Even in a rapidly changing digital age, some things just look (and communicate) better on paper. And because it can be the first touchpoint between your brand and potential customers or donors, it’s crucial to choose the right paper for your project.

Consider today’s consumers. Despite the popularity of digital detoxing and going off the grid, it takes a screen to get a lot of “life” done these days. But despite best efforts on design, animation, subject lines, or social media, there’s still only so much you can do to involve more than one or two senses when your message is behind glass. But paper is different.

The Feel

Paper is touchable. And if you choose a textured sheet, that touch can linger. Finishes like linen, felt, or rustic cockle only heighten the impact your project can have. It’s one thing to send an email or three (we all know those brands) a day, but a thoughtful design on something that makes a tactile impression is much less easy to ignore or unsubscribe from. The science backs this up, too–consumers are much more likely to scan things online quickly, but they focus on and absorb more from printed materials. 

To stand out even more, consider an uncoated sheet. Soft and subtle yet just as printable as a glossy coated sheet, uncoated papers can be a completely unexpected experience. It’s important to consider quality as well as texture. Better formation results in better print jobs. Just a few extra pennies for the premium sheet can take things to a totally new level. Consider, for example, something as simple as a hangtag. Which conveys more luxury, even if they’re on the same pair of jeans: a tag that’s thick and suede-like or flimsy and smooth?

The Opportunity

Paper performs Emboss, deboss, score, die cut, foil…the opportunities really are endless. And when you mix print techniques with different textures and colors, the end result can be almost hypnotizing. Take the tag example from above. An embossed hangtag with foil accents catches the eye when compared to a generic mass-produced price tag. 

Sometimes it’s hard to explain why things work. But you don’t have to rely on a gut feeling or your own personal experience. Striking techniques combined with distinctive paper can entice readers and make a purchase more likely. In fact, in a recent study, 36% of recipients bought or ordered something as a result of receiving direct mail. Touching an ad increases its value by 24%. Why not make it as “touchable” as possible? Campaigns including print are 67% more effective at delivering new customers. It is clearly worth the effort to invest the time and money in extraordinary, thoughtful printed pieces. And the most important ingredient in an “old school” campaign? The paper it’s printed on.

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Have you noticed results from a mixed media campaign? Have a go-to paper that fits your brand to a tee? Let us know in the comments!

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