By: Paul Mitcham, Director of Marketing and Sales Support, YUPO Corporation America
For graphic designers, artists and other creative professionals, generating a continual stream of fresh ideas and novel looks is essential to success. Whether creating a corporate brochure, a colorful children’s book or a cutting-edge art collection, these professionals are faced with the daily task of differentiating their work while conveying a premium, fresh and dynamic image.
Material selection becomes an important ingredient for successfully executing projects in this ever-evolving industry. synthetic paper is rapidly growing in popularity as creative professionals look for innovative ways to make their projects stand out. Thanks to recent technological advancements, a new generation of synthetics is pushing the limit of what artists and designers can accomplish with paper. Offering a unique combination of aesthetic and performance possibilities, synthetic paper is becoming essential for a wide variety of applications, including annual reports, brochures and catalogs to maps, menus and paintings.
Choosing an alternative substrate and leveraging its advantages can aid creative professionals in developing these fresh looks. Successfully using synthetic paper can be achieved by simply considering four key elements: graphic reproduction, unique visual effects, durability and longevity, and environmental advantages.
1. Graphic Reproduction
The ability to showcase sharp text and colorful images is essential when working in print. Highly resistant to smudges and stains, synthetic papers can deliver the crisp look that artists and designers need to convey the quality of their work. Unlike traditional paper, where ink is absorbed, synthetic paper allows for inks to rest on top, creating bold images and vibrant color reproduction. The bright white background and gloss finishes further provide a distinctive canvas for unlimited creativity and effervescent results.
Seeking to capitalize on the advantages of in-store marketing and increase local attendance, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park needed to enter the lion’s den with an eye-catching in-store shelf tag marketing gift cards offering discount admissions. The team needed the tags to be exceptionally visible on store shelves. To meet the ZSSD’s expectations and catch consumer attention, M&C Saatchi (Los Angeles, CA) designed a T-shaped hanging shelf tag, incorporating a lush green forest background and animals peeping through to create the animal-themed graphics and build brand awareness. To enhance shelf impact through bold images and vibrant colors, printing company Westamerica Graphics recommended YUPO® 74lb. Cover synthetic paper to highlight the dynamic graphic reproductions of the animals and forestry.
2. Unique Visual Effects
Integrating unique optical effects into creative projects is an effective and entertaining way to engage viewers. synthetic papers can employ a range of advanced finishes to provide artists and graphic designers with the tools to draw attention to their work and communicate on a more intimate level with end-users. The smooth and silky texture also provides a unique feel and promotes a premium image.
Texture varnish is another special effect that can add a unique tactile element, encouraging readers to reach out and touch printed projects. Employing a spot gloss finish provides creative professionals with the ability to emphasize important graphics on printed pieces, including logos, key messaging and iconic imagery.
Additionally, adopting a translucent effect can allow designers to deliver modern aesthetics and engage reader curiosity. Unlike traditional papers, synthetic papers can provide this distinctive look in a variety of print media.
Well-known brand owner General Motors is always seeking original concepts for its marketing collateral. The company recently turned to accomplished ad agency Modernista! (Boston, MA) to design the new H3 Hummer Brochure. Complete with a sleek design and high-impact images, the brochure included one very detailed element- a translucent insert used to create a three-dimensional interplay between the car exterior and interior. To produce the aesthetic and performance results envisioned for the project, Modernista! chose to create the insert with YUPO® Translucent synthetic paper.
Hummer’s commitment to innovation was essential as agency designers conceptualized the unique inserts for the Hummer H3 brochure. Providing a graphically enhanced, aerial view of the Hummer car, the insert only reveals peek-through images of the car’s undercarriage until readers turn the insert page to reveal the detailed image of the vehicle’s skeleton.
3. Durability and Longevity
Creating projects that can withstand frequent consumer handling can present a tough challenge for many graphic designers. For these projects, tear resistance can be the difference between a long product lifespan and high-quality image or consumer dissatisfaction with a product. Due to their unique composition, synthetic papers do not possess the inherent grains that traditional papers do, providing a level of tear resistance suitable for rough consumer handling without the added expense and rigidity of lamination.
synthetic papers are ideal for projects that will need to stand up to harsh environments. Developing printed pieces that are waterproof or can withstand rigorous terrain makes many designers cringe. Traditional papers must undergo a lamination process to protect the paper and ink from exposure to water. This process, however, can add rigidity and can eventually fail after multiple exposures to water as the lamination becomes worn. synthetic papers, however, offer a range of possibilities because they do not absorb water and offer flexibility beyond lamination. For menus, outdoor and underwater guides, or maps, synthetic papers have taken designers to the tops of mountains and the depths of the sea.
Scuba divers and snorkelers enjoy the fascinating array of underwater inhabitants that they see while swimming in tropical reefs. But even experienced divers have a hard time identifying all the different species they encounter. While on a diving vacation in Hawaii in February 2004, Julia Mark became frustrated with the fact that she had to make several trips back to the shore to refer to the pile of fish identification books she kept back on the beach. When she returned to her home in Portland, Oregon, Julia began working on the idea of taking the fish guide where she actually needs it: underwater. While showing her prototype, she learned about YUPO synthetic paper, the unique synthetic substrate that would make all the difference for her creation. Thus, the original FishFlips™ books were born.
4. Environmental Advantages
Design firms and book publishers are increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of the products they use. Although synthetic paper is not new to the market, its ever-growing popularity has many interested in knowing more about its environmental impact, sustainability, and recyclability.
synthetic papers have very little environmental impact, and are typically made from different types of plastic like polyolefin resin or polypropylene. Because it is entirely inorganic, no trees are utilized in the manufacturing process. No ozone layer-threatening emissions and nearly no waste byproducts are produced during the manufacturing of synthetic paper. Scraps are recycled within the production line and reused. The overall manufacturing process also consumes significantly less energy than a comparably sized traditional paper mill, and the production requires no bleach, chlorine, peroxide or halogens to achieve its brilliant whiteness.
synthetic paper is also 100 percent recyclable. Recycled polypropylene plastic, for example, is recovered as plastic resin and may be used in food containers, yarns and fabrics, upholstery, luggage and car seats. The recovered resin demonstrates the same performance as virgin plastics.
The Battery Conservancy, based in lower Manhattan, NY, set out to create a unique guidebook showcasing Battery Park’s Gardens of Remembrance. A tribute to the victims and survivors of 9/11, the 10,000 square foot gardens on the park’s scenic waterfront consist of different native perennials that add varied colors and textures to the park’s landscape. The guidebook features over 240 striking images of the garden, with an illustrated index of the 113 plants, including information on moisture, sunlight and growing zones. The Conservancy wanted the guidebook to be re-used for many years to help readers create gardens of their own. YUPO® synthetic paper was able to deliver the razor-sharp graphic reproduction and durability that the Conservancy needed to adequately convey the brilliance of the gardens’ design.
Whether looking for optimal graphic reproduction, a unique visual effect or incredible strength and durability, synthetic paper provides creative professionals with distinctive advantages to make projects stand out. It also helps to know that projects done on synthetic paper, like YUPO, exceed their intended life-cycle without compromising the environment.