Redefining the New Neenah ENVIRONMENT®

Written by in Collections, Environmental Responsibility

The new Neenah ENVIRONMENT® Papers have been released. The last blog feature spoke in detail about the changes in colors, weights, textures and improvements in recycled content and printability.  Advancing a line of paper that was already one of Neenah’s best-selling brands takes a lot of courage, planning, time and money — a process that consumed more than 18 months.



Neenah ENVIRONMENT®  includes seven fresh, new, natural colors with descriptive names like Grocer Kraft, Honeycomb, Weathered and Concrete — each inspired by our natural, real-world surroundings. The new additions complement a full range of whites and mid-tone colors, including the popular color, Desert Storm. The entire offering contains 30% to 100% post consumer fibers and is manufactured using sustainable practices. Matching envelopes are available in 19 styles.

Neenah placed ENVIRONMENT Papers in the hands of Pum and Jake Lefebure and their team at Design Army ( Designing for designers is the ultimate glass house. One has to be bold but must also be careful. Pum is certain her peers will like the new ENVIRONMENT Papers:  “We believe the changes to the line will propel this premium recycled line into a new era of popularity and use. But I also know designers around the world will be the final arbiters of the line’s success.”

Seen a Video About Design Army’s Approach to the Redesign of ENVIRONMENT Papers:

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Pum’s certainty is not based solely on her confidence in Design Army’s ability; it is predicated on the enormity of the technical and engineering resources as well as the extensive research and marketing expertise that helped bring her ideas to the marketplace.  Thousands of collective hours of work by nearly a hundred people from inside and outside the Neenah organization were involved.


Kathy Kemps, senior brand manager of ENVIRONMENT Papers, explained: “If I tried to list all the names of those involved, I might leave someone out and that would be unfair. This was a team effort across Neenah, from machine planners to purchasing, from technical engineers to manufacturing, from logistics to marketing and from design to printing. What you see is papermaking craftsmanship at its finest.”


Design Army’s goal was to redefine the concept of ‘environment’ and ‘green.’  “Designers and papermakers have been ahead of the sustainability curve for a decade, so we asked ourselves how could we redefine environment, green and sustainability,’’ said Jake Lefebure. “We had to make it more relevant in today’s marketplace. We wanted to improve ENVIRONMENT Papers so that people would choose it and use it more and more.”

They began researching color and design trends in fashion, home furnishings, textiles, interior design and new technology. They then drew inspiration from samples sent to them from around the world. They initially presented four unique color palettes then narrowed the choice to one. Then the work began with color and texture testing followed by printability tests.

Pum and Team Working

Design Army found inspiration not in ‘nature’ but rather in how human beings incorporate nature into their urban lifestyles: “Environment isn’t always green,” said Pum. “Sometimes it is the color of paper, stone and iron. And with more than 70% of the world’s population expected to live in urban centers by the year 2050, we recreated ENVIRONMENT Papers so that it was a reflection of the environment most call home. And home for most is a city, not a country meadow.”

 colors waterfall

Functionality was a critical design criterion. Making a beautiful line of papers, they pointed out, does not necessarily mean a swatch book full of jewel-colored papers that are lovely to look at but difficult to print on. “Dark paper colors are not flexible in terms of readability of images and words,” reminded Jake. “Instead, Design Army created a palette of essential whites and midtones that are paired with a waterfall of rich natural colors.  Every color in the line is now ‘neutral’ — they will hold and print images and words beautifully.”

“Designers like room to play,” added Pum. “They want to explore and discover meaning through words, images and print. These colors and textures have flexibility and offer surprise.  We found that certain colors can shift and change depending upon the designer’s choices. This means ENVIRONMENT Papers can become a part of the design process.”

“Raw is the New Luxe”

It is only a matter of time before uncoated high recycled-content paper becomes more visible on the shelves of retailers. Design Army created a diamond-score across an entire RAW™ 100C Grocer Craft sample sheet and included it in the new ENVIRONMENT Papers swatch book.  Chanel inspired the diamond-pattern.  Pum Lefebure knows this is wishful thinking:

“I know that Chanel’s traditional buyers demand that their perfume travel home in shopping bags printed in black and white with a gloss coat finish. But we want to remind designers at premium brands that uncoated, recycled papers are a viable option. They are for the organic-minded. They print beautifully. They have integrity and texture. And I believe, Chanel customers in 2030 will return home with gorgeous well-made shoes inside a Grocer Kraft colored RAW™ finished box and bag. As we say, ‘Raw is the New Luxe.


Jake and Pum say that being a part of the R&D process of a popular paper line was both a challenging and humbling opportunity. Said Jake, “In some ways our own naivety allowed us to push Neenah to try new things. Through testing and development, the entire team created the papers you now see. We all learned by doing.”


Pum believes the ultimate test of ENVIRONMENT Papers will be what others make of it: “We made our choices. Now we want users to push this paper even further through their choices. We want them to experience what we did: the joy and discovery of taking something beautiful and adding value through creativity and craft that people will want to hold onto for a long time. Besides, the best way to help our environment is to make things that last. Who throws away Chanel? ”


  1. 04
    Paul said:

    “Dessert Storm” ? How about Dessert Follies ;) ?

  2. 04
    Matt Porter said:

    I love it. But I saw this funny comment and went back to see if there was a TYPO in one of the posts that misidentified Desert Storm as Dessert Storm. I think Dessert Storm is a Ben & Jerry’s flavor. I could not find the typo. If you did, would you be kind enough to tell me where? Anyway, the color Dessert Follies would be great. Sprinkles.