Making new papers is not straightforward

I was interested to read Fay Sweet’s article Paper Promises (DW 27 November) regarding changing attitudes in the paper industry and I congratulate David Pocknell on his appointment as consultant to Donside. Anything that brings the industry and designers to a better understanding of each other is very welcome.

John Bateson’s comment that “it is very easy to bring out new papers in new textures and new colours, but what’s the point if they’re not used?” understates what is a hugely complex issue.

It is not easy to bring out new papers – and Silk Pearce should know, as a design group which is involved in developing them. The degree of subtlety of colour or texture that makes a paper desirable and usable (more than once) is an extremely fine judgement.

And – this may come as a surprise – designers do not always do what they say they’ll do. For example, the more subtle textures or colours are often rejected by designers in market-testing in favour of stronger effects. The fact is, however, that most designers specify “whites” when it comes down to it.

Over the past few years the work that we have undertaken for Arjo Wiggins on an ongoing basis has changed beyond recognition. Now the brief is often one of new product development as well as collateral. It involves extensive research and development; greater understanding of colour and texture; working with technicians at the mill; and, yes, it involves talking to designers.

Jack Pearce

Silk Pearce

Essex CO1 2QE

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