Stock piles

If letters and business cards are the front line of corporate communications, what papers do image-conscious designers choose for themselves? Melanie Willis Fleming roots through some stationery cupboards.

Sarah Thompson Hildebrand Design

We’re in the process of changing our stationery from our ten-year-old Crane Crest 100 per cent cotton, creamy paper to Conqueror CX22 high white. The cotton paper was very professional looking, but could have been from a firm of solicitors. We wanted a more forward-looking, fresher approach. Conqueror is crisp, smooth, stylish and professional without being too old fashioned. As it’s an off-white, it’s not too stark or cold.

We are using more paper than five years ago, primarily in general office use, with masses of Post-its, hardback A4 envelopes and enormous brown paper job bags.

We care about environmental issues, but we don’t produce a large enough volume to get Westminster Council interested in collecting from us. Instead, we give our laser paper waste to schools so that the children can draw on the other side.

Howard Saunders

Rawls & Company

For our own stationery we use Conqueror 100gsm white woven. It says we are a clear, bright, efficient and no fuss company.

We are using more paper than five years ago as the company has grown from three to 20 people in that time.

When it comes to environmental issues, we try to recycle but it’s not easy.

Jeremy Tankard

type designer

As far as I can remember, it was Xerox which coined the term “the paperless office”, and that was coming from a company responsible for generating the use of huge amounts of paper for photocopiers. Type design involves large quantities of paper – there are the sketch books for early drawings and then heavy tracing paper to clarify the forms and eventually the printouts to study characters on their own or in the context of words and sentences. I remember having about 1000-1500 sheets (printed both sides) for one type family while it was going through the later stages of additional weights and spacing. I like to use Courier for this as it is heavier, smoother, high white and renders a crisp, clean outline to the type.

For personal stationery, invoices, orders, proposals and so on I use Neptune Unique white 120gsm for A4 sheets, Neptune Unique white 300gsm for business cards and Neptune ©

Unique white self-seal envelopes supplied by Fenner Paper. The reverse face of the A4 sheets is printed with a colour repeat pattern, there is a collection of patterns. The front faces of the A4s contain all templated information (there are 13 A4 templates). Using templates means I don’t need huge amounts of different printed papers – one sheet does all. It makes sense for me and uses the technology and type to a useful end. Altogether, I hope the weight, smell, crispness, colour, quality of type image and depth of black of the toner and style display an efficiency.

As for looking after the environment, my local council collects for recycling on a Thursday morning.

Stuart Russell

Jaques Russell

We use Fulmer ultra white woven 135gsm for our company stationery because it’s plain – we particularly hate watermarks. Our stationery uses a photo of a Jack Russell dog which says more about us than the particular stock, although it does print well. We tend to take advice from our printer, L&S Printing, as it actually has to do the job.

Because you can generate stuff much quicker with a Mac there tends to be more of it, so we have regular culls round the studio when it gets out of control. If we didn’t worry about losing things on the Macs, we would not print everything out, but, like everybody else, we do so as a precaution.

We have had environmentally conscious clients who insist on using recycled paper, and underline that by sticking the recycled logo on as well. We haven’t usually got the time to go into the ins-and-outs of whether a paper is 100 per cent recycled from previously enjoyed waste, bleached with elemental chlorine or whether its manufacturer has caused unnecessary suffering to fish.

More prosaically, decisions on the type of paper specified usually depend on how the end result is to be finished, what sort of images we are using and, more often than not, what the budget is.

Sara Geeves


Our letterhead is printed on Iridium 80gsm paper. It’s high quality and very white. We believe that using this kind of paper gives the impression of a clean contemporary company with an unfussy approach.

Although our staff has grown over the past five years, Imagination is ordering less paper. This is probably due to the fact that most of us communicate more using e-mail and fax.

We have a recycling programme, we support Future Forests and have become one of the world’s first carbon neutral companies.

Brian Jones

Wolff Olins

The only paper I use is a notebook and a sketchbook. I also use a Newton [electronic notebook] to take notes in meetings. I feel that there shouldn’t be a need to use paper. Anything designed on-screen should be seen on-screen.

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