Print Field Trip


Ann Wood

on 1/17/2018

In a fast-paced digital world that never seems to sit still, there is increasing value that’s being placed on printed materials. There’s something almost nostalgic about tactile, hand-held work. Those who say that print is dead have got their heads in the sand, because print has staying power.

It’s field trip time!

To learn more about the latest printing techniques and how we could apply this knowledge to our work, our office met with the creative and marketing teams at Allegra Marketing Services. Allegra does everything from printing signage to working directly with paper companies to produce work for clients. Along with the Allegra team, representatives from Mohawk Paper and Millcraft Paper were there to help guide us on our exploration of the print world.

The books and paper samples they brought with them were truly works of art. We were all eager to feel the paper, flip through the pages, and discover the unique folds and binding techniques available. Of course we were also geeking out over the gorgeous layouts.

The panel then taught us the basics of printing, types of paper, and the costs of different papers and printing techniques. Having never worked directly with a printing company before, this was all brand new and fascinating for me.

Quality print makes an impact.

The panel also taught us about the measurable impact that printed pieces can have. Not only can unique paper and printing techniques be beautiful (hello embossing and foiled stamping!), but they can really make a positive impact with end users as well. The panel explained how the ROI can be greatly increased if the quality of the deliverable is increased. They used a metaphor of a restaurant versus cafeteria: if you’re trying to make a great first impression, would you take someone to a cafeteria, or would you wine and dine them at a nice restaurant? Beautiful paper and innovative techniques are more expensive upfront, but the impressions that they make can increase brand equity.

Not everything has to be beautifully printed to make impact, though.

Along with these discussions of the value of print and paper, we learned about techniques that are easy to transfer to our own work. Since we often work with nonprofits, it’s important for us to be conscious of budgets. The panel gave us advice on how we could incorporate more impactful printing techniques at lower costs, and how we could be upfront about this with our clients. For example, allocating money to an elevated publication cover while printing the rest of the publication on low cost paper would create impact for the end user, without breaking the bank like an entire publication on quality paper would. Different binding techniques are also a usually low cost option to make a piece unique and memorable. Who knew that multicolored stitch binding was ever an option?

Many thanks are given to Allegra Marketing Services, Mohawk Paper, and Millcraft Paper for meeting with us. We learned so much on our field trip and are ready to put our knowledge into action.

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