I love summer. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of being a kid, the days were long and filled with possibilities. By 8:00 am my sister and I were up and headed out the door, we’d round up our friends and off we’d go to explore, play, create – live . We didn’t worry about what to wear or if we’d look like dorks doing something, we just had fun. As adults we sometimes forget what it’s like to live each day with this sense of curiosity and adventure. The new print promotion by Domtar, LIVE on Cougar, reminds us to do just that – LIVE.
Did you know people who rely solely on touch and no images feel a stronger connection to a product? It’s true, it’s been proven in a recent study on haptics (sense of touch). As someone who loves paper I wasn’t surprised to hear this, but it did offer an explanation as to why I gravitate towards papers with a tactile finish and nice heft to them. Show me a print sample featuring a blind emboss and there’s a good chance you’ll never see it again. Needless to say, I was a little woozy when I saw the new promotion about haptic design from Neenah Paper called feel think do.
I’m not not sure exactly when it happened but at some point during my career I fell head over heels for letterpress. Really, what’s not to love? From a light-weight kiss (slight impression) to an impressive bite (heavy indentation), letterpress imparts a tactile, hand-crafted feel that’s second to none. Which is probably why everyone from blushing brides to tech startup founders are swooning over the time honored print technique. To insure beautiful results, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right paper – for many letterpress designers and craftsmen that means using a high cotton content sheet. One such grade recently added to the swatchbox is Strathmore Pure Cotton Letterpress Papers from our friends at Mohawk.
Since its beginnings in 1892 the Strathmore name has been associated with innovative cotton fiber papermaking. Its symbol is the thistle, taken by Strathmore’s founder Horace Moses, from the native flora found in Scotland’s Strathmore Valley. Strathmore Pure Cotton Letterpress papers have been designed to emulate the look and feel of handmade papers, with a luxurious surface that allows for a beautiful contrast between the sheet and the printed impression. Available in four colors: Ultimate White, Soft White, Smoke Gray and Chino – all have been carefully selected to meet the creative needs of traditional social stationers and new letterpress printers. Strathmore Pure Cotton Letterpress is available in two calipers: 18 pt for digital printing and 20 pt for letterpress printing. And there’s matching 80# Text envelopes available in square or Euro flaps!
The sheet is pure cotton in its makeup, which allows it to be bulky yet still feel soft. It’s this softness from the cotton that allows for a nice impression of the letterpress image. The bulkier 20 pt. weight allows for a heavy bite with little to no show through on the back, which is great for fans of overbite. And with that matching Euro Flap envelope, visions of letterpress lovelies already dance in our heads. Stay up to date on all the latest in paper (letterpress or otherwise), and join our community. And if you missed it, here’s a recent post on designing for letterpress in case you need a few pointers.
With the National Stationery Show happening in NYC this week, letterpress lovelies are all we can think of. If you’re like us you’re thinking of how you can use it on your next project. We thought we’d share these tips for designing for letterpress from Boxcar Press.
- Letterpress has come a long way, with more advances means greater flexibility, this includes line widths. To insure a quality impression, use lines of at least .25 pt. and when in doubt avoid hairlines.
- Letterpress is different from offset in that you may get some show through in areas of solid coverage, creating a textured appearance.
- Steer clear of screens and opt for a lighter color instead, you will achieve the look you want with much better results.
- Color costs – letterpress printing traditionally uses up tp two colors but can go up to four, however keep in mind more colors will be more expensive.
- Crop marks are essential to producing successful results – make sure to include them during the design process as designs created up to the trim line tend to yield an awkward cut.
- Letterpress printing presses can die cut and score paper even on heavier basis weights, we say the thicker the better.
- Letterpress is ideal for printing type but you’ll want to target a font size of 6 pt. or higher to insure the best results.
For more info on letterpress design check out the blog at Boxcar press, they’ve got a ton of great info there. You may also want to checkout Letterpress Commons full of great resources when it comes to letterpress printing. We also adore the Beauty of Letterpress showing some of the best work being done in the industry today – plus they’re helping the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in their efforts to relocate and salvage a piece of letterpress history.
Do you love letterpress? Join our mailing list and you could win a set of gorgeous letterpress coasters!
