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5 Paper Sustainability Myths — and the Truth About the Paper Industry

Source: Domtar Paper

Paper often gets a bad rap, but despite fears about paper’s impact on the environment, it’s actually a practical and sustainable choice for many parts of daily living. We’re learning more about the benefits of supplementing technology with print when it comes to education, estate planning and even celebrating life’s milestones. And thanks to our industry’s continuing focus on paper sustainability, our environmental footprint decreases every year.

We live in a world that is growing more conscious of the environmental effects of consumer choices. In the flurry of information about making sustainable choices, some myths about paper sustainability have proliferated.

It’s time to clear the air on five of the most persistent paper sustainability myths.

Myth 1: Cutting down trees to make paper destroys habitats.

Responsible forestry and a thriving forest products industry help sustain wildlife habitats. When landowners are able to make a living by successfully managing these natural resources, they are incentivized to keep forests as forests.

Sustainable forest management requires thinning tree stands to create open areas while maintaining older, denser canopies in other areas. Wildlife habitat diversity helps ensure ample food supply for wildlife and species’ ability to mate and thrive.

We support several regional efforts that bolster wildlife habitats in WisconsinPennsylvaniaSouth Carolina, Quebec and other areas.

Myth 2: Paper production contributes to water pollution.

Nearly 90 percent of the water we use at our pulp and paper mills comes from local sources, such as nearby lakes and rivers. It’s the same water where we fish, swim and ski, so we want it to be safe and clean.

That’s why after we’ve used water, we treat it onsite and return almost 90 percent of it to its source, often cleaner than it was when we took it out. We will continue to improve our water conservation efforts, as this is an important part of paper sustainability.

Myth 3: Paper manufacturing is bad for the climate.

It takes energy to make the paper we use in thousands of everyday products. The good news is that much of that energy comes from renewable sources. In recent years, 75 percent of the energy used in Domtar pulp and paper mills has come from renewable, carbon-neutral biomass sources; it’s largely generated from wood processing and pulping byproducts.

Also, since 2010, Domtar has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions at pulp and paper mills by 18 percent. We’re working hard to not only set but also to raise the environmental standard for the paper industry.

Myth 4: Electronic communications are more sustainable than paper communications.

Worldwide, billions of smartphones, computers and other connected devices are used every day. Making these devices requires fossil fuels, chemicals, water and precious or rare-earth minerals, as well as other components that are detrimental to the environment, such as lead, arsenic and mercury.

While sustainability-minded consumers often focus on the environmental effects of paper production, they should also understand the facts about electronic communication before declaring it a better choice. The updated report “Print and Paper Myths and Facts” by Two Sides North America offers important data about e-waste, chemical use and greenhouse gas emissions that result from computer and smartphone manufacturing. This data includes the environmental effects of e-mail, texting, social media and other electronic communications.

Myth 5: People don’t recycle paper.

Americans are doing a better job recycling paper than ever before. Paper recovery rates in the United States reached an all-time high of 68 percent in 2018. Recycling paper not only keeps the material out of landfills but also prevents methane, a greenhouse gas, from forming when paper and other organic materials decompose.

Thanks to paper recycling, Domtar’s book paper has a very long shelf life — quite literally. We also make stationery and copy paper that, after it serves its initial purpose, comes back for encore performances as paper bags, birthday cards, gift boxes, egg cartons or, eventually, toilet tissue.

Paper sustainability is important to us and the entire paper industry for environmental and economic reasons. But we also know that paper offers many advantages that electronic communications don’t. Read more about why you should choose paper for security, memory preservation, education, office communications and more:

How to get over fear of the blank page

At some point in our careers, we all come face to face with that ever-paralyzing “Blank Page.” That monster-eyed project you have no clue how to approach or where to begin. As a lifelong designer–visualizing things that haven’t existed before–that ambiguity has littered nearly every project I’ve touched. Like it or not, it’s simply inherent in the creative profession. But I’ve learned that how you handle “fear of the unknown” can define your career.

Years ago, when touch screens were considered cutting edge, my team and I were tasked with designing the interface for an interactive kiosk. We had few, if any, real examples to inform our thinking.

