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Do You Appreciate The Beauty of Engraving?

Written by in Collections

‘Uncommon Touch of the Common Man’?  

Centuries of Art, Craft and Trade

Neenah Paper introduces The Beauty of Engraving, an innovative, engaging and informative online experience offering a trove of engraving examples, historical background, resources and contacts, technical tips and tricks, printed paper samples and links. The campaign features a delightful small film that brings the rich art and craft of engraving to every designer’s desktop.. The entire effort is an exposition of the uncommonly beautiful and purposeful art and craft of the humble engraver.

Two Paperdolls, a design and specialty printing shop outside Philadelphia, prepared the campaign after being employed by Neenah to survey the engraving market place. From this they crafted a multi-level marketing program to help celebrate the beauty and engage young designers to gain knowledge and embrace this age-old process. Vanessa Kreckel, owner and founder of Two Paperdolls LLC, says the project grew out of a long and successful relationship with International Engraved Graphics Association (IEGA) and unique understanding of the process at the hands of their good friends and engravers at The Artcraft Company .


“Neenah discovered us from the website work we had produced for IEGA,” Ms. Kreckel told us. “They asked us to research and suggest a promotional campaign that told the story of Crane’s part in the history of engraving while promoting Crane’s 100% cotton fiber brands as the ultimate in print communication. We greeted this assignment with relish.”

The objective was to share the complete story of engraving, added Greg Ash, creative director at Two Paperdolls. “We know engraving is beautiful but the ‘beauty’ goes beyond ‘pretty’ or ‘precious’. When you look into the history of engraving you begin to see that behind great beauty lies great purpose. Engraving was a copy maker’s tool. It was a process artists used to reproduce work so they could reach wider audiences. It was a tactic moneymakers employed to thwart fraud. Engraving has always been a dual-purpose art form, both beautiful and practical, grand but humble, decorative yet intentional. When designers understand this history, they are better equipped to persuade clients to bring the inherent value of engraving into their print communication mix.”

By using the term “value,” Ash is referring to measures of rank and importance, not monetary worth. Engraving can signal integrity, authenticity, care, security and rarity. It may suggest pride, tradition and sophistication. These are values any business would want to associate with its people, products or services. Even if that business is plumbing.


A printer friend once told a story that highlights that kind of value from an unusual perspective. A plumber in the aisle of a hardware store handed him a card. It was engraved with the plumber’s name and motto, “The Plumbing Expert for All Your Plumbing Needs”. The printer friend asked the plumber why he’d gone to the expense of engraving his business cards.

“Because it’s unexpected,” the plumber replied. “It makes you stop and ask, don’t it? And when you get home, you’re going to hang this card on your fridge, tell your friends about me and have a little laugh, right?  Then one day when your toilet stops up or your drainpipe leaks, who will you call first?  Me. The guy whose card is still hanging on your refrigerator.”

The printer made the man his family plumber until the plumber retired 15 years later. His wisdom was not forgotten — and his plumbing skills were up to the task.

The art and craft of engraving on premium papers continues to make print stand out,  as it has for centuries. The Beauty of Engraving is a multi-level communications program that will educate audiences and reinforce engraving’s inherent values as they view and touch samples pulled together to illustrate this campaign.

So, what is your experience with engraving? We would love to hear and learn from your story.


CRANE® Registered trademark of Crane & Co., Inc.
The Beauty of Engraving ™ Registered trademark of Neenah Paper, Inc.

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