More to the Story
In my blog of February 17, I reviewed various paper coatings. Did you think that was the end of the story? Oh no, my friend. Coating is only the beginning we haven’t even touched paper finishes, nor have we discussed color, brightness, and construction.
Pretty + Pretty = Disaster
What does it matter? I’ll tell you why it matters because selecting the right paper can make or break a job. For example a few years ago a new paper was introduced with a fascinating pattern called, I believe, snowflake. It was a dazzling white and the designers fell in love with it. I couldn’t blame them, it was as pretty as a new sports car. Used correctly this paper would have made any project look terrific, but we all found out the hard way that pretty paper doesn’t guarantee a pretty result.
Albino Alligator Shoes
The graphic designer’s customer was a company importing a line of spa and skin care products. The models they used in their advertising were young with flawless skin, and extraordinary features–the perfect examples of feminine beauty. The cover photo for the brochure was one of these incredible models relaxing in a tub of deep-aqua colored water. The blue was made by the product they were selling, and it had the added advantage of masking, shall we say, the more sensitive spots? The problem? Hooboy! The paper finish had definite highs and lows. Ink tended to puddle in the lows. The effect was that the model’s skin looked like a pair of albino alligator shoes. Needless to say, it wasn’t the look they were going for (see picture above).
Beautiful expensive paper, incredible photography, and state of the art printing equipment couldn’t save it, couldn’t put Humpty-Dumpty together again. Alligator skin was 180 degrees off the mark, and because it was a brand new paper it was a crap shoot. We didn’t know what would happen on press. We found out. The bottom line, all of the expensive paper was dumped and the job was printed on a nice but less costly coated sheet. You can see the difference in the photos of the printed pieces.
The world of paper choices is endless. Every year, it seems, the mills work overtime to come up with the next new wonder. They even tweak their old standbys by adding new colors, obsoleting others, or modifying the surfaces to fit special needs.
I looked up the web site of International Paper, because they supply most of the printers in this area, and to make sure I got everything covered. You too can look them up on their website: http://www.internationalpaper.com
International’s descriptions proved adequate for people in the biz, but sometimes a little vague for the uninitiated. For example, their definition for laid paper is paper with a laid finish. That works for me because I know what a laid finish is, but does it help the rest of you? I didn’t think so.
In a future blog I’ll list the various finishes and add my own descriptions to make them more understandable. In the meantime you can check in with International if you have questions, call your local paper merchant, or get in touch with me www.billrueschprintbrokers.com