Completely muddled on how to navigate, we started from scratch. Pushing through discomfort, we met in a war room each day—exchanging ideas and learning everything we could about the technology. We used curiosity to inch us forward—piecing together bits and pieces of nothing. Eventually, we were able to pull concrete ideas out of obscurity and create something pretty darn cool.

I’ve used that experience as a model throughout my career to help confront, work through, and brave ambiguity. If you can see the unknown as opportunity—to listen, get curious, research, and think—you can overcome fear, establish vision, lead a team, and inspire the necessary confidence to co-create. Not to mention, gain invaluable conviction in yourself. Here are some tips on how to overcome fear of the blank page:


Founder Marco Perry of product design firm Pensa admits, “All new projects start with an intimidating blank page, especially with established products that already work well. How can you improve something that’s been designed a thousand times?” To get beyond the blocks, Pensa doubles down on immersive research.

While collaborating with OneDrop to reimagine the diabetic medical experience, Pensa’s design team lived the life of a diabetic for a week—needling their bodies and testing blood multiple times a day. Reinventing a luggage brand, Pensa flight-hopped cheap airlines seeking inspired ways to improve the worst travel experience. And while struggling with ideas for new deck-staining tools, they built an entire deck in their office—complete with boards, balusters, stockade fence, and chaise longue. “It looked like the backyard of Anytown USA, except in a Brooklyn loft office with a whiteboard. That’s where we brainstormed, tested ideas, and hung out until we cracked the problem,” says Perry. “If you’re stuck, it’s because you’re sitting at a desk–go live in the world you’re designing.”


Practice being open to even the wackiest ideas. D.C.-based Design Army took “radically open-minded” to the next level when grappling with exorbitant photo-shoot studio fees and travel costs. Founders Pum and Jake Lefebure imagined different “what-if” scenarios and came up with the crazy, yet inspired, idea to build their own photography space–one large enough to rent to other local designers and artists. The egg of an idea evolved into recently launched At Yolk, a 10,000-square-foot creative hub designed to be a testing ground and play space for the D.C. creative community with master classes, fashion and art events, and a massive photography studio. “Good ideas can come from anywhere and might sound nutty at first,” says founder Pum Lefebure. “But imagining ‘what if’ is key.”


The designers at the social innovation firm Daylight Design, creators of digital experiences like UNICEF Kid Power, admit they often work with clients with fuzzy visions that are difficult to pin down. While building a medical education app to aid patients with chronic health issues, Daylight found themselves stuck in project ambiguity. “We initially assumed we were creating an interactive app and website with everything that entails,” says founder Sven Newman. “But the client kept rejecting designs based on our best judgment as UX professionals.”

So the team stepped back, nixed the website notion, and explored wildly divergent concepts—sketching animated video stories, interactive illustration screens, even a printable worksheet. As a result, they were able to isolate the client’s vision: a website that could be navigated based on drawings and shapes, rather than text. “One of the best breakthrough tools is to kick all preconceptions out the door and visualize a wide range of ideas,” says Newman.


Navigating the unknown is all about getting iron-clad clear on your purpose. For design firm Noise 13, who was given nearly free rein to brand the tech accessories company Amber & Ash, setting guidelines was crucial to pushing through obscurity. “We were essentially given a blank slate: create a brand, from scratch, in the hyper-competitive market of cell-phone accessories,” says founder Dava Guthmiller. To stay on track, Noise 13 made a detailed plan of attack to give the startup a unique voice inspired by fashion, runway colors, and Pantone chips. “The clearer your goal, the faster a plan will manifest,” Guthmiller says.


There’s no perfect way to brave the unknown. As famed artist and experimental composer John Cage says, “Begin anywhere.” The act of starting is more important and courageous than anything. First ideas don’t have to be winners–often they aren’t. Eventually you’ll find the right one. But isn’t making something from nothing the whole joy of being a creative? We fill blank slates and empty drawing boards with ideas that allow people to engage with the world differently. Through my years as a designer, I’ve learned that making great work means leaning into obscurity—but not getting stuck there.

