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?

 

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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Mix and Match Paper Stocks

We love it when we see designers mixing up paper stocks on a project.  And there’s no better time to give it a whirl than with an identity system.  We stumbled across this suite for Define Bottle, designed by Akula Kreative – and we love how they mixed and matched stocks.

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For the letterhead they went with a classic – literally.  Classic Crest 24# Writing – with a slew of white options this paper is a great staple to anchor any identity system. Printed with three PMS colors. For the envelope they opted to go with a color, smart choice.  In this case they selected Construction Cement Green 70#T by French Paper – and added a nice detail by selecting the #10 policy envelope (open end). Other nice details include the wrap around address label printed one color on Mactac’s Metro grade, the euro-flap announcement envelope and the washi tape detail.

All in all, a great example of why mixing it up when it comes to paper stocks really works. The secret to keeping costs in check is working with your paper rep ahead of time to make sure the stocks you’ve selected (and sold the client on) are readily available.  To learn more about readily available paper stocks, sign up to join Parse & Parcel.

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A Word in a Font is Not a Logo

I finally had time to sit down and read the latest edition of Inspire – The Magazine About Packaging & Design by Iggesund. I was delighted to see the feature on famed designer Louise Fili.

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The article talks about her start in the industry working for Herb Lubalin, her work at Pantheon where she created over 2,000 books covers and how it led the way for her evolution into logo design. Today, as she designs food packaging she has remained true to the pillars of her work since she launched as an independent designer: “food, type and all things Italian.”

The Craft of Engraving

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Developed around the 16th century, engraving or intaglio printing, is a method of printing an image from lines cut below the surface of a metal plate. The feel of an engraved piece happens when the paper is pressed into a metal plate. If you are a fan of engraving or thinking about using engraving on your next project, you’ll want to check out this amazing site from Neenah Paper dedicated to the craft: The Beauty of Engraving. The site has a comprehensive gallery including curated collections – the current featured gallery is curated by Jessica Hische.

Paper is meant to be touched, to see these techniques first hand, sign up to receive The Parcel.  In the meantime, here are a few things to keep in mind the next time your working on a project using engraving.

  • Engraving will give the sharpest image, the die is cut by hand, either chemically etched or burned via laser.
  • Photos and continuous tone illustrations are etched into a plate, image reproduction is as clear as lithography.
  • Engraving is not inexpensive, so it limits its applications – but plate sizes are small (limited to 5″ x 7″) and can maximize impact on a project.
  • Engravers use special inks for copper and steel dies; steel is often used for the longest print runs and higest quality. Limited quantities can be done with copper dies, up to about 5,000.
  • Know your paper stocks, coated papers tend to crack – so make sure you test the paper you’re using. Caution should also be taken if using laid papers as they can cause feathering. The engraver can compensate for this by adjusting the ink flow or pressure on the die.

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  • The quality of the paper is critical, because of the craftsmanship and sharpness, engraving requires fine papers – cotton or wove stocks offer the most beautiful results.
  • Always use match colors for engraving, four color process in not suitable with this technique – it uses different inks than litho inks.
  • The technique lends itself to using lighter inks on darker papers due to the high opacity of the engravers inks.
  • Be careful is using gloss inks, they can take on a metallic appearance.
  • Avoid trying to reproduce large areas of color – they can appear mottled or uneven. Instead, think about an outline of the image with a screen tint.
  • To eliminate the debossed impression engraving leaves on the back of envelopes, convert the envelopes after they’ve been engraved. Be sure the engraver prints the envelopes with the flaps open to avoid debossing.

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Shimmer, Sparkle, Shine

If you are looking for the perfect paper to impart that special holiday feel to your next print project, consider one of the pearlescent or metallic text and cover papers available today. With the use of mica coatings, these papers lend themselves beautifully to print, allowing the luminosity of the sheet to show through the ink. Made without metals, the only special attention required when printing on these gorgeous substrates is oxidizing inks.

These papers not only look beautiful printed but lend themselves equally well to embossing, letterpress and die-cutting – oh and did we mention they also print well with most toner based applications? And if you’re thinking about using them for a wedding suite or holiday card, many offer matching envelopes in a variety of sizes. Not sure where to start – here’s a list of our faves:

  • Esse by Neenah Paper in Pearlized Latte, Crystal, Cocoa, Opal, Silver and White -gorgeous in both smooth and textured finishes
  • Starwhite by Neenah Paper in Flash White, Flash Pearl and Flash Blue with a fiery shimmer
  • Shine by Reich Paper in over twenty colors with beautiful deep tones like Onyx and Midnight – bonus they have matching square sized envelopes available
  • Curious Metallics by ArjoWiggins and distributed by Appleton Coated, one of the originals in this category with a vast array of colors, all of which are FSC certfified and some offer 100% PCW options
  • Aspire Petallics by CTI Paper in a variety of gorgeous colors like Autumn Hay, Beargrass and Copper Ore, these come in both smooth and linen finishes and are suited for toner with some also formulated for on ink-jet
  • Stardream from Italian paper-maker Gruppo Cordenons distributed by Neenah Paper in over thirty amazing colors

Join Parse & Parcel to get a preview of papers like these shimmery beauties and see how creatives are using them in real-life projects.

Image via Gruppo Cordenons

The Basics of Menu Design

Forget about making the best sellers list, what every one is reading these days are menus.  The newest print promotion from Neenah is dedicated to a subject near and dear to the graphic designer’s heart (and stomach) – Menu Design. And a well designed menu can more than cover its expense in just one days tally, while a poorly designed one can have customers saying “check please” instead of asking to see the dessert menu.

The last time Neenah did a print promotion on menu design was more than 5 years ago – and we still have freelance designers asking if we can score them one. Once you look through this promo, you’ll know why. Did you know a menu program should run for thirty-six months or that the biggest mistake in menu design is how the prices are listed?

Make sure you don’t miss out on great promos like Neenah’s Menu Design, join us and sign up for The Parcel.

Here’s a peek inside
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