Design Strategy – The Impact of Color in a Printed Piece

It’s been said that we only have four seconds to make an impression. If that’s the case, marketers have their work cut out for them. Luckily, smart creatives know the value of print when it comes to helping brands connect with their audience. Due to its tactile nature, print is one of the most effective ways for brands to communicate its messaging. And when you combine the feel of print with...

Paper Weights – Knowing the Basics is a Must for the Design Process

When I first started as a spec rep, I was overwhelmed by all the paper terms. It was like a foreign language to me. And like learning a new language, there’s no better way to learn than just jumping right in. I spent a ton of time in the sample studio getting a feel for the basics. And one of the paper basics that has a huge impact on print design and production is paper weights. For the...

Seen by the Spec Rep – Astonishing New Digital Printing Techniques

It’s funny to think about the early days of digital printing, when the most exciting thing it had to offer was variable data. When digital printing first arrived on the print scene it provided a great solution to a big problem – short runs and limited budgets. But in the eyes of creatives, digital printing also meant they had to sacrifice quality and all the fun print techniques they loved...

Design Solutions: Spec Reps and Their Role in the Print Design Process

A spec rep’s work boils down to this one thing: helping creatives who design for print find the perfect paper for their project. I worked for years as a spec rep for a local paper merchant. Spec rep (short for specification sales rep) is not a term you hear much of these days, but one I hope makes a comeback. In this role, I worked with graphic designers in all kinds of environments – large...

3 Popular Lies About Uncoated Paper

There are many features and benefits to each type of paper, the important part is knowing which attributes will work to enhance a client’s print design and brand messaging – rather than detract from it. And knowing how those papers will work with various printing equipment and post-press techniques is just as important. All too often though, the choice of paper becomes the scapegoat when the...

Design Solutions: Three Ways Graphic Designers Can Learn More About Paper

Learning about paper can be a bit overwhelming, especially for a newbie. But if you want your print design to really stand out, understanding the features and benefits of commercial printing papers is essential. When I first started working in paper, I didn’t know the difference between a paper mill and a paper grade, let alone the important attributes like finish, brightness or opacity. I had no...

When to Choose Paper for Your Next Print Project

This past week I spoke to a group of graphic design students about print, printing equipment and paper. After doing a little paper 101 with them, I got into the topic on how paper can shape their design and brand messaging. While many creatives understand the idea that paper has an impact on print and sensory input, many fail to realize that paper can make or break the final results of the...

Tips on Specifying Paper for Various Printing Equipment

When it comes to papers for commercial printing, most designers think in terms of traditional offset lithography. Up until 10 years ago that was perfectly fine, except for the shift to digital printing. These days, print runs are smaller, making digital printing the go-to method for a lot of print projects these days. The thing is, many designers don’t consider the printing equipment used...

Four Ways Paper Impacts Brand Identity

Graphic designers go to painstaking lengths to position a brand effectively and reach target markets. Designing a logo, identity and website that reinforce the brand’s messaging is a given. Thoughtful attention is paid to all the design details. Much like the right colors, fonts and photography can impact a brand’s message, so too does paper specification. Yet for many creatives this...

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Designing for Letterpress

What designer doesn’t dream about using letterpress? One look at the finished results and it’s easy to see why. I think it’s the combination of the bite, imperfect ink lay and feel of the paper that make designers swoon. Given its hand-crafted, bespoke appeal, letterpress provides a very personal connection to the audience – something very rare these days and a big reason for its rise in...