Arianna Orland is a creative director, user experience designer, and artist. She is the founder of Paper Jam Press and In/Visible Talks, a design conference on the creative process cofounded with Dava Guthmiller of Noise 13.

BOND Acquires Western Printers & Lithographers

On April 23rd, 2019, Western Printers will merge with Bond Reproductions. With a combined 68 years of experience in the print industry, Bond will continue its
focus on quality and service.

We feel confident Western Printers will be a good fit with Bond and that we can support the values they have built over their years in print.

The clients of Bond and Western will benefit from an expanded range of services and talent. Whether it’s offset or digital printing, we will continue to meet or exceed your expectations.

We are excited to tell you more, please contact us at 604.683.1251 or

The Design Principles Featuring Pum Lefebure – Texture

Living in today’s on-screen world, the idea of flat design has become commonplace. Though designers are becoming more adept at using on-screen techniques to create dimension and the visual sensation of a texture, the sense of touch is missing from our touch screens. Texture has become even more important, and appreciated, as one of the major graphic design principles.

From brand identity to packaging, Pum Lefebure, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Design Army, is a purveyor in the strategy of using texture in graphic design – a strategy that plays a big part in the Design Principles promotion Design Army created for Neenah.

We asked Lefebure share her thoughts about how texture acts as a major graphic design principle.

When should designers think about texture?

If a piece of graphic design is simple and minimal, that’s when you should think about texture. You can have a really good piece of typography on a smooth paper and you can have exactly the same design on a texture paper, and each are going to give you a completely different feeling. If you emboss or deboss a piece of typography…all of a sudden your work has dimension.

Paper helps achieve texture as a graphic design principle.

How is texture used to elevate design?

Texture adds dimension. For example, we are working on a prototype of a box for a fine jeweler. If you look at the design, it’s really simple typography on a white background. Because we used LEATHERLIKE® paper to communicate an elevated luxury brand, the printed piece looks richer and more luxurious. Instead of simple foil stamping, we used textured foil to create the illusion of metal used in jewelry design. This is an example of how texture can easily take design from simple to intricate.

Paper helps achieve texture as a graphic design principle.

How do people respond to texture?

Imagine you give two identical teddy bears to a child. One is a smooth teddy and the other is a fluffy, very soft teddy. I’d be willing to bet you the child is going to go with the fluffy one first, because everyone responds to texture. When you look at a plush stuffed animal, it gives you a sense of comfort. It’s something you want to hold and cuddle. Texture adds another, and very different, level of emotional response. Creating an emotional response creates a higher likelihood of brand recall and brand loyalty.

What is a common mistake designers might make when it comes to texture?

A very common mistake in this digital age is to start designing something on the computer and working on the graphic design part without first looking at the material. This is especially true for packaging. You want to look at a swatchbook first, look at the kind of material to see what feeling you’re drawn to. For example, if I want something plastic-like and very smooth, I might pick PLIKE®Papers, and then I would go from there to decide what kind of design would look good on this material. We think about paper as the fabric to enhance our design. We start with texture, meaning we start with the paper first, before we even design anything.

Paper helps achieve texture as a graphic design principle.

Texture is just one of the 20 design principles featured in Neenah’s Design Principles promotion. Presented in a mysterious black box are 20 different beautifully designed and printed circles. Each designed for a specific principle, and each featuring a different luxurious paper from The Design Collection.


The Power of White Space: The Design Principles Featuring Pum Lefebure

The Design Principles Featuring Pum Lefebure — White Space

Pum Lefebure – let’s start with who she is (and really, what doesn’t she do?). Creative genius. Entrepreneur. Mom. Global speaker. Heck, she’s even made an appearance in an H&M ad campaign. Originally from Thailand and now the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Design Army, Lefebure’s global sensibility has made its mark in the world of American design: think the Academy Awards, Bloomingdales, Disney, The Ritz Carlton, and Pepsi. Check out @pumlefebure and @designarmy to see more of who she is and what she does.

