We’re here in Fort Mill, South Carolina at Domtar Headquarters, and we’re talking to Ashley Maydak. Hey Ashley Maydak, how are you doing today?
Great. I’m so glad you guys are here.
Tell everybody a little bit about what you do at Domtar Paper first.
I am the Marketing Brand Manager, so I manage some of our brands, including Cougar, Lynx, and ink jet. We have a wide variety of brands that have been around for a long time. For example, Cougar has been around for 45 years.
Tell the people watching this who are mostly designer and print buyers, why paper choice is different now than it used to be in the past.
Well, there’s a lot of ways to answer that but technology is different than it used to be in the past and there’s a lot of different options for technology. It’s just really, really important to pick the right paper for the right technology that you’re using. A lot of marketers and designers, they don’t really … They kind of like to think that they can skip that step, but really to get the final results that you want, whether it’s amazing print quality or whether it’s just trying to keep your piece intact to arrive through the mail in the way it was intended and not look all scratched up. You have to pick the right paper for the right technology. And our papers are specifically engineered with work with specific technologies.
So paper is a technology, too. I mean, as-
When we talk in Project Peacock, we talk about paper being a technology. So maybe explain a little about why paper is a technology.
Well, when we actually … When we say we engineer our papers, we really do engineer our papers. We have people at different levels from the mill level to the product management level to the testing level that create things that are needed in the market and work with original equipment manufacturers such as Canon, Ricoh, just to name a few. There’s a bunch of them out there. Just to make sure that we’re developing the most optimal paper that will accomplish what people need.
Since we are talking to the print specifiers or the creators in this video, what are some considerations that first thing, before we get into the applications, what are the considerations for choosing the best paper for that project?
If it’s a printed piece that’s part of a brand and at this point, let’s say you want to just print business cards, but maybe in six months you want to do a brochure, you want to pick a paper that has a lot of different options because you really want that consistency for your brand. Even white papers, once you put ink on them, the ink looks different with different paper brands because they’re made at different mills with different machinery and with different pulp types. So there’s a lot of things to consider.
So specifically, you want to try to stick to one brand of paper for a specific brand or product, just to convey that message consistently. You want to pick a line that has a lot of options. Options for digital, maybe options for ink jet, if that’s a good choice for you. Lots of different weights and sizes, so you’re not stuck in a box where you have to create a little bit of inconsistency for your brand.
You also want to consider the type equipment that you’re printing on. You want to not only pick a paper for a specific technology, but you also want to make sure that you’re designing for the right size for certain equipment because some equipment does have certain size constraints and some paper has certain size constraints, too. So if you’re under a tight deadline, you want to make sure that you’re picking a size that’s stocked, for example, instead of having to do a make order.
So Domtar is a paper company and paper companies always have the best samples. But you have an awesome program where you actually invite designers and agencies and brands who use your paper to send in samples and you call that the Blue Line Gallery. Can you tell people a little bit about that and then let’s look at some of the really cool samples that you’ve been sent.
Our gallery is about six years old now. It started when … You know, we’ve always received a bunch of different samples from printers and designers that have created amazing things with our paper and just wanted to share it with us. So we decided to get their permission and put it online as a source of inspiration for other people, because everybody gets in a design rut or a creative rut. Maybe even printers need help helping their clients when they get in those ruts. So it’s a source of inspiration for people to come up with really, really great ideas. But it’s also a great way to share what you’ve done. If you’re proud of something, why not share it with everyone.
And we know from our Project Peacock visits, that your samples have inspired people to projects right as we’re sitting there. They’re like wait, I want to do that.
That is such a good feeling to know that we’ve helped people in that regard. I think with Project Peacock we’ve helped so many people.
So we were just talking about your Blue Line Gallery, which is awesome. But you also create a Blue Line Magazine, which you also use as an application sample.
We absolutely do. It’s a complimentary subscription. You can sign up at domtarblueline.com. One of our issues. And for our friends in Quebec, we actually produce a French version of the magazine and it’s produced on an ink jet machine. It’s a smaller quantity, so it just made more sense for us to do that. But because we pick the right paper for the right technology, when you lay the French version and the English version side by side, you really have to look to notice the differences because the colors are just as bright, the detail is there. So that’s really a great example of how far technology has come.
So this is one of our favorite new pieces. It’s a great addition to our gallery. It comes from the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. They produce a lot of books. That’s a great revenue generator for them out of their gift shop and they use a lot of our paper. In this instance, they used our new Lynx cream white offering and it’s great because the subject matter is outlaws and armadillos. It talks about Willie Nelson, people like that; country in the roaring ’70s. So the cream white paper gives it a nice, nostalgic feel and just the right touch of grittiness to add to these black and white photos, but you still get those vibrant colors.
