The Sunbrella brand has been an outdoor staple since the 1960s when the challenge then was to create a top-performing fabric awning that would withstand the elements. Fast forward 50 years and the brand comes with much more than just outdoor textiles. It’s now a robust lifestyle brand that often takes the outdoors inside and vice versa. As their products have evolved so too has their design and marketing strategies.
Here are 3 practical print project tips from the Sunbrella Marketing and Creative team.
1. Pick a Good Printer
Partnering with the right printer can make all the difference between a mediocre print project and an exceptional print project. For Sunbrella, working with a printer that understands how to work with uncoated papers is important. In addition, ensuring that your printer has the technical experience to work with new print methods and making sure that translates on paper. Another valuable print project tip is working together on press checks. This was also a vital step for the Sunbrella team to make any tweaks on press that are necessary to achieve optimal results on their print projects.
2. Pick the Right Paper
Specifying the right paper at the beginning of the project is a key part of the process. The Sunbrella team wants to understand the feeling they want to evoke with a project and that ranges from the tactile experience of a person holding the paper to the color proofing and reproduction process. Ensuring the accurate reproduction of color and texture on paper is critical for the Sunbrella brand. The design team at Sunbrella prefers to use Cougar Digital Color Copy on their digital printing because of the outstanding color accuracy.
“I actually still get excited about deliberate paper choice. I think our whole team does.”
Stephanie Cizinsky, Marketing Director, Glen Raven (parent company of Sunbrella)
In the last decade, their print plan has increased dramatically in terms of paid media, collateral, point of purchase (POP), consumer and trade advertising. Part of the reason is that choosing paper is a lot like choosing fabric. “So that touch, we call it the hand of the fabric, is extremely important to our customers,” said Michael Hogan, art director at Glen Raven. “So, if we are elevating the brand and we don’t use a paper that evokes this sort of tactile sensory experience, we are not doing the actual product, the fabrics, justice.”
3. Order Printed Samples from Paper Companies
The Sunbrella team likes to order printed samples from paper companies for inspiration and printing techniques. These printed samples illustrate how the Sunbrella team can achieve different looks or dive into new printing techniques. It helps the design team stay up to date on the latest in paper and print trends.
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