Pum on White Space


Neenah, one of Lefebure’s favorite clients, recently asked her to work her magic to reimagine The Design Collection. In addition to completely reorganizing the portfolio into a three-part system, she and her team created a cool new piece called Design Principles. The promotion looks at the guiding concepts used to arrange the elements of design, such as white space, color, rhythm, hierarchy, and repetition. Follow @neenahpaper to see more about The Design Collection and Design Principles.

One of the hallmarks of Lefebure’s design aesthetic is white space so we asked and she answered…in case you didn’t catch all that this busy woman said in her video here are highlights.

Why white space?

I think we live in a world that’s a very noisy place right now. We are on the phone 24/7 there’s noise everywhere, you scroll down through your Instagram feed and everyone is talking, everyone is famous, and it’s just noise and noise and noise, so much so that I don’t even hear it anymore. I live in a house without color because each day, I want to come home to a blank canvas.

There is nothing I love more than white space. It allows me to create as much as I want within a physical blank space or as little as I want with a single word on a page. White space can be quiet, but can also be powerful.

white space 4

What is whitespace in graphic design?

Designers love it. Clients fear it. It’s critical for clear, effective design. And still, some think of white space as “negative.” But the best designers know better. Sometimes, it’s not what you see, but what you don’t see. That’s when white space offers the right amount of…well…nothing.

white space 5

What is the power of white space?

White space is what makes you stop and read a visual design, it makes you see what’s missing and draws on your feelings. Those who say that white space is wasted space are living in full fantasy.

White space 6

Is white space always white?

Although white is the obvious choice of color for white space, it’s not limited to just that. White space can be a solid color, a texture or any other visual that gives you the balance and pause so your design can communicate.

white space 7

How do you tell clients that white space is a good thing? 

Every client loves eye-catching design elements, so any “empty” spaces may seem wasteful. I often tell the client if everything is noisy how can anyone see or hear the design? White space is the pause in visual communication. It’s so important for us to communicate and educate our clients.

white space 7

Design Principles is a new promotion from Neenah. It’s a box of 20 “flash card” circles, each looking at a different design principle, each beautifully designed, each showcasing printing techniques, and, of course, each on a different beautiful paper from The Design Collection.

To get an up-close look at all the papers The Design Collection has to offer, go here to get a set of the new swatchbooks here. (While supplies last.)

We’ll be talking more about design principles with Lefebure in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

McDonald’s Happy Meals Now Come With Books Instead of Toys in New Zealand

Would you like a Matilda or BFG to go with your burger and fries? If you’re a young Kiwi, you just might get your wish. McDonald’s restaurants in New Zealand are ditching the Pokemon and Hello Kitty toys and filling their Happy Meal boxes with excerpts of Roald Dahl books instead, The Independent reports.

Jo Mitchell, director of marketing at McDonald’s New Zealand, says the global reading program is designed to inspire more children to take an interest in reading. Plus, the nostalgia surrounding Dahl’s books appeals to parents, too. “The Roald Dahl characters are ones that many parents will have enjoyed growing up, and it’s great to play a part in introducing them to a new generation,” Mitchell told The Independent.

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has paired books with children’s meals, though. The Happy Meal Readers program has given away about 450 million books since it launched in 2001. Sweden was the first country to implement the program, and McDonald’s outlets in New Zealand have been participating for about a decade. A similar program is ongoing in Malaysia, where children can choose between a toy or a book by English author Cressida Cowell (the author of How to Train Your Dragon).

Last year, McDonald’s announced it planned to expand the Readers program to more than 100 markets by 2019.

[h/t The Independent]  ||  BY EMILY PETSKO || Mental Floss

Real Books are so 2019 . . .

As our digital lives grow busier, consumers are reaching for something real.

Dave Pilcher via LinkedIn [ ]

It was the end of 2017, and there were a lot of rumblings about the resurgence of print books.

“Books have always had a fetishistic quality to them, with their dusty secretiveness,” wrote Alex Preston in The Guardian in December that year. “Now, though, it feels like we’re living through a special moment in the history of book design and beautiful books are everywhere.”

He cited several examples of that year’s new releases, including George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo and Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads, with its cover inspired by mosaic from the Imam mosque at Isfahan. Even the classics are getting makeovers, like the stunning Penguin Hardcover Classics reissue of the works of F Scott Fitzgerald, or its clothbound editions of Austen, Brontë and Dickens.

