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RESIDENTIAL • CREATIVE Tuesday 3rd March 2015

On the paper trail

On the paper trail

In a world where we spend most of our time looking at screens, the production quality of a physical document can send important messages about your business or product. The Completely Group's Creative Director, Ben Parer, explores the world of paper and its contribution to the marketing mix.

For centuries, paper was a medium to hold a message. Today, the paper itself can deliver a message. Every type of paper from your daily newspaper to handmade Florentine writing paper communicates something as soon as you touch it.

The printed document can still play a role in marketing and value-judgment that digital platforms cannot replicate. Marketers and designers have discovered that printed material gives an extra dimension to the desired impact of marketing collateral.

Peter Sommerville of Denmaur Independent Papers observes: “A printed paper product still achieves higher rates of engagement with the reader and is an excellent mechanism that can lead to online activity”.

While the shift from paper to pixel cannot be denied, the demand for specialist printed matter is clear.

Bespoke paper supplier, Fedrigoni UK, has doubled its turnover in the past five years and had a record-breaking year in 2014 both in terms of volumes produced and profits earned.

Fedrigoni’s Fred Haines, comments: “We are focused on the sectors of the market that are still growing. There is no doubt a clever paper choice enhances design, and conversely a poor stock can make a strong design less impactful”.

Unfortunately, the whole printing process and paper sourcing can be the victim of misconceptions that photocopying paper is ‘cheap’ through to the notion that using ‘good paper’ for a document has to be expensive.

As Daniel Mason says in his book Materials, Process, Print: “This ‘dumbing down’ of printing has led to a belief that if something isn’t printed on ordinary paper then it must cost a lot more to produce, and take more time. The expectation threshold has been lowered so much that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the designer, client and customer to overreach their expectations, to challenge what they know and to produce work that may be of greater aesthetic value”.

Clearly sustainability issues lie at the heart of going into print and consuming large amounts of paper. For the paper companies, it is in their best interests to create sustainable supply. Ethical paper manufacturers replace trees at a higher rate than they cut them down.

The consensus among all producers is that paper isn't dead - but wasting paper is

As a response to concerns surrounding deforestation, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was formed. It is an international, independent organisation that promotes responsible and sustainable forestry worldwide. There are two components to FSC certification: forest management and chain of custody certification. What this means in practice is that if a paper has an FSC certificate then you know that the paper has been produced from well-managed forests.

Being environmentally conscious about the process in paper selection, from tree, pulp, chemicals to paper, enables us to have a much greater impact than simply recycling our household goods.

Paper manufacturer, Antalis, is currently introducing a star system for their papers which takes into account factors such as the type of pulp and the efficiency of production. “This will help clients make simple informed choices with regard to paper selection”, says the company’s Naomi Shelley.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for the designer, client and customer to overreach their expectations

Denmaur seem to be taking their environmental concerns a step further. If clients are keen to minimise their CO2, Denmaur Independent is offering free carbon neutrality on its stock papers and a free-of-charge offer on its Amadeus recycled range. Carbon offsetting is facilitated by purchasing carbon credits from The CarbonNeutral Company, who provide independently audited and verifiable offsetting schemes.

The consensus among all producers is that paper isn’t dead – but wasting paper is.

This has led to a reaction in the market where designers and consumers are searching for a more authentic experience from their marketing material. Uncoated, rough and less refined papers are being utilised much more than in previous decades.

In the UK, Antalis sell about a third more uncoated paper than coated now and believe that digital print is generating a new wave of marketing possibilities with short runs, use of high spec papers, and on-demand printing and personalisation.

Certainly the range of papers available provides almost endless possibilities.

Naomi Shelley explains: “No two papers are the same. Uncoated paper is generally whiter than coated as the pure fibres can be seen and reflect the light better. Generally, the more matt the paper is then the more uniform the impression of colour it will give.”

The details we have provided here about some of the producers and papers available are just the tip of the iceberg. It is really worthwhile for all marketers to explore the sustainable, cost-effective materials that are now available and how they can deliver an extra punch to marketing initiatives.

There is a tremendous subtlety in paper selection but it has a demonstrable impact on the document recipient.

With printing methods being refined and an ever-increasing range of paper products, the possibilities are even greater and more spectacular than ever.

When choosing the right paper consider:

  • Cost
  • Finish
  • Colour / brightness
  • Peronality
  • Weight
  • Recycled
  • Printing process
  • End usage


A quality and heritage of the creative papers portfolio such as Conqueror, Curious, Keaykolour, Rives and Popset. With the largest deinking plant in Europe they produce recycled papers, Cyclus and Cocoon.

What’s your best-selling paper?
Our biggest selling brand is a mid-range FSC high white with a large stock holding of sizes and weights. A great balance of flexibility and quality. Our best-selling creative paper is Conqueror – it’s our super brand.

What are your newest most interesting papers?
Curious Matter is a new addition to the Curious Range. It took seven years to develop and has a very unique rough surface made by coating the paper with up-cycled starch, which is a waste product from the production of chips and crisps. It is available in six colours with paper and board weights – each colour named after a potato!

It has been used for packaging, brochures, business cards to name a few applications and is suitable for all print and finishing techniques, it’s very versatile.


A service offering of paper management with a very strong relationship with magazine and brochure producers with a broad range from standard newsprint to our Fabriano specialty.

What’s your best-selling paper?
Without needing to look at the stats, our Amadeus Primo range, a premium quality, white triple coated paper in Silk and Gloss.

What are your newest most interesting papers?
Fabriano specialty range – a fabulous offering of translucent, metallic, smooth white and tinted papers.


A wide range of specialist papers available in more than 100 countries.

What’s your best-selling paper?
Arcoprint, Spendorgel, uncoated papers and Symbol Freelife coated paper. We are also having a lot of success with Xper which is a coated grade that looks and feels uncoated but offers great ink lift, this is proving very popular.

What are your newest most interesting papers?
Our latest grade is Sirio Ultra Black which has been very well received; in fact the quickest take off for any new grade we
can recall. It is the ‘blackest black’ on the market and a feature is how well this grade performs with metallic foils due to
the fact no carbon is used to create the very strong black shade.