Features | June 05, 2019
Show the Right Stock
Print, in the simplest terms, is ink on paper. If you consider ink or paper simple. Today, let’s focus on the first three questions to narrow down the right paper for the right market and message.
The power of touch is an extremely powerful communicator of brand identity. I can’t emphasize enough the consideration of sensory responses triggered by print. I’m not alone. Mohawk Paper’s Maker Quarterly takes readers, designers, and marketers deep into the visual and tactile effects of print. Sappi’s Neuroscience Shorts videos explain the power of the weight and finish of paper choice in relation to the final impression of trustworthiness perceived (or not perceived) by the user.
As examples, accountants most often purchase pocket folders with a clean, simple logo printed on a linen stock. The goal is to convey consistency and provide a sense of comfort. You may not think comfort when you think of tax season, but you want an accountant who instills that feeling, right? While mortgage companies, involved in one of the most landmark moments of many people’s lives, often provide paperwork in a folder that holds critical and bulky paperwork, sturdy enough to account for the weight of this monumental (and exciting!) financial commitment. Everything about the transaction should instill confidence and occasion.
The latest digital printing equipment produces presentations on nearly any stock or texture, unlike the “old days” when digital print was limited to coated, maybe even exclusive stocks. The newest inkjet and even toner presses often print successfully on a wide variety of stocks. Many toner-based presses can now run linen, fibered and even the hopsack embossed sheets in addition to the expected coated stocks. With the expanded realm of stock possibilities, this opens up a variety of textured options with low-minimum options at reasonable prices.
Therefore, quantity is most often a factor if the stock isn’t inventoried by your printer and has to be ordered from their vendor or the mill. For example, in our shop, we carry over 60 different stock options on the floor to keep up with a wide variety of customer requests. Still, there are those extra special stock requests that arrive daily.
Color psychology is a common tool in marketing. Theories like red equals action and black infers sophistication show themselves repeatedly in design. Luxury car marketing inevitably includes some combination of black and silver. Deep blue relays “power,” so attorneys and banks commonly use dark blue stocks, often adding to the sensory experience by utilizing linen or other textured options.
Also, the color of the sheet is the first important factor when choosing the best production processes to utilize. For example, conventional, metallic foil remain the most popular process utilized on deep shades of uncoated sheets. Again, promoting the psychology of stability, security, maybe even wealth. Or, once the holiday season approaches, foil effects are often used with rich colors to convey festivity and celebration.
So Many to Choose
Although paper mills have converged and combined over the years, there are still dozens of finishes, from smooth (with many variations of smooth) to felt (with each brand having a unique embossed pattern) to columns/grooves and more. Even whites vary from pure white to bright white to, well … white.
Consumers and print buyers often know what they want but not how to ask for it. Showing each client a carefully chosen variety of options with samples tailored to their request, vertical market, and brand image helps. The tactile experience, important to brand designers particularly, require a “show don’t tell” method when it comes to options like dimensional UV effects, fine papers, colors and textures.
You probably have walls of paper swatchbooks; however, talk to your manufacturing partner about samples, because sometimes having a completed folder, envelope or label solidifies the sale and final product satisfaction.
Mardra Sikora is the CEO of Pocket Folders Fast, an author, speaker and print geek. Sikora shares her enthusiasm for pocket folder options and new print and finishing technologies at every opportunity. Seriously.
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