For some time now, paper merchants have been looked upon by designers as an opportunity to produce “print porn." Yes, most are beautiful things in their own right, but what were they beside a designer's wet dream?
This is where the strength of design studio Made Thought’s rebrand and repositioning of paper manufacturer G.F Smith, and more specifically their new Colorplan paper sample book, is brilliant. Not only does it show a level of restraint not shown in many other sample books, but its core value and offerings are evident in every piece. It's paper, and beautiful paper at that, so why not show the paper for what it is? It's a really strong concept that makes you think “I wish I did that,” executed to the utmost perfection of quality. Made Thought truly nailed this.
The effortlessly simple confidence and beauty of the product itself is always prevalent. All the pieces have minimal printing crafted using techniques that are exceptionally gorgeous. From the business card that uses a very traditional piece of craft called paper marquetry to showcase not one or two, but three styles of Colorplan offering at once, the three papers represent three signature aspects of the range: color, weight and embossing.
The same technique is also used on the sample booklet, which uses simple fold techniques to minimize material waste, and once again, showcase the paper. Minimal printing is used, with only the necessary details. You're clearly informed and understand how the paper will hold a texture and print when needed. The concept is inherent in the product and has been used with craft and high production value to form a real gem for the designer to truly salivate over, whilst having a piece that is useful for the potential specifier.
The transition from something that's inherently physical to the digital world is also somewhat seamless, and the best use I have experienced. You can view and get a gauge for how different stock weights bend and look just by viewing videos on the site. The colors and textures are fully viewable in hi-resolution downloads—I've used many in image mock-ups for client presentation. The production introduction videos are all exquisite.
Being so wrapped up in the paper and online components, I almost overlooked the bespoke typeface for the logo designed by Colophon. It’s subtlety only helps by heightening that the product is key through and through when showcasing their offering.
When a good product is coupled with strong thinking, beauty will take shape. It's obvious with this example. I implore you to get calling or emailing to get your hands on a piece. Below are further examples that incorporate the beauty shown in the above.