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Paper choice is king in the world of print. It influences every design. When the vibe is about everything going digital, let’s remember the power of paper.

Paper comes in more variety than ever before and can be cut and folded and bound in ways only limited by a designer’s imagination. A finished piece can evoke a feeling or a mood when viewed or touched, appealing to senses that our televisions, computers or smart phones can never imitate.

Paper can be embossed, debossed and foil stamped to name a few treatments. It is finished with many varieties of dull or gloss varnishes, or both. Varnish and coatings do more than protect a printed sheet from smudges, scratches and fingerprints. Varnish gives designers the ability to do on paper what could never be done in digital media. They can be tinted, scented, textured imitating a look of concrete, or made soft to the touch like silk, or hit with high gloss to simulate a feeling of water on a page. Glitter can be added for a pearlescent look, or a three-dimensional effect can be achieved with a thermochromatic UV coating, creating an illusion of an image raising off the page.

Varnish and coatings can project completely different looks depending the sheet of paper on which it is applied: silk, matte, gloss, smooth, canvas, vellum, felt, metallic, parchment, recycled, even papers that feel like plastic... the possibilities are endless.

And then there is the weight (thickness) of the paper, and oh, yes, the binding. Paper can come together in every which way imaginable, everything from glued to stitched with a colored thread, or maybe even a grommet?

Paper brings energy, attitude and mood to products like business cards, invitations, packaging, signage, and a company’s brand identity to name a few. The tactile quality and design possibilities of the world where paper lives digital media cannot visit. And paper is always evolving so the paper trail goes on and on and on.