Paper Matters Blog
6 Ways to Achieve Luxury in Print Without Blowing Your Budget

If you’re involved in the creation of the design or marketing strategy for a luxury brand, adding a print component is a must. And this isn’t just the opinion of a ‘paper person,’—it’s science. The specific term is “haptics,” which is defined as the science of touch. People are hard-wired to pay attention and respond to touch, and print’s tangible nature commands attention and generates feelings of authority, higher emotional engagement and pleasure. As multiple studies from organizations like Canada Post and Temple University (for USPS) have revealed, the likelihood of brand recall is also elevated with print for the same reason. All of these attributes are especially desirable if the goal is to promote a luxury brand.

But don’t think you have to blow the budget to illustrate luxury in print. While oversized printed pieces with multiple inks and post-press techniques will certainly captivate any audience, it’s absolutely possible to achieve a sense of luxury in print without spending a fortune.

The key is to always keep your audience in mind and approach your printed piece from a strategic angle. Keep these top six tips in mind, and your printed piece will be well on its way to delivering elevated status for your brand.

6 Tips to Achieve Luxury in Print Without Blowing Your Budget

  1. Choose a Paper that Enhances Your Story and Message. Paper is the canvas that not only brings your projects to life, but it also provides the tactile sensation that subconsciously delivers messages to the recipient. If you’re new to the world of paperCoated vs. Uncoated Paper – When to Use Which by Jill DiNicolantinio is required reading. This blog provides a great overview to key differences between coated and uncoated papers, including aesthetic qualities and what can be expected from print results.

Uncoated papers have a very warm and tactile nature that many consider luxurious. If a coated paper is your go-to, conveying a feeling of luxury might be as easy as switching to uncoated for your premier projects. And if you choose a high-quality uncoated paper (like an option from our Cougar or Lynx brands) you can also expect vivid color and crisp image detail. With both brands now offering three finishes (Smooth, Super Smooth and Vellum) and multiple offerings for digital print, you can dive even deeper into amplifying your message and design. This is haptics at work!

  1. Bring on the Heavyweights! Think about your initial reaction when someone hands you their business card printed on heavyweight paper—the immediate response of most people is an undeniable WOW factor. Heavyweight paper conveys an undeniable sense of importance and status, and the feeling is often carried over to the brand or individual that the printed piece represents. Our Cougar® brand of paper features many heavyweight options—including a 110 lb. Cover, multiple options in single-ply 130 lb. Cover (including Cougar Digital Color Copy) and 160 lb. Double-Thick Cover. To experience these heavyweight options for yourself, request our Unleash Cougar promotion today.

One word of caution—paper is priced by the weight, so using heavyweight paper can lead to a substantial investment if you’re printing many pages or at a high quantity. To still utilize the luxurious and substantial feel a heavyweight can provide, consider opting for a heavyweight cover and a lighter text weight for the interior pages.

  1. Use the Highest Discretion with Image Selection. Think about the printed pieces that come from the luxury brands you love. Now, think about the images featured within that piece. Across the board, most feature custom photography with striking detail from photo shoots that were created specifically for that brand. In many cases, the image tells the story and evokes a feeling in a printed piece more so than actual words.

Even if a photo shoot isn’t in your budget, make a point to select stock photography that showcases excellent detail, vibrant color and lifelike skin tones. While highly stylized images might look appealing on their own, they have the potential to detract from the message and the brand when placed in layout.

  1. Be Strategic with Post-press Techniques. Don’t dismiss post-press techniques as being out of your budget before talking to your printer. The size of an area of a foil, for instance, is one of the main factors in the cost. Next time you want to convey luxury on a budget, work with your printer to come up with the best solution to generate the biggest impact for your buck.
  2. Size Matters.This is especially true if you’re mailing. I can recall countless instances where a graphic designer paid the utmost attention to the paper, printing method, etc in order to keep costs down only to have the budget blown apart with mailing costs. Please, please, please do not wait until the end of a project before thinking about mailing! Keep mailing costs top of mind at the beginning of the project when considering size, weight, etc and stay in contact with your mail carrier to make sure your project stays within your mailing budget. For a thorough outline of various direct mail types (and many more fascinating tips), I recommend ordering a copy of Designing For Print by Marina Joyce.
  3. Don’t Discount Digital. Still thinking of digital printing only as an option if you want a low quantity job printed cheaply? If so, you are way behind the times! While digital printing is still a great option for low quantities, we’re seeing more and more creatives using it as an option for exclusive and high-profile projects. A great example is featured in the video below and in a recent Gallery Spotlight: The Sterling Collection VML’s 25thAnniversary Book. With a front cover that showcases a brilliant silver foil and interior pages printed on 65 LB. Cougar (featuring the vivid color and crystal-clear reproduction that any creative would expect from this elite brand of paper), this piece is definitely a show-stopper. And considering that this piece was digitally printed on an HP Indigo 7600, it’s a true testament to how far digital printing has come.

The Sterling Collection VML’s 25th Anniversary Book is just one example of the creative possibilities of digital print. Read the post Seen by the Spec Rep – Astonishing New Digital Print Techniques and prepare to be amazed!

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In today’s vast sea of marketing options, print is still THE essential medium to convey a feeling of quality, desirability, exclusivity and status. And with creativity, focus and collaboration from your printer, a feeling of luxury can be within reach for your next printed piece—regardless of your budget.

To experience Cougar – Luxury Within Reach, request your complimentary print sample. Limited quantity.

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Nicholas Pearson
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