Why Does Anyone Care About Paper?
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Paper on the Walls Changed My Direction

Written by in Inspire

Why Papers Matter to Me

Meaningful Work

Last month I enjoyed some client projects that reminded me how much fun design can be when you care about the work. The experiences encouraged me to seek more meaningful work, including writing about why paper matters.

How do you see paper? Is it just a blank sheet? Or a way to connect?  A way to make the message more permanent? For me, it’s an intimate and lasting way to communicate thoughts and ideas to others. It feels permanent, even if it is not.

Field Paper Show

Field Paper Show

The Field Paper Show in Omaha draws every major paper vendor to my home town. There, I grabbed up samples that attracted my attention. Above, Neenah Paper’s quick reference guide, some print samples of ENVIRONMENT®  Papers, and a business card from French Paper.

In the mid 90s, the poster-filled walls of the college art department inspired me. At the time I was taking art classes thinking teaching was my plan, but the ever-changing variety of posters I’d see every day spoke to me in ways the images I was making in drawing class could not. This revelation changed the direction of my interests — and changed my career before it started.

Invitation Design

Tactile Character

Paper lends communications tactile character. These invitations mark my company’s 12 anniversary. Printed on Neenah’s CRANE’S LETTRA® Cover, ECRU,  22oC, with edge printing. The paper’s weight — its thickness — allowed me to offer recipients beautiful objects that speak of its importance to me, and keepsakes they can use to inspire their dreams and aspirations.

Envelope Design

Worth the Wait

New papers always teach me something. The invitations were delivered with twelve stickers in CLEARFOLD® Translucent Papers A6 envelopes, from Neenah Paper. Translucent papers don’t absorb ink like standard papers, so I have to plan for extra time for the ink to dry. These envelopes went to press a month before our planned ship date.

Back in 1997, when I graduated,  I thought “cool” design projects were music packaging, annual reports, and client stationery. Then, printed paper was everywhere, on everything. Nowadays, I realize I was thinking wrong. The best projects have always been those remembered, that solve problems, that make a difference. The project can be music packaging, a poster, or a website. But they are always, in one form or another, design.

Poster Design by Donovan Beery

“Why Does Anyone Care About Paper?”

I created a type-only poster to share why paper matters to me.  I designed it to look like the work that inspired me when I started studying design. Download and print a copy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it. Print it on a Neenah Paper sheet, if you wish. I hung one in my office to remind me to never stop thinking about how design and paper can make a difference.