Neenah Paper Shares Holiday Spirit with Generous Self-Promo Piece

By Liz Stevens, writer, PostPress

Neenah Paper, Alpharetta, Georgia, earned the bronze in the 30th Annual FSEA Gold Leaf Awards with its entry, “Deck the Halls with Neenah,” for Best Use of Foil/Embossing/Diecutting – Self Promotion (Industry Supplier). The piece includes several items, all of which feature standouts from Neenah’s wide paper selection, complemented by metallic ink, foil, embossing and spot color. Tucked inside a hanger single-pocket folder are a greeting card with an envelope and a holiday gift tag insert, a gift box with a product belly band and also a holiday belly band, and a hanging mistletoe ornament.

The folder, which is decorated with tiny red winter berries and a rhyming holiday message, is diecut, printed with metallic gold, micro-embossed and foiled. Its pocket is stuffed full of promo pieces designed to be repurposed by the receiver. The sprig of three-dimensional mistletoe is diecut, printed, micro-embossed and foiled, and tied with red and white twine so that it is ready to hang.

The gift box features rich blind embossing, a luxurious product belly band that is micro-embossed, printed and foiled, and an additional festive holiday belly band that is diecut and foiled. The showstopper of the piece, however, is the greeting card. The burgundy soft-touch paper features intricate micro-embossing, metallic ink and foil. Inside the card is a diecut gift tag insert with its own fine texture and metallic ink. The red winter berries from the hanger folder carry over to the mistletoe, the greeting card envelope and the embossed, foiled info card.

Michele Pistone, marketing manager at Neenah Paper, described how the piece was conceived and produced. “Every year,” Pistone said, “we like to create a piece that inspires people to take their holiday marketing to the next level with the printed components of their campaign.” Neenah Paper knows that the retail and direct mail market are super-competitive around the holidays. “Our goal is to provide holiday-themed inspiration for brands, designers and anyone else doing print, packaging or collateral. We aim to showcase our papers in creative ways with different formats, diecuts and decorations.”

Pistone explained that the piece utilizes 11 different stocks from Neenah, including selections from CLASSIC CREST®, ENVIRONMENT®, ROYAL SUNDANCE®, NEENAH® Folding Board and TOUCHÉ. “The design and graphics were created by our in-house design team,” she said. “We collaborated closely with Fey Printing, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, which was instrumental in perfecting our dielines for each piece. The company also recommended the perfect basis weights to use for optimal functionality of each piece, as well as the collection.”

The piece includes an array of embellishments, all beautifully designed and tastefully coordinated. “Because it is a holiday-themed piece,” said Pistone, “we had the opportunity to utilize a variety of foils. We collaborated with KURZ and experimented with its MicroEmbossed foils, which was really fun. It adds another level of visual interest to several of the pieces. In addition, we have some unique diecuts, embossing and printing with metallic ink.” Neenah used foil/embossing dies from H+M. “We used laser-etched foil stamping dies on some of the pieces,” she said, “to create unique textures and novel appearances for the foil stamps.”

Pistone explained that each component in the piece was printed as a separate job. “The unique part,” she said, “is that each piece uses no more than one color of ink, printed offset. Each piece then has various postpress effects, including foil stamping, diecutting, blind and registered embossing.” The offset press machines included a Mitsubishi 240 and a Hamada four-color press. For foil stamping/embossing, Kluge EHD presses were used. The diecutting/scoring presses used were Kluge EHD and Heidelberg windmills. The digital press used was an HP Indigo 7900.

The team at Neenah did not encounter any surprises or production challenges in producing this piece. “We produced mockups early in the production process,” Pistone said, “so we could overcome any issues later in the process. Testing sometimes is used before producing the full volume of pieces to make sure everything is going to look the way the designer intended without any surprises.” For this piece, said Pistone, “lots of hand assembly was required. One of the components is a mistletoe piece designed to be hung. We sourced the perfect red-and-white-striped string and needed to cut, tie and attach the string to each piece.”

This promo project was a smashing success. “Our customers loved the piece!” Pistone said. “It was a welcome burst of ideas and inspiration for designers and marketers looking to move beyond the screen and create new ways to surprise and delight their customers.”