This piece came to us from our friends in Flourish. They are a design agency located in Cleveland, Ohio. We love this piece. It has this really cool die cut here in the folder. But it’s an excellent example of how using the right uncoated paper you can get that excellent detail reproduction, those bright vivid colors, those nice even solids. And we really love this piece because it could have been something very ordinary and they took it and they did something really special with it with this die cut.
And is the folder Cougar and the inside pages Cougar?
Yes and the Cougar line is very vast. We have a lot of great heavyweight options. So we go up to one at 60 pound, double thick covers. So that’s one of the things that you really want to look into if you’re picking a paper brand for a specific brand, a product or service. You want to make sure you have all those options so you can do whatever you need to do.
So this piece I love. This is also a new entry to our gallery. Most of it was produced digitally. Inside it’s printed on our Cougar paper, produced on a HP Indigo press. You can see that excellent detail, so if anyone out there believes that digital hasn’t come a long way, you really need to go in our gallery and check out this piece because it’s beautiful. This is a great example. A lot of times people still think of digital as that option where, you know, I got to do something quick and cheap, so I’ll go digital. They only need to produce a small number of them so they went digital because that made the most sense. But they didn’t have to compromise on quality.
So this is a fantastic invitation printed on our Cougar paper. It was printed on an HP Indigo and it was for the AIGA St. Louis, an event there. What I really love about it is that it really shows how far digital has come. Not only are the colors fantastic and the detail’s great, but this whole thing is Cougar. And this shininess, you might think this is a coated paper, but it was actually done on the press.
This piece was printed on our Husky brand of paper.
Yeah, we love Husky.
It’s an exceptional example of design as well as print. The incredible fluorescence, the minimal color pallette and I love this piece. It was created for the Women’s Foundation and the title of it is, We Work For Change. It’s an excellent example of just how a minimal color pallette with fluorescent color and really heavy ink coverage can really create a powerful message.
So Ashley, do you know why the design agency chose the paper that they chose for this project?
Well, yes. They picked an oversized tabloid format and an offset paper is more geared towards that. But with Husky, you can still have those bright, vivid colors and that ink coverage and really the apacity even at the Husky level is fantastic. So with that, they can have the feel and the … I guess, the emotion that they wanted but still get that excellent print quality for that level of paper.
So this piece is actually an interesting story. It was created by Capital One Canada, an in-house design firm. But they created it for the RGD In-House Design Awards. Capital One Canada chose Cougar as the brand for this paper because they wanted to use those multiple weights within this piece. It’s a book and then it has a poster wrapped around it. But there’s also a lot of solids here and they wanted that nice, even coverage with the black, but also those bright, vivid colors that really make those fluorescents pop.
So this is a little different. This is a packaging example.
It is. It’s a label actually. But it was printed on Cougar vellum is what they chose because the Olive & Sinclair Brand, the designer reached out to the printer and said you know, I want something that really matches this nostalgic, vintage feel so they selected Cougar vellum for that little bit of a toothy edge. But then this was printed on their HP Indigo, so they added this really outstanding in-line technique and anybody can see that this would really stand out on a shelf.
Oh, this is actually one of my favorite samples. I love showing this one at Project Peacock.
Yeah, this is the direct mail component. There was actually a brochure that had a jacket but it’s a great example of how sometimes you just need a little bit of creativity to create a special effect and not necessarily a special effect to create a special effect. But this is just a translucent red paper used, so when you pull out the insert, a message is revealed.
And it’s just done with ink and paper.
Right. No lenticulars, no 3D lenses, no augmented reality.
Just 100% creativity, really and just knowing what paper can do.
We just reviewed some really awesome samples but paper companies, especially Domtar, produce amazing swatch books and amazing paper promotions that give people way more education. What are the typical things that go into producing those and what are the ones that you have available to people?
Well, we try to produce a wide variety of items that will help people with paper selection. Swatch books are a very useful tool to show the variety available within the brand. There’s also printed samples to help you select which one is right for you. It’s a great tool when you’re at the beginning of the project when you’re selecting a paper. If you’re selecting a paper for a specific brand, for instance, like oh, this has a variety of cover weights, a variety of text weights, has a digital option. This is perfect for anything I may need. Swatch books are a great tool to have in your arsenal for that and it’s also a great tool to communicate to your printer with.
We really want to create relationships with the people that use our paper. So to get ahold of our promos and our swatch books and to subscribe to our Blue Line Magazine, please reach out to us and you can also get more information about our products through your paper merchant or your printer.
Ashley, thank you so much for your time and thank you so much for being one of the pioneers of Project Peacock. I really appreciate everything you do for me and for the industry.
Thank you so much, Deborah. I can’t thank you enough for being a part of Project Peacock. It’s been a wonderful experience to not only showcase our promotions, but also educate people and help them make their decisions about paper and print.