Mohawk has a compelling new portfolio of synthetic materials that are ideal for short-run projects, from rigid waterproof film to embedded magnets to repositionable vinyl window cling. “The embedded magnet product alone has generated a ton of interest because it offers any digital printer the ability to produce 4-up, 6x9" postcards with an integrated, pop-out magnet for high impact, high value direct mail,” Harrold points out.
Appleton Coated manufactures Utopia brand coated papers, as well as distributing the Curious Collection from Paris-based Arjowiggins.
Utopia appeals to marketers for use in such items as brochures, annual reports, and direct mail. Curious Collection offers a half dozen diverse product lines, from Curious Translucents to Curious Metallics, which provide sheen and shimmer, along with tactility, Goldinger says. It is used in stationery, packaging, menus, invitations, fashion and lifestyle brand promotions, greeting cards, and brochures that require a shiny cover.
Nekoosa’s niche is specialty substrates. “We’ve concentrated on products that help the short-run and digital printer,” says Cummins.
“One example is Synaps OM, which stands for offset matte, a polyester substrate with a specialized coating on it that allows it to be printed offset with standard inks. It comes right out of the delivery dry, like uncoated offset.”
The polyester substrate is exceptionally durable, weatherproof, and replaces laminating, he adds. It’s used in direct mail and custom signage as well as restaurant menus. “It has a silky finish that stands out,” Cummins says.
Neenah Paper cannot yet divulge details of a new paper product soon to be unveiled. In the meantime, an old standby, Astrobrights, continues to garner tremendous loyalty. Astrobrights command fully 75 to 80 percent of market share among brights, Hogan says. “A lot of these papers are used by printers for flyers, direct mail, packaging, greeting cards, invitations, announcements, and inserts,” she adds.
As for the next few years, Cummins believes there will be increasing numbers of specialty substrates introduced. “Paper mills are being driven away from the commodity side of the business,” he says. “That’s especially true of those that aren’t the biggest and best. Either these mills will change, become nimble, and find unique substrates that attract marketers, or they won’t be able to compete, and will go out of business.”
“Mohawk is committed to expanding its portfolio of fine paper and specialty substrates to extend its offering of best-in-class materials for the broadest range of print applications,” says Harrold. “An example is the new dimensional portfolio we introduced at Graph Expo. These are digital sheets which are pre-die-cut and pre-scored for packaging and point-of-purchase uses. Designers design to the template, they are run through a digital press, and then you punch out and easily construct wine bottle boxes, gift boxes, pocket folders, or golf ball boxes—and there will be more configurations introduced over time. We are very excited about giving quick printers the ability to provide short run packaging items without having to outsource the die-cutting and converting process. It’s a turn-key packaging designed to help printers grow their business and delight their customers.”
Asked if we’ve seen most of the innovation possible, Goldinger says no. “I don’t see a ceiling to this,” he says. “Creative printers and creative designers are just starting to explore the capabilities of printing, both traditional and digital, as well as finishing. So I think there’s going to be a resurgence in print that showcases the best in printing and design.”