“It’s hard to know whether to read these books or caress them,” he wrote.

Apparently, we are doing both, if books sales figures are any indication.

“In the UK,” writes Natasha Frost in Quartz, “Nielsen BookScan recorded year-on-year book sale growth of 22 million pounds ($28 million). It’s likely that 2018 will top 2016’s total sales of 1.59 billion pounds, too, with booksellers on both sides of the Atlantic noting an anecdotal uptick in sales and browsing customers.”

As Frost notes, this bodes well for UK booksellers, and the same it seen here in the U.S. Indies, where the number of indie bookstores has grown since 2009, and sales of physical books are up for the past 5 straight years.

“We’re buying books, and we’re favoring the kind you can borrow, lend, or drop in the bath: In 2017, print book sales were up 10.8% from four years earlier,” Frost writes. “Between 2016 and 2017, however, e-book sales actually dropped 10 percent. In October [2018], book sales were at $699 million, up by $50 million from a year earlier.”

It’s more proof that nothing beats a real book when it’s time to curl up and relax … and the experience is not nearly as satisfying on a digital screen.

“There’s nothing like the smell of old books or the crack of a new one’s spine,” wrote Abigail Wise in Real Simple. “Plus, you’ll never run low on battery.”

Maybe it’s time to get yourself to one of those great new indie shops, or reactivate that library card and bring home a big stack. There’s nothing like going deep into a real book to help you relax, comprehend and remember.

Books … they’re so 2019.

Bottleneck at Printers Has Derailed Some Holiday Book Sales

By Alexandra Alter

Dec. 23, 2018 || NEW YORK TIMES

This year has been, much to everyone’s surprise, a blockbuster for the publishing industry. Despite the relentless news cycle, readers have bought books in droves. Hardcover sales are up, and unit sales at independent bookstores have risen 5 percent. Multiple titles — Bob Woodward’s “Fear,” Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s “The President Is Missing” and Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” — have passed the million-copy mark, while there is also a surprisingly strong appetite for literary fiction.

But what should be good news for publishers, agents and authors has created headaches during the crucial holiday sales season, as printing presses struggle to keep up with a surge in demand, creating a backlog that has led to stock shortages of popular titles.

Several of this year’s most critically acclaimed novels, including Lisa Halliday’s “Asymmetry,” Richard Powers’s “The Overstory” and Rebecca Makkai’s “The Great Believers,” were listed as out of stock on Amazon the week before Christmas after inventory ran low because publishers could not to reprint copies quickly enough. Best-selling and critically lauded nonfiction titles like David W. Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass, Samin Nosrat’s cookbook “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” and Ben Reiter’s “Astroball” were also unavailable on Amazon, with some titles showing shipping dates of two to four weeks from now.

The industrywide paper jam has been building for months — a result of shrinking and consolidation among printing companies, the collapse of one of the major printers this summer, global paper shortages and a tightening job market that’s made it difficult for printers to hire additional seasonal workers. But it has become increasingly acute and visible at the industry’s peak sales season, when consumers are shopping for must-read titles to give as gifts, and finding that Amazon’s virtual shelves are bare.

Paper as an Extension of Brand. Neenah Retail Revolution

CLASSIC Retail Revolution; a resource for designers

Written by 

Retail is alive and kicking! According to “Debunking the Apocalypse”, a 2017 report released by IHL Group, retailers were opening 4,080 more stores in 2017 than they were closing, and planned to open over 5,500 more in 2018. So, it’s time to start thinking about your retail clients.

Neenah is addressing the uprising with CLASSIC® Retail Revolution. Right from the start, this book’s multi-layered waterfall effect of overlapping sections encourages you to open and interact!

This promotion, designed by Dallas-based Matchbox Studios is filled with industry research data, retail marketing samples, and beautiful combinations of paper, design and printing. This high-energy, highly tactile book is a must-have design inspiration.

The 10 x 12 red Wire-o bound book focuses on four imagineered brands in the growing health and wellness market: 1) Knetics Athleisure & Sportswear, 2) Pack Men’s Apothecary & Skincare, 3) Desert Mothers Spa, and 4) Odyssey Food Subscription Service. This tool is designed to provide ideas on how to: Get customers in the door, engage and excite customers, spread the word, and build a following.

Get customers in the door: An oversized, visually dynamic postcard and a gift card in a die-cut carrier draw customers in — 44% of people say a gift card has sent them into a store they otherwise wouldn’t have visited.

When you look more closely, the Knetics brand is all about energy and movement and uses color to make an impact. Imperial Red is the star of this identity, and it appears here in three different textures, Stipple, Smooth, and Techweave. The hangtag embodies movement with grommeted combination of CLASSIC® Techweave, Imperial Red, CLASSIC CREST®, Windsor Blue, and CLASSIC® Linen, Chambray.

How to engage and excite customers: Research shows 70% of purchase decisions are made in-store. What drives those decisions? Packaging can be credited for 30% them.

When you’re marketing to men, you’re also marketing to the women who buy for them. Here we see the Pack brand, a men’s skincare line features on-trend shades of gray and an exfoliant product cleverly boxed in CLASSIC® Stipple to offer a textural description of its contents.

How to spread the word: Unique experiences and VIP treatment matters according to 66% of today’s consumers. This spa, Desert Mothers Hot Springs uses an oversized mailing to invite customers to a unique experience – oversized envelopes are reported to have the greatest household response rates.

This geometric, accordion-fold brochure uses dramatic diagonals, patterns, colors and images with the warm color and texture of CLASSIC CREST® Classic Natural White to invoke the essence of this event’s natural surroundings.

How to build a following: Odyssey is in the currently trending business of food subscriptions. In this evolving, highly competitive retail market the brands that succeed will be those that create an extraordinary customer experience. Standing out, and delivering on a brand’s promise, are key to securing and building a loyal following.

52% of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from an online merchant that delivers premium packaging. The pairing of CLASSIC® Linen, lifestyle photography, blind embossing and raised UV gloss create an elegant brand presentation that customers will want to keep.

Matchbox Design’s Principal/Creative Director, Liz Burnett said, “What we hoped to communicate in this piece is that a paper’s texture and color has the power of persuasion. CLASSIC: Retail Revolution shows how much more memorable printed collateral can be with the right combination of design and paper.”

Print Works!

Here’s to Old Friends … This DM’s for You

As so much of the world turns to digital, why is it that direct mail still works so well?

According to Money Mailer CEO John Patinella, direct mail is effective because “giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.” 

We’ve talked about the importance of the tangible before; there are real psychological reasons why we value the physical more than digital. Perhaps because of this human preference, direct mail delivers the results, too.

As Steve Olenski writes in Forbes, “ U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold. That’s a 1,300% return on their investment. The response rate to direct mail pieces is much higher at 3.7% compared to 2% for mobile, 1% for email, 1% for social media, and 0.2% for internet display.”

Advertisers aren’t stupid. And marketers are under increasing pressure to prove their worth. They are realizing that even in this digital-heavy age, consumers like print marketing like coupons, for example.

“In fact, according to a recent study, 93% of people said they’ll use coupons from the mail in 2018,” Olenski writes. “This is up five percentage points compared to 88% in 2017. Although consumers rely on their smartphones, there is still a pleasant ‘tactile experience’ from touching and using physical coupons.”

It’s not just coupons; millennial consumers reportedly prefer receiving direct mail over email marketing. All the cool kids are doing it. Of course, they are the ultimate omnichannel consumer, so a hybrid strategy that transitions the reader from printed direct mail to an online interaction can be powerful.

As Olenski notes, it’s important to maximize the power of your direct mail.

“Use logos, visuals, charts, and targeted content to make direct mail a leisure activity,” he suggests. “It may be beneficial to use a geo-location strategy to encourage a call to action to visit a local storefront. Lastly, research the demographics in your area to align your messaging and visuals with your audience’s preferences and interests.”

Rethink your own marketing tactics and take an honest look at where direct mail might make a big impact. So here’s to our old and still very powerful friend, traditional printed direct mail.

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