Designers and paper makers should work together

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Fay Sweet’s excellent article ( DW 27 November) about the greater involvement of designers within the paper industry starts with a rhetorical question that she says foxes our industry: “Why do so many designers (and their clients) seem to care nothing for what their work is printed on?”

Perhaps many do care, but are persuaded of the need for their work to be printed on stock of the lowest common denominator – boring bright white coated paper. Restricting printed matter to matt and gloss coated paper seems to me the typographical equivalent of setting everything in Univers. Worthy, but dull.

Most coated paper is cheap and it is also forgiving of second rate printing skills, but a lot of the time it’s not even functional. Have you tried filling in a form printed on coated paper, or reading 8pt type printed on a gloss surface, or thought about the distribution cost of the end product that needs printing on heavier paper than is necessary because cheap coated paper typically is not very opaque?

Like so many trends, the commendable move in Britain’s paper industry to involve top designers for marketing and communicating with their customers, started on the other side of the Atlantic. Now people in Britain and the US collect American promotional pieces. Perhaps as a result, in the US there is a wider range of papers used for more diverse printed work – often helping to brand or differentiate the final job. Why not here?

Designers, printers and paper people are all part of the same industry with the common goal of spreading the printed word. Isn’t is time we tried understanding each other and working together as partners to achieve that goal?

Peter Gilbert


Paper Resources

Oxfordshire OX7 6XU

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