The right stuff

Luxury does not have to be about precious metals or gemstones. To convey a message of exclusivity, the most humble of materials, paper, can have a striking effect, and exploring its potential is key to a range of projects. Design Week looks at some recent high-end work

Fashion designer Jean-Pierre Braganza showcased elaborate paper corsets and cuffs made from Arjowiggins Rives paper at this year’s London Fashion Week, but away from the haute couture glamour, everyday print projects can also benefit from considered choice of luxury papers.

’We try to use papers we feel are appropriate for each project and the stock can be an essential part of the communication, helping to convey a message,’ says Caz Hildebrand, creative partner at Here Design. ’The right paper can make the difference between the job being “right” and not.’

The selection process can be the difference between producing mediocre work and something special, agrees Christian Nelson, creative director at Nelson Associates. ’The paper choice can then influence the final design, so we like to know where we’re going with papers at as early a stage as possible.’

’Obviously, the paper that you end up using has to fit within budget, but it’s an important journey and consideration that must be taken for any job,’ says Sophie Harper, graphic designer at fashion brand Toast. ’Paper is as much about the handle as it is about the quality of print it gives. A well-chosen paper can elevate the sensory elements of the visual journey you print on it.’

The current Toast catalogues use Fedrigoni’s Arcoprint. It was chosen for its superior print quality for an uncoated paper and its suitability in carrying the feel the company requires for the photography. ’It fits the bill perfectly,’ says Harper. ’And also there’s a sense of “bespoke” about it.’

For the new brand guidelines for The Balvenie whisky, Here was asked to reflect the craftsmanship carried through the brand. The consultancy used Colorplan Stone, Keaycolour Honey and Metaphor Wheat by GF Smith, with each booklet bound in a different cover paper. The text paper is Colorplan Natural.

Coming up with a pure, simple brochure to show off private members’ club, hotel and spa Babington House, Here designed a French-folded and Singer-sewn piece of print, with a cover with a clear foil-blocked title, using Skye uncoated board and inside pages on Soporset Pre-print. A simple solution for financial advisor Diana Gray Smith’s business cards included triplexed Colorplan board in Dark Grey top and bottom, sandwiching a Fuschia pink board – they needed to be sober in appearance, but hint at her personality too.

For wealth management company Florin Kildate, Nelson Associates had to find papers and production methods that felt premium and allowed for a hand-crafted approach. The group chose Colorplan for its textural qualities.

Price can be an issue for clients, so the use of luxury papers needs to be considered. ’Clients tend to trust our judgment with using more interesting papers as they understand that it will add value to their brand, possibly even more so in this economy,’ says Nelson. ’Paper plays a key role alongside the design in the majority of our work so clients who work with us see that quite early on.’

And as Hildebrand adds, ’Using an expensive paper can concentrate the mind. If it is a special making or a special order, it means there is no margin for error.’

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