As a paper spec rep I worked with all types of creatives from art directors and production managers in big agencies, to designers in small to mid size studios, to students and freelancers venturing out on their own. A spec rep has one objective, to make sure their company gets the paper spec resulting in an order from the printer. It sounds easy enough but it’s not – especially if you’re the spec rep trying to justify the cost of your role within the company.
One reason is a lack of communication. Many spec reps never explain to their customer how the process works. They assume the designer knows to tell the printer to buy the paper from them. So when this doesn’t happen, eventually the rep stops calling on the designer. I have to say, I never experienced this. I figured if I was working with the designer on the job, supplying samples or securing special pricing, I should be clear about asking the designer to specify me on the print job. Most customers appreciate knowing this info up front – plus it usually opens the door for an honest conversation about the type of work they do and who they print with.
Have you found yourself turning your client’s emergency into your emergency? You know the one, you get a frantic call pleading for last minute help with some forgotten event detail. Mohawk, the maker of grades like Superfine and Via, has thought of a brilliant solution to combat those client emergencies with their Mohawk Dimensional Products.
The Mohawk Dimensional portfolio includes pre-perfed and pre-scored packaging, promotional, photo and presentation products available in some of your favorite papers. What makes them so unique, in our opinion, is the micro perf – this totally eliminates the need for creating a custom die. We’ve used them before and can tell you they’re pretty easy to use and assembly requires nothing more than craft glue and a pair of hands (or a few depending on your quantity).
We love these products, especially the boxes. There’s a wine box, a square cube, a pillow pouch even a golf ball sleeve. But the products don’t stop at boxes, there’s doorhangers, greeting cards, table tents, pocket folders, flip tags, name badges, parking passes, plant tags, wobblers, wrist bands and luggage tags. Mohawk has done a great job of making design for these products a cinch by having the templates available on their site for downloading.
Available in Mohawk Superfine Eggshell i-Tone, Mohawk Via Linen i-Tone, Mohawk Color Copy Ultra Gloss and Mohawk Synthetics, this product offering is made for bespoke custom packaging – we can think of a ton ways to use these for weddings, product launches, company outings, trade shows, etc.
Oh and bonus – these sheets are in digital sizes, and available for purchase directly on Mohawk’s site in quantities as low as 50 sheets! With all these options, it’s easy to see why Mohawk asks us “What will you make today?” For more tips on averting client emergencies, join our community – it’s free!
I recently asked my fellow LinkedIn group members what’s the first thing you do when you receive a print sample. There were two responses that came up repeatedly. One, there should be a support group for ink on paper sniffers; and two, print is a highly sensory experience. My experience with Sappi’s promotion, Print &, is proof positive on the subject.
This should come as no surprise to fans of print, but there’s scientific proof explaining why print has such an emotional influence on us. According to a study by Millward Brown, paper based marketing makes a greater impression on the brain than digital. They used MRI’s to test the same image used on screen and printed on paper and the test showed tangible materials leave a deeper footprint in the brain. We process print as being more “real” – it has a place and reference in our memory. The brain associates the tactile experience with its perception of the content, how’s that for subliminal messaging. If you haven’t seen it yet, the print promotion, Print &, by Sappi is proof positive on the subject.
Designed by Studio Hinrichs and printed entirely on McCoy Silk, this piece put me in sensory overload. I found myself doing exactly what others in the discussion had stated. First I ran my hand across the luxurious cover, noticing the smooth hand of the paper and then feeling the spot gloss UV on the image. As I opened the cover, I give the sheet a good flick with my thumb and listen for a snap. It’s my little test of a quality cover stock, at 130# this sheet holds up. As you may noticed by now, I am all about the tactile experience when it comes to print samples.
Inside, I am drawn to the soft touch coating on the interior cover. I page through the piece and am struck by the gorgeous combination of photography, illustration and typography Studio Kinrichs is known for. I notice the balance between the positive and negative spaces. Stopping on a spread that calls readers to interact, I pay attention to the solid black area to see if it passes the “orange peel” test. I scour it looking for the tiniest imperfection in coverage (non-glare coated papers are very unforgiving when it comes to large areas of solids like black or metallics). Of course there’s none – this is McCoy we’re talking about.
