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A Right Brain/Left Brain Approach to Producing Successful Print

The theory is people are either right-brain thinkers (creative) or left-brain thinkers (analytical). We require both halves of our brain to complete tasks. Producing successful print collateral is no different.

Agencies today need to create a print piece that not only wows the client but also makes a lasting impression on the target audience, drives an impactful response and also stays within budget.

Throughout this process, constant collaboration from both the creative (right brain) and process details (left brain) need to be in sync, working together every step of the way to ensure the brand message is conveyed in the best possible way.  Millcraft worked with one automotive company looking for a change and willing to consider a shift from the standard slick, glossy papers commonly used by the industry, to a custom substrate employing the concept of haptics to make a meaningful brand connection with its audience.


The idea of a custom substrate was driven by the art direction and lifestyle concept of the campaign. Millcraft Corporate Solutions Account Manager Kelley Walsh, was struck by the sheer beauty of the imagery. She thought the photography reminiscent of a coffee table book. She suggested running a trial on some alternative substrates to examine the impact different finishes might have on the overall effect of the piece.

The project features dark and moody photography, which lends itself to substrates with a softer feel to them. We worked closely with the mill and printer, refining options based on press performance and production requirements of the project. In the end, the client chose to go with a custom sheet.

Millcraft identified an opportunity for the client to differentiate their product in a highly competitive segment. While we are the substrate experts, involving the printer early on in the process was a critical part of insuring a successful outcome.

Millcraft and the printer created an option the agency hadn’t yet considered but fell in love with once they saw samples. The result is a bespoke paper that enhances the connection between brand and consumer. Paper’s inherent tactile quality taps into our sense of embodied cognition, influencing the perceived ownership.


To insure the best results of the final project, we produced multiple dummies at the beginning of the process. Millcraft Detroit’s Design Center built numerous comps to help plan for production needs. This allowed for examination of every detail – from grain direction, to bindery considerations, to mailing costs.

After finalizing the paper specs, Millcraft worked with the mill to secure special pricing. We locked in price protection for the duration of the campaign as well as plan for special manufacturing needs. This included forecasting production runs and insuring delivery timelines well in advance of press dates.


A successful solution to any challenge requires tapping into both the left and right sides of the brain. The same goes for producing exceptional results in a print campaign. By utilizing a collaborative approach between Millcraft, the printer and the creative team, we achieved a well-rounded, custom solution.

To learn more about the right brain/left brain characteristics that affect the design and print process, request your copy of the current issue of InStock Magazine.