My Flocking Little Valentine


flocking1By Sabine Lenz

The mints were definitely delicious, the greeting nice. But let’s not kid each other; it was the red-striped package with the velvety hearts that captured my paper lover’s attention within a millisecond.

I know Valentine’s Day is long behind us, but so many delicious and very inspiring pieces arrived on my desk this year that I just have to share them with you.

Another sweet technique from…
Living up to its greeting, GLS, a single-source marketing services provider in Minnesota, definitely knows how to sweeten up its techniques. Pun intended.

The red-striped package arrived nicely shrink wrapped and protected from nasty weather and postal elements. Names and mailing addresses were imprinted on the actual packages – simple, but a great use of variable data.

Inside, a beautiful goodie-filled box had a very unusual top – an opening that very cleverly consisted of four interlocking heart shapes. It was Valentine’s Day after all, and the structural designers on the GLS team outdid themselves. Take a look at this …


But, if you thought the above, or the included Pearson’s Mint Patties – as delicious as they were – made my day, think again.


Digital printing with a twist
“To honor this special day,” explained Jim Benedict, marketing director at GLS, “it had to be red all the way. So we used Neenah Paper’s Classic Crest linen in Red Pepper. The whole campaign was printed digitally on our Indigo 7500.”

CMYK and a triple hit of white created the beautiful striped pattern and ribbon effect. But my personal favorite – and I know it will be yours, too – is the striking look and velvety feel of some of the hearts (look closely at that opening on the box), as well as the alternating stripes on the packaging.

Reminiscent of the oh-so-hip wallpaper from the ’60s, the distinctive texture makes a small (and very welcome) comeback on this project. I’m talking about flocking.


What is flocking?
I’ll go into more detail about this, as it deserves its own Pro Tip in a few weeks, so let’s just keep it very simple for today.

Flocking is the process of depositing many small fiber particles (called “flock”) onto a slightly adhesive surface. In most cases, the fibers are synthetic (rayon, polyester), about 0.5 mm long and about as thin as a silk thread.

As you can imagine, this is a very specialized technique. At last count, there is only one flocker (pardon my French) left in North America. Most flocking these days, especially when it comes to larger quantities, is done in Asia.

Kudos to GLS for reminding us that even if you print something digitally, you can still add a special (very velvety) touch and unexpected twist to a piece by adding a specialty printing technique.

Now back to those peppermint patties …



sabine_120Seeing designers worldwide struggle to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine Lenz to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper selection tool and weekly e-newsletter. Growing up in Germany, she started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving on to Australia and the United States. Lenz worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM, and KPMG. Lenz is a noted speaker and author on paper issues and educational topics related to the paper industry.



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