As I continue to flip through the piece, I cannot believe I am going to admit this next part, I pull the sample close to my face and take in a good whiff. I’m shameless in my approach. I don’t even check to see if anyone’s looking, I close my eyes and inhale. Before you judge, know that almost everyone who responded to this thread admitted to doing the same thing, along with some other behaviors that could be cause for another study.
Now that I’m over my initial sensory experience, I dig into the content. And man, does this piece deliver. Full of interesting tidbits like “consumers that can afford to access information in any medium state a preference for print.” This translates to over 460 publications alone targeting the wealthy, a 400% increase since 1997. “Print improves brand perceptions and customer engagement,” and “Among 18 to 24 year olds, 69% say they prefer print and paper communications to reading off a screen.” All of this proving how print & other mediums drive greater success using a smart push-pull marketing approach.
This piece would win a place in my keeper file for the design alone, but the fact that it’s coupled with amazing print techniques throughout, stunning photography and illustrations all backed by powerful content makes it one for The Parcel as well. This is what I call paper inspiration. To learn more, sign up to join our community and get inspiration delivered to your inbox.
Arjowiggins Creative Papers have developed a limited edition book, About + Samples better known as “A+S61.” Designed by stereochromie in Paris, the piece is meant to serve as a working tool and a beautiful object. The promotion was designed for “art directors and those brands wishing to communicate in a way that is arresting and distinctive.” The ‘A’ tells the story of Arjowiggins papers and their intimate secrets. The ‘S61’ presents a selection of Arjowiggins 61 most coveted papers.
The two grades selected for the book covers are Curious Matter and Conqueror. The box encasing the books is produced on Keaykolour 100% recycled Camel. The packaging the promotion comes in is on Keaykolour 100% recycled Graphite. Deciding to highlight the paper itself, the design is understated and the debossed text appears like a shadow on the cover stock. Matching the minimalist design, the print technology has been kept simple as well, using unvarnished type printed in match silver to reveal the grain of the paper.
Developed as a limited edition sample promotion (only 1,000 were produced), it was sent to industry trendsetters with a focus in France, Italy, UK and Northern Europe – where Arjowiggins felt luxury brands and designers are especially active. Since the piece is so gorgeous, we can overlook the fact the promotion didn’t make it to North American – although we would love to see that arrive in our http://parseandparcel.com/the-sample-studio/. In the U.S., their Curious Collection of papers are distributed via Appleton Coated.
To see more paper inspiration like A+S61 delivered to your inbox, join the Parse & Parcel mailing list.
Issue Three of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly is out. If you’re not familiar with the Mohawk Maker campaign, it celebrates the culture of craft and the maker movement – you can read more about it in our earlier post Mohawk is for the Makers. The current issue is about the details that make the artisans work authentic.
One of the details in this piece is the paper it’s printed on: Strathmore Pure Cotton. Strathmore has been around for over a century, with it’s heritage stemming from Scotland’s Strathmore Valley and the country’s national symbol, the thistle. Strathmore’s founder, Moses Horace pioneered the print promotion as we know it, collaborating with a graphic artist and printer, the promotion paved the way for craftsmanship in papermaking. This spirit of collaboration between designers and Strathmore continued throughout the twentieth century, including such design icons as Paul Rand and Milton Glaser. In this issue of the Maker Quarterly, Mohawk continues this tradition of collaboration with a print dedicated to the importance of details by graphic designer and letterer, Jessica Hische.
The centerfold reveals a bold and unexpected surprise: a poster illustration commissioned for Mohawk featuring the Wes Anderson quote, “The details that’s what the world is made of”. All of the images in the illustration refer to Wes Anderson’s movies, see if you can recognize them in this time lapse video above showing Jessica at work illustrating the poster. For a better look at the details, subscribe to The Parcel and get loads of paper and design details (including this one) delivered to your doorstep monthly or join our free mailing list and get paper inspiration delivered to your inbox.
One of the things we love about paper is that it is offers the designer so many options. While we get to work with creatives on projects that use all kinds of print techniques, we thought we’d profile the basics of one of our favorites – foil stamping.
Foil stamping is a process that uses a metal plate that has been engraved with an image of the desired design to be foil stamped. The die or sculpted metal plate comes in contact with the foil and transfers a thin layer of the foil film onto the surface. As the metal plate is heated, the foil sticks to the surface only in the design of the plate and in the areas with the desired imprint.The result is a finished piece with a highly reflective image.