EXPLORE 2: Creative Solutions for Small Budgets

Neenah-explore2-125Neenah Paper

Graphic designers have long supported their local communities by doing projects for museums, restaurants, community centers, charities and other small organizations. Often these are projects done for the love of the community. And yes, these are usually small projects with small budgets – if any budget at all.

So, how do you produce something unique, beautiful and memorable on a small budget? You start by checking out EXPLORE 2 – the second in the EXPLORE series from Neenah.

EXPLORE 2, designed by Farmhouse Design, is a portfolio of digitally printed samples created around the theme of highlighting one’s city.

“Neenah challenged me to demonstrate the power of uncoated papers, papers rich with color and texture, for digital printing. Together we identified the projects designers want to make, and challenged how someone could bring a whole new dimension to the printed piece with creative combinations,” says Ellie Mckenzie, co-founder of Farmhouse Design.

Neenah not only helps jump-start ideas with EXPLORE 2, but they also go a step further to help make short-run projects even easier and more efficient by offering a wide selection of dielines available for free download. Across EXPLORE 1 and EXPLORE 2 Neenah now provides imaginative samples and dielines for 25+ projects, including variations of folders, brochures, envelopes, hang tags, invitations, coasters and packaging boxes. Download in PDF or EPS formats here.

Take a closer look at some of the ideas you can find in EXPLORE 2.


For a long time the ideal papers for digital printing shared two characteristics: they were smooth and they were white. This isn’t the case today. This brochure uses three different papers, all with distinctly different weights, colors and textures, to add layers of tactility and shine to what could otherwise have been an ordinary piece.

And what if your project needs a bigger wow factor, perhaps with a sustainable message? Easy. Create a pop-up box for a community garden event and hide a pack of seeds inside (or chocolate – chocolate makes people happy). This pyramid-shaped box is designed to engage the recipient.


Show people how to get around: This map for a city-wide flower show is printed on PAPER TYGER, a water- and tear-resistant paper that you can write on.

Another way to leave a lasting message is to give your audience something they’ll use again and again. A bookmark or a fun-size notepad make great handouts at club meetings or town-wide events.


What could you make with this: An invitation, gift card, or music festival pass with complimentary drink ticket attached? The possibilities are endless. This cool promotion for a local city market even uses scratch-off ink on the back to reveal a surprise.

Neenah’s CLASSIC Linen, RED PEPPER, creates the “stop-and-stare” factor for this direct-mail piece. And this is where digital shines for small runs. In the sample shown the insert is a backstage pass, but it can be re-imagined to later house a business card, a season ticket, or a promo card.

PaperSpecs readers, enter to win one of 50 copies of EXPLORE 2 from Neenah. Hurry, contest ends midnight ET March 2nd! Should you miss out, contact your Neenah sales representative.




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