Why you should care about good paper.
We live in a digital age. Most of the media you consume today will be online. When we choose to print it bears greater significance than ever. It costs more than posting a blog; it is harder to get right; its harder to get to people...I could go on. But when you choose to print, it has more permanence than any tweet, facebook post, blog, email, or text. You can't edit it once it has been sent off, so people often spend many hours labouring over the content. "Content is King", marketers will tell you, and they are right for the most part.
Feel nice, like sugar and spice.
When you print, the first impression isn't nicely summarised for you in a facebook preview with a thumbnail. The first impression is how it feels when you take the booklet out the envelope, when the business card is placed in your hand, when you reach for the magazine on the table. So when I was thinking about how to print my portfolio to take to design studios, I looked to companies that understand that paper is more than just gsms and matte or gloss. Thankfully, I found G . F Smith, whose advisors I proceeded to bombard with questions about duplexing, saddle-binding, and creep (Sorry Dean!).
Today, I got a sample pack in the post, and I really love samples, especially when they're as tactile as G . F Smith's. Debossed, foil-blocked, metallic ink – they know how to put a smile on your face. That is essentially what its all about, making people smile. If you can make people smile before they've even seen what is inside it, you've justified the time and money spent printing it.
Think, test, then print.
To show my work to potential employers, I'm thinking about creating a saddle-bound A4 portrait CV and portfolio teaser booklet. I think a bright colour cover would work well, to make it stand out in the pile if I have to post it out, then one of their white papers for the inside of the booklet. I really like Mohawk Navaho and Canes Crest for smooth white papers. I should be able to print and bind it myself with an inkjet printer and a long-arm stapler, but I'll be doing some test prints to see how their papers handle double-sided printing.
Everyone, not just designers, has a message they want to put out. It's all too easy to send an email, and people are bored with emails. Social media consultancies and marketers will promise the world to small businesses; 10,000 likes, 2000 subscribers etc. To me, it all seems a bit impersonal, or too personal in the case of the ads that are based on your browsing history!
When looking for a job, I think it's a mixture of things that opens doors. First, employers have to notice you; Second, they have to think you are competent for the job; and lastly, and perhaps most importantly, they have to like you as a person. An email can often be impersonal, so sometimes it is better to use print to your advantage, as it shows you really care. I believe a mixture of great digital campaigns, as well as beautiful, tactile printed media is the key to success. Or so I hope :)