Great new ranges and upgrades suggest that the paper market is finally recovering. Fay Sweet looks at the latest trends

After half a decade of tending those elusive green shoots of recovery, the papermakers are putting on a show this summer equal to the most dazzling creation at the Chelsea Flower Show. And perfectly timed for the report and accounts season, there is an impressive crop of new and upgraded text and cover materials.

Interestingly, this cornucopia of delicious papers and boards has quite foxed the fashion watchers – for every prediction that says designers are looking for smoother papers, you’ll find one that insists texture is back, and where another says designers want high whites, there is someone who is convinced that naturals are in demand. The upshot of all this is extremely positive… there is more variety on offer than we’ve seen in a long time.

Among some of the most exquisite new stocks to arrive in the UK is the trio of papers, Havanna, Naturals and Kaschmir, from the

German mill Gmund and sold in the UK through MoDo. All beautifully presented, I think my favourite are the Havannas – the subtle, earth colours appear on paper made with the dimple of a tobacco leaf. The Bark of the Naturals is worth a mention – a speckled effect is achieved by tossing generous handfuls of bark (gathered from trees around the mill) in with the pulp.

Speckle of a completely different kind makes an appearance in Alga Carta, distributed by Fenner Paper and made by the Favini mill after four years of research and development. This amazingly smooth sheet is made using seaweed harvested from the Venice lagoon combined with recycled and chlorine-free wood pulp. This is real right-on stuff as the algae grows rampant in the lagoon and causes severe blockages, but is now providing very useful non-tree cellulose for papermaking. Alga Carta is available in two natural shades and in eight weights from 90 to 380gsm. Intriguingly, as a result of the chlorophyll present in the seaweed, this paper has a unique tendency to whiten with age.

For a paper that’s rich and smooth, Arjo Wiggins Fine Papers has added Rivoli to its Creative Papers range. Made from 25 per cent cotton, this oozes luxury, and in addition to report and accounts is recommended for greetings cards, calendars and packaging. Rivoli is made with neutral size and no optical brighteners, which makes it extremely stable. It’s available in smooth or antique finishes and weights of 120, 160 and 240 gsm.

Nicely chunky is the new Canevas linen paper and board available through Robert Horne. Featuring an intriguing herringbone grain, this comes from the Paris-based Thibierge & Comar mill, which specialises in unusual text and cover papers. One of the greatest features of the stock is that it responds to embossing very well. Weights are from 100 to 320gsm.

Linen rag appears in the Classic linen grade from Curtis Fine Papers launched this month. With a fresh, crisp feel the paper joins the rest of the Classic range and is available in 100 gsm and 250gsm weights. Curtis is having a busy month – also fresh on the shelves are Classic super wove in the lighter board weight of 220 gsm – aimed at report and accounts work, plus Curtis Alternatives Esparto – a text and cover range made from 85 per cent esparto grass mixed with 15 per cent cotton. Colours for the latter include Egyptian white, Moroccan yellow and Sahara Green and weights are 135gsm for text and 250gsm for covers.

Specifically for the financial back-end of the annual report, paper agent ISTD has recently launched Starting at the Back – a neat bundle of Freelife papers by the Italian Fedrigoni mill. Chlorine and acid-free, the medium-price stock is available in six weights, vellum and felt finishes and white, cream and grey.

Upgrades and additions include a new ultra smooth to the Retreeve Smooth range from the Curtis Fine Papers Mill sold through Robert Horne. The stock is available in brilliant white and ivory in 100, 135 and 280gsm weights. Sappi Europe has extended its range of text and cover papers with a series of Croxley Supreme textured papers. These are laid, linen and hammer in brilliant white, topaz, Wedgwood and ivory at 100 and 150gsm. Sappi has also developed a new high blue-white for its Astralux cast-coated card, now available in five new light pastel tints.

Paper merchant Guppy has announced the addition of a range of multi-functional papers. Made in Strasbourg using 50 per cent post-consumer recycled pulp and 50 per cent totally chlorine-free pulp, Mezza is available in laid and wove finishes. Colours include ivory, dawn and dusk.

For imitation parchment, the Parch Marque range from G F Smith has added five new colours and a choice of four finishes to the range. In June Inveresk sees the relaunch of its biggest brand Gemini. Following Tony Blair’s lead, the reborn one- and two-sided coated paperboard is called New Gemini. Made with a new pulp sourced from Scandinavia and following investment in the Carrongrove mill, the material is whiter, smoother and snappier. Along with report and accounts work, it’s recommended for uses as varied as video tape cartons and greeting cards. Inveresk has also launched the new 100 per cent recycled, wove text paper Repeat Rococo Al Dente available in bright, natural and antique whites.

Finally, continuing the trend of offering phone help to specifiers, Curtis Fine Papers has launched the Riversource Technical line (Tel: 0500 200 119 Fax: 01334 838 899), which provides you with everything you always wanted to know about how to use the stocks.

Latest articles