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The New Neenah Environment® — Let’s “Dance a Bit”

Written by in Collections, Environmental Responsibility

Great for the Environment:

Premium Sustainability + Super Printability

The newly revised ENVIRONMENT® Writing, Text and Cover Papers from Neenah includes a range of rich natural colors, four of them with an innovative finish called simply RAW™. “The look is raw, but the print performance is refined!” says Kathy Kemps, brand manager at Neenah. She describes the new finish: “We’ve developed an industrial yet organic look and feel, and engineered it on the paper machine to provide a consistent paper surface receptive to every printing scenario – while doing it in an environmentally responsible way.”

We recently chatted with four printers known for their expertise and enthusiasm in helping designers achieve beautiful results on uncoated paper: David Bennett of Bennett Graphics [www.bennettgraphics.com] in Atlanta; Scott Gasch of Fey Printing [www.feyprinting.com] in Wisconsin Rapids; Frits Kouwenhoven of Hemlock Printers [www.hemlock.com] in Vancouver, British Columbia; and Tony Narducci of O’Neil Printing [www.oneilprint.com] in Phoenix. They talked about the expanding role of uncoated paper in today’s print marketplace and shared their observations about printing on uncoated paper surfaces.


This fresh piece demonstrates the crisp print performance of ENVIRONMENT Papers’ new RAW™ finish. Colors shown, back to front: Honeycomb, Concrete, Grocer Kraft, Wrought Iron.

Fey Printing has just produced the new swatchbook, charming note cards and tasty Menu sample (above) showcasing the freshly revised ENVIRONMENT Papers. Fey specializes in working with paper mills, and may well have printed on a greater variety of uncoated sheets than anyone we can think of anywhere.

Frits Kouwenhoven: We print so much on uncoated these days – I’d estimate as much as 70%. A decade ago, I think it would have been 40% uncoated to 60% coated. Our customers look to us for the highest possible level of post-consumer waste, and in uncoated, we can recommend 100% – that is our initiative. We always look forward to new environmentally responsible sheets.

Tony Narducci: Uncoated papers can give a cool effect, in the sense of soft and subtle. For photography, uncoated provides a different experience than coated – especially when someone touches the pages to turn them, or just to feel them. This doesn’t mean we can be any less rigorous, of course. Thanks to our fine-line stochastic screening – which we’ve been using for ten years now – we are able to get great color saturation and a clean look.


Interior of the Menu sample, printed in PMS 877 (Metallic Silver) and Black on New ENVIRONMENT Cover Wrought Iron 130DTC, RAW™ finish.

Scott Gasch: In our experience, metallic inks tend to highlight the paper formation. The shine of the metallic inks seems to accentuate the high and low points in the paper’s formation. Depending on the surface of the paper, the metallic ink will absorb into some areas and stays on top of other areas, giving the sheet a bit of a mottled look at times. When we are printing non-metallic Pantone colors, we sometimes add a percentage of opaque white into the ink mix – and that will usually give the ink a smoother, less mottled lay on the paper.


Scott Gasch comments, “These three test sheets were run in consecutive order, so the PMS 877 (Metallic Silver) coverage is identical. They look different because the photographer caught each sheet at a slightly different angle. The angle of the reflection makes the metallic ink ‘dance’ a bit.”

David Bennett: Today, printing photography or type on uncoated isn’t the challenge – it’s definitely large solids or large screened areas. That’s where you begin to see the effects of bad formation or a surface that’s not as smooth. Color-wise, I think large solid areas of blues and purples really can highlight bad formation – and orange. And black, actually. You know how beautiful a black car can be… until you notice a blemish here – even tiny – and another one there. There is a direct correlation between the quality of the paper and the quality of the print. The key is the foundation, the paper formation, how evenly the fibers are dispersed throughout the sheet. If it’s not good, the paper simply cannot work as well.

Click  To Your Favorite New Color!

Got to the following links to order new colors on ENVIRONMENT® Writing, Text and Cover Papers:



Grocer Kraft

Wrought Iron


Shawn Arney, O’Neil Printing’s pre-media manager, chimes in.

Shawn Arney: Yes, purple-blue inks are challenging. They can easily shift toward redder or bluer – but that happens on coated paper as well.


The bug’s body is a giant Metallic Silver teardrop, with knock-outs to paper and touches of Pantone Warm Red. The tiny white streaming tears are a double hit of Opaque White, (inline dry trapped). Printed on New ENVIRONMENT Cover Concrete 100C, RAW™ finish.

FK: We find olive greens and chocolate browns – and lime greens too – to be the most demanding, even on coated stock. It’s because of the primary colors they’re made from – they’re formulated with a lot of different inks. Sometimes, with uncoated text or cover papers, we “size” the sheet (running the paper through our conventional printing press with a clear varnish, which adheres to the sheet just like an ink) before running the actual print job. We have a house recipe, and this step helps reduce any future variance due to ink absorption, a look we call “marbling” tendency– the ink will sit smoothly on top of the varnish. That said, the smoother the surface and better the formation, the better it is for us. The more open the sheet’s fibers are, the more of a challenge it becomes to run large solid areas. The beauty for us now is our UV press – we have no dry back to worry about.


Opaque White can serve as an under-layer, as shown on this test for the Menu sample (above). On the darkest color, Wrought Iron, you see a bit more of the paper color showing through.

DB: I’d credit some of our success with uncoated over the years to working with our ink company and some to making sure we have proper dot-gain curves – using a compensation algorithm that looks at the file and makes adjustments automatically. It decreases, for example, the screen percentages so that, allowing for dot gain, they come back up on press to exactly where they should be.

SG: The sequence in which we lay down inks is also a factor. On a larger solid, we try to keep that ink last down on the press, so it doesn’t back trap [transfer that solid ink onto other press blankets] and give the ink a rough looking lay of ink. On press, we also like to try various cylinder pressure adjustments to get the best looking lay of ink possible. This is an adjustment where the pressman can make a dramatic difference to the lay of ink that also improves crispness of the image. We want the ink to get down in the peaks and valleys of a textured sheet.

TN: I think the customer’s relationship with the printer is more valuable than ever. You can be wildly successful if you are collaborative, if you communicate your vision to your printer. I go back to the “mood difference” between uncoated textures and colors versus white coated papers. We see much greater use of uncoated today than in the past – pieces where the tactile and visual effect would be lost even on a coated dull or satin-coated sheet. The surface of uncoated paper gives the user a sensory experience too, which translates to a visual impression.


The iridescent cupcake was printed using 2 hits of Opaque White (inline dry trapped) + Pantone 7405 (Yellow) + Pantone 426 (Gray) + Pantone Warm Red. The creature’s antennae, candle-legs and some dots were printed featuring PMS 877 (Metallic Silver) (printed on New ENVIRONMENT Cover Stone 80C, Smooth finish). The dragonfly card was printed using 2 hits of Opaque White (inline dry trapped) + Pantone 426 (Gray) + Pantone Warm Red + Pantone 389 (Lime Green) (printed on New ENVIRONMENT Cover Weathered 80C, Smooth finish).


All images ©2014 StudioAlex.

  1. 09

    Going crazy trying to figure out how to fold the insert that came with my latest GDUSA magazine. Is it supposed to be folded? Are the lines meaningless? Please help before I go insane