Los Angeles-based Marc Friedland Couture Communications persuaded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science to let him design an envelope that not only visually reflects the tone of the event and looks elegant on television, but be constructed in a way that made it simple for the presenters to open. Leave it to a designer to put the emphasis on utility, with design reinforcing the product’s message.

Each envelope is handcrafted out of four different papers stocks produced in Bavaria. Friedland’s 10-member Oscar team does everything by hand, with over 100 hours of labor including 10 different processes : custom-made paper, hand-tooled die-making, laminating, hand-folding, hand-gluing, hand-wrapping, sheeting, hand-fed gold-leaf stamping, hand-fed embossing, printing and using at least 40 yards of red ribbon.

Inside the envelope, the creators note, is a heavyweight ecru card featuring deco gold foil and accented with a gold-leaf embossed Oscar statuette along with the gold engraved phrase, “And the Oscar goes to…” The winner  is printed in charcoal ink and mounted onto a matching red lacquer hand-wrapped frame. The back of the card introduces a new feature, indicating the specific award category visible to the audience and viewers, they add.

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While creating the design, Friedland said it was important to make sure the card and envelope were not trendy or subject to fashion.  He and his team  looked to the ceremony itself for inspiration. “We took our cues from old Hollywood. The colors of gold and burgundy are the statuette and the red carpet,” Friedland says. “With that in mind, we really felt that this was the most simple, but brilliant-looking, because it also has to look great on stage.”

Friedland emphasizes the importance of the printed envelopes, even as new technologies continue to transform media. “Hopefully the envelope will never become digital because it’s a keepsake,” he said. “It’s the least-tech, most-emotional keepsake I know, and it’s perhaps the most-famous envelope in the world.” We couldn’t agree more.

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Images Via Marc Friedland

A Cashmere Wrap in a Bottle

Liz Earle’s second fragrance, Botanical Essence No.15, contains fifteen botanicals carefully selected and handcrafted by highly acclaimed perfumers to create a fresh and spicy oriental scent, with 90 per cent of the contents derived from sustainable natural ingredients.

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The carton panels, depicting hand-drawn, silver-foiled illustrations of the fifteen botanicals, folds around the pack. When opened, it tells the story of this distinctive and sensual fragrance. The elegant bottle is an opaque cream color to protect the light-sensitive product.

Liz Earle described the fragrance as a “cashmere wrap in a bottle.” Paper selection can impart that sensory experience to the packaging. While a coating such as soft touch aqueous can be applied during the print process if budget is an issue, it would be nice to keep the integrity of the sustainable elements in tact and opt for a tactile paper with a luxurious feel. Our pick would be Curious Cosmic 133# Cover in Mercury Pearl.  If you have not seen or felt this paper, run to your swatchbox now and grab this book.  I dare you to stop touching it. Made in one weight with a 13.8 pt. caliper (thickness), this sheet is perfect for packaging applications – and would be stunning with that silver foil emboss.

One Intense Business Card

This card means business. Just look at it, five sheets of paper laminated together – three pink sheets sandwiched between white and black cover stock.  As if that wasn’t enough, it also features a serious blind emboss and foil stamp.

Designed by the folks at Whiskey Design in Kansas City, who came up with “Shoot Out Loud” as a reference to the intensity of storytelling. Intense? We’ll say, this card could take an eye out. When it comes to business cards, we say the thicker the better.

One Intense Business Card business card with blind emboss
Images Via Whiskey Design

 

 

 

 

Klauss Boehler Branding

Taking inspiration from the Brits, the branding for Klauss Boehler by LG2 Boutique exudes refinement. Securing itself in the market of high-end mens shirts,  the mandate was “to seduce the target clientele, the savvy aristocrat, using a brand platform that highlighted the confidence and intelligence of this aristocrat.” Well, judging by the elements shown, I say they’ve succeded.

LG2_Klauss8The color palette, while subdued, works beautifully with the pops of copper metallic on the brochure cover. And those business card sleeves – not a drop of ink on them, but the richness of the paper coupled with the emboss is stunning.
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By keeping the paper elements softer, the messaging of the brand really sings. Note the use of an uncoated sheet throughout the collateral – an excellent choice. If they opted for a coated sheet, the ink gloss would overwhelm the pieces. LG2’s paper selection allows the print to shine – but know that you cannot pull off this kind of detail on just any uncoated sheet.  Look at the detail in the weave of the fabric, for this kind of print results on uncoated paper your best bet is to go with premium text and cover sheet. It’s about the fiber formation and surface uniformity with a premium text and cover paper, you won’t get that from a printer’s house sheet of offset stock.

weave_detailWhen using heavy ink coverage, look for an uncoated paper with a harder surface.  A smooth or super smooth finish will still give you that luxurious hand, yet allow for nice ink uniformity. The place to add texture and dimension is on the cover. That copper metallic on the cover is gorgeous as is the emboss on the business card sleeve.

LG2_Klauss2Did I mention the button and string closure on the cover of the brochure? Talk about bindery techniques – I can’t think of a more fitting detail for such a piece. Make sure to sign up to see the best in paper, print and design because who doesn’t love experiencing gorgeous print samples?
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LG2_Klauss6Images Via LG2 Boutique

The Look of Laid

We’re not sure why, but laid finish papers get a bad rap.  Perhaps its because they were thought of as “resume paper” and became the paper of choice for the quick printer. Whatever the reason they were frowned upon, this stunning identity by FODA studio is proof positive that laid papers are anything but common and remain a classic option in any designer’s swatchbox.

Featuring metallic copper ink on blue laid cover stock, the paper selection is befitting this identity of a venerable 35 year old brand.  The laid finish has grids of parallel lines that simulate the pattern created by the screens used in handmade papermaking. Through the use of a dandy roll, the fibers are positioned via a watermark and the dandy roll imparts the laid surface to the paper – giving it the look and feel of a handmade paper.

We love how elegant and refined the brand feels, yet the print production is fairly simple. While only printing one ink color they let the color of the paper really work for them, as is evidenced in the glen plaid design on the note card. Additionally the stock was used for business cards, maxing out the cut from the folio sheet. Since the grid pattern of the laid finish can impact your finished design, be sure to consult your swatchbook for the proper grain direction.

Our paper pick for replicating this look: Classic Laid Patriot Blue in 80 or 100 cover weight. For print inspiration like this delivered to your doorstep, subscribe to The Parcel.

Images via FODA studio.

Act Now! A Peek Inside

We finally dug into the new direct mail promotion from Sappi and is does not disappoint. If you don’t already know, Sappi makes coated papers and is probably best known for their McCoy brand. All we can say is this is one piece you don’t want to miss. It’s chock full of good marketing info, making it a cinch to sell client’s on why they should use direct mail. Did you know that among 18-34 year olds, mail is the preferred means of receiving communications from their favorite brands?

Act-Now-2-720Designed by VSA Partners in Chicago it’s printed entirely on Opus, which BTW is a very affordable option if your client’s on a budget. Within the mailer, there are previously printed campaign materials designed by VSA that serve as direct mail case studies—publications for Facebook, D’Addario and Chicago’s local The Butcher & Larder. If you’re a foodie, you will want the piece for The Butcher & Larder poster alone! This piece is a great road map on what to think about when creating a direct mail campaign – maybe if Bank of America had a copy they wouldn’t have such a disaster on their hands now.

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Be sure to join our mailing list for the latest on what’s happening in paper, print and design. In the meantime, here’s a peek what’s inside Act Now.
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