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6 Questions Paper Experts Want Designers to Ask…

…to save you time, money, and a heck of a lot of headaches!

No two design projects are alike. But designers and art directors everywhere can save time and avoid costly complications down the road by bringing in a paper expert during initial concept stages.

If you don’t, “you’re just leaving it to the wind, more or less,” says Alan Pohl, an account manager in the corporate solutions group at Millcraft. And while most printers can help with general paper selection, “paper distributors have a knowledge base that’s usually more extensive and higher up the chain. We can answer some of the really tough questions and often expedite the process,” says Pohl.

Pohl recommends asking the following questions to ensure your next project isn’t blown off course by unanticipated paper problems:

  1. What are the size, quantity, budget, and deadline for my project? These four drivers heavily influence available paper options. The earlier a paper distributor is involved, the more options you’ll have.
  1. Who’s my target audience, and what’s the objective of the printed piece?Depending on the objective, an expert can steer you to the appropriate substrate (a specific paper, or perhaps a polyester, Mylar, vinyl, thin piece of wood, or other option) that might bring home that objective more than another.
  1. What printing technology or device will be used? Running the job on an offset press or digital printer—or a combination of the two—will impact what attributes the paper should have.
  1. What printing techniques might I add? Some papers stand up better than others to foils, embossing, coatings, and additional techniques that you may wish to incorporate.
  1. Does my piece need to be eco-friendly? Perhaps your audience values papers certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) ®. Plus, recycled and recyclable options continue to expand.
  1. Has this ever been done before? Get creative and go crazy! Just be sure to secure samples